Read by the new Program and Editorial Associate of the Coolidge Foundation, Rushad Thomas, here is the first installment of the finest Presidential memoirs ever written. It is aptly suited for reading, written as it was for child and adult alike. Listen carefully, take time to reflect on the observations and insights offered and be ready to learn from one of the wisest and most underestimated of our Presidents.
The Armenian Weekly reports that a second edition of Dr. Hagop Martin Deranian’s inspiring book, President Calvin Coolidge and the Armenian Orphan Rug has been produced by the Armenian Cultural Foundation and is available upon request. It has already been published in German, Russian and Armenian. This article recaps the controversy that erupted in December of last year when the White House refused to display the Ghazir rug (aka “Coolidge rug”) in conjunction with the Smithsonian, the Armenian Cultural Foundation and the Armenian Rugs Society. The reason? It was deemed “inappropriate” for an event that included the launch of a book. After intense and justified outrage, the White House has relented and the event will go forward — a testament to the strength of Americans who unify behind a noble purpose. It is also an occasion to remember all those who generously met the emergency and gave freely of their time, their resources and themselves to rescue, treat, educate and love the orphans of Armenia. How many lives have been rescued and improved thanks to the army of American volunteers who responded when the need arose? These are memories worth cherishing not hiding or marginalizing. It is noteworthy that Coolidge was the custodian of this wonderful gift to the United States and thanks to his regard and respect for the bonds strengthened between Americans and Armenians through mutual sacrifice, it endures to this day. If you have not already done so, check out Dr. Deranian’s book!
Colonel John Coolidge remained a widower until right before the beginning of Amherst College classes for Calvin in 1891. It was then that the Colonel married what his son considered “one of the finest women of our neighborhood,” Miss Carrie A. Brown, whom he had known all of his life growing up in Plymouth. Thinking of her many years later, he wrote, “After being without a mother nearly seven years I was greatly pleased to find in her all the motherly devotion that she could have given me if I had been her own son. She was graduate of Kimball Union Academy and had taught school for some years. Loving books and music she was not only a mother to me but a teacher. For thirty years she watched over me and loved me, welcoming me when I went home, writing me often when I was away, and encouraging me in all my efforts. When at last she sank to rest she had seen me made Governor of Massachusetts and knew I was being considered for the Presidency.” It was principally to both his mother and loving stepmother that Coolidge credits these measures of his success. The next morning after taking the Presidential oath by parlor lamp light, Calvin (having first knelt and prayed) went downstairs and paused at the grave of his mother, Victoria, before hastening to board the train and take up responsibilities in Washington for the next six years. A locket with his mother’s picture remained with him always and it was found next to his heart when death came on the crisp day of January 5, 1933. It was clear that Coolidge, blessed with good mothers, cherished their love and constant care, was inspired to greater heights by them and returned from a life of public service with an abiding gratitude no child can ever repay.