Writing in 1926, medical doctor James J. Walsh in his book, The World’s Debt to the Irish, in his chapter on Irish Intiative, says,
“Our latest president, Calvin Coolidge, derives his Irish blood through the Barrons of Waterford, on the distaff side, according to the pedigree of the Coolidges as made out by Professor Guy Coolidge of Hobart College. Apparently there is good reason to think that every president since Lincoln with the single exception of Rutherford B. Hayes had some Irish blood in him.”
Since the Irish connection came from Coolidge’s mother, Victoria Moor, it is not surprising when we consider the source (at least in part) of his red hair, fiery temper, renowned love of pranks, and the often wry wit delivered with a straight-face but nonetheless accompanied by that characteristic twinkle in his eye.
As Coolidge forged an early base of supporters among grassroots Republicans and disaffected Democrats, it would become the original “Coolidge Coalition” that included much of Irish Massachusetts and later be a cornerstone to national victory in 1924. Newly elected Mayor of Northampton in 1909, Coolidge would inform his father that his victory was helped importantly by the merit-minded Irish families who voted for principled and conscientious public servants over the established political “bloodlines” and ruling class of elite Boston. “Bless their honest Irish hearts!” Cal would exclaim.
For Coolidge, this day was marked by a tribute in his daily column after leaving the White House. He would commend the example of Ireland’s advance toward freedom but especially note the influence of the mysterious man who brought the Bible to the island. Ireland shone with hope through all the challenges because of that seed sown long ago. It is a testament to the power of good standing long after we are gone. Coolidge understood that back of any nation’s progress there can only ever be, if it is to endure, a spiritual and moral strength upon which to build. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!