The culmination of more than twenty years of effort, the marvelous staff at the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress have completed the digitization of 3.3 million pages of documents, speeches, messages, correspondence, appointment books, and other materials from 23 Presidential collections, including 179,000 documents from the papers of President Coolidge. This represents the largest collection of original Coolidge documents in the world. Coolidge’s public papers, now available on the web for the first time, along with those of 22 other Presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Van Buren, W. H. Harrison, Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Pierce, Lincoln, A. Johnson, Grant, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, B. Harrison, McKinley, T. Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson), can be accessed here.
Cal, who was the last to precede the Presidential Library system (under the auspices of the National Archives) and thus does not have a Presidential Library, left his personal papers in one of the most unprecedented of places: the innocuous Forbes Library in quiet Northampton, his adopted hometown.
It is welcome news to see that Coolidge’s papers can now be studied by researchers and citizens alike from the convenience of a small computer. While he may question all the attention that this means toward a legacy he usually neglected, he would be impressed by what this says about America’s technical ingenuity and the quality of her citizenship. He was not ashamed to love his country for all she had done across history and this achievement – one of both historical appreciation and scholarly precision – would join many others that would make Cal proud that America, in characteristic excellence, rose to the occasion yet again. She could add this gift to so many others given despite all the difficulties and all the pressures of such a year. It would likely prompt deserved praise from Coolidge that out of so much discouragement, suffering, and loss, that America is still exceeding expectations.