Though it was on this day in 1933 that former President Calvin Coolidge died at the young age of sixty, for us he continues to live. As we begin the seventh year of this blog, we look back on the opportunities to talk “Coolidge” with so many not only in the presentations we have done, the classes we have taught, the books both completed and underway we have helped write, but in the everyday conversation with folks everywhere. We are so thankful for every one of you. You inspire us to persevere in well doing.
As we enter the Twenties once more, a hundred years and counting after his service on the national stage, we look forward to so many more occasions to share Coolidge with others. Sometimes, we find those who are already friends of Cal with whom we can enjoy a common admiration. Others are the Coolidge friends yet to be. We find Coolidge country is alive and thriving and that it crosses not only national borders but entire oceans. Cal did not set out to be great but as the wise Teacher once said: “Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.” It that Cal certainly succeeded. Coolidge’s commitment to selfless service in public office may not rank him among the great in the eyes of many (who look for flashier qualities in leaders) but he embodies the Teacher’s measure of greatness remarkably well. The more time passes, the more we find the servant is not a passe brand from a bygone era. Instead, we actually find we continue to need servant leaders and that Cal doesn’t get older, he gets fresher and more timely because the mantle of faithful service fits him so well.
We love you, Mr. Coolidge. You look better than ever.
Coolidge playing with his boys, John & Cal Jr.Photo credit: AP
Original caption: President Calvin Coolidge on the Blanchard Farm at Pinney Hollow as he threw a fork full of hay on the wagon. He seems to be enjoying his “back to the farm” stint. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
ca. 1922-1929, Simsbury, Connecticut, USA — Original caption: Connecticut: President Calvin Coolidge fishing at the home of George McLean in Simsbury, Connecticut. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
Born on this day in 1879, Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge remains one of the best definitions of graciousness and true beauty ever to serve as First Lady. What she sacrificed for others to complete her course cannot be quantified. As the Twenties are here again, perhaps a renewed appreciation for her legacy and example in words and deeds will finally gain its proper regard after so long a neglect in the historical consciousness. We love you, Mrs. Coolidge! You look better than ever, dear lady.
Mr. Cal Thomas, a frequently cogent observer of human nature and culture, makes a great point here. It is one that is the focus of our Salient Cal Project, the book that encourages presenting the Twenties in perspective, featuring forgotten individuals and lost lessons. We look forward to amplifying Mr. Thomas’ point in the coming year and beyond. We agree that those Twenties are worth looking back on again. When we so often get a blurred, distorted rendition of the people and their times, isn’t it about time to look closer and hear what they have to say? They have had too little understanding in spite of the efforts of so many to bring them into truer, fairer focus. Stay tuned for more from The Salient Cal Project.