C-Span on First Lady Grace Coolidge


Portrait of Grace Coolidge (and Rob Roy) by Howard Chandler Christy, 1924.

Taking place in the summer of 1999, soon after the first major symposium on Coolidge (Calvin Coolidge: Examining the Evidence) at the JFK Library the previous year, is this gem of a tribute to First Lady Mrs. Coolidge brought together by the Coolidge family, Clarke School, Smith College, Forbes Library, and the Coolidge Foundation.

It requires a practiced ear to hear what the Coolidge’s oldest son, John, recounts of his parents but this commemoration is well worth watching. Enjoy!

C-Span Panel: First Lady Grace Coolidge

On God’s Acre

arthur whitcomb

Arthur Whitcomb, Marine Corps bugler, played taps both for President Wilson’s funeral at the National Cathedral and for Calvin Coolidge, Jr., at Plymouth Notch, both in 1924.

Calvin Coolidge Jr., who died on July 7, 1924, was laid to rest in the family plot beside the places already selected for his parents and among his ancestors at Plymouth Notch.

His mother, Grace Coolidge, wrote to a friend shortly afterward:

“It is a beautiful spot and it was lovely the day we left little Calvin there…Before our train got to Ludlow there had been a thunderstorm shower which laid the dust and made everything green. As we stood beside the grave the sun was shining, throwing long slanting shadows and the birds were singing their sleepy songs. Truly, it seemed to me God’s Acre. There was a prayer, a few passages of scripture and two hymns, and the Mercersburg hymn which I have seen Calvin sing with the other boys at school and I could seem to hear and see him there. ‘Taps’ never sounded as it did there, echoing and reechoing from mountain to mountain. I came away with a ‘peace which passeth understanding,’ comforted and full of courage…”


The Mercersburg Hymn, arranged by F. H. Foster, Jr.

High tower above us her pillars,

In majesty crowning the hill;

She has faced the wild storm waves of years,

And bravely she faces them still.


Come, Mercersburg’s sons, and we’ll praise her;

The world will we tell of her fame,

Till down the long train of the ages,

Shall echo old Mercersburg’s name.


This world sweeping mightily onward,

Will whiten our heads with its years;

But ever we’ll meet Alma Mater,

With full hearts and loud swelling cheers.


Requiescat in pace, dear Calvin!