On Maternity

“By common consent Sunday will be observed as Mother’s Day. Because we are so constituted that we have to think and act serially, it becomes necessary to dedicate special occasions for the emphasis of many important subjects which nevertheless influence us all the life. So we set apart a day for the contemplation of motherhood on which we can give some appropriate expression to the debt we all owe to the greatest sacrifice and devotion in human experience.

“There is always danger that we shall not look at values in their proper proportions. What is common and obvious is often none the less precious. Among all the earthly blessings which have been bestowed upon us, it is difficult to find one that compares with motherhood. It is hard to imagine a greater ambition than to be what our mothers would wish us to be.

“These sentiments which we all entertain are of little value unless they are translated into action. The day can be well observed by making some contribution to maternity centers, or for the general relief of mothers, to some of the various associations engaged in these charities. None of us can give as much as our mothers gave to us.”

— Calvin Coolidge, May 8, 1931

On Mother Carrie

CarrieBrownCoolidge

“Carrie A[thelia] Brown Coolidge died at her home in Plymouth May 18, 1920. She was the daughter of George and Marcella L. Brown, born in Plymouth January 22, 1857.

“Delicate in health from childhood, she was a great lover of books and learning. She was a student for some time at Black River Academy, Ludlow, but was graduated from Kimball Union Academy, Meriden, N. H., salutatorian of the class of ’81.

“For some years she taught in the public schools of Plymouth, Chester and Bellows Falls.

“She was married to John C. Coolidge of Plymouth, September 9, 1891. No children were born to them, but her stepson, Governor Calvin Coolidge of Massachusetts, has been as dear to her as her own son. She was a member of the Congregational church and a faithful worker in all church activities. For some years she was superintendent of the public schools and also postmaster at Plymouth. She was a great lover of birds and flowers. To her flowers were messengers of God, speaking sweet words of fragrance and love. Her life’s activities were always done in the spirit of unselfish good cheer and thoughtfulness for others which endeared her to young and old. Showers of love and kindness from neighbors and from friends, both near and far, came to her during a long and intensely painful illness of cancer.

“Many hearts and lives were inspired by her living example of the power of Christian faith to sustain the spirit in suffering. Cheerfulness and constant thought of the happiness of others filled each day to the last.

“It may be truly said that ‘all her way through years of suffering to heaven she made a heaven for others.’

“Besides her husband and stepson she leaves one sister, Mrs. Flora A. Smith of Springfield, to mourn her loss and to thank God for her life’s example that the Holy Spirit still comes down to earth and abides in and rules the human heart.

‘God calls our loved, but we lose not

wholly

What He hath given;

They live on earth in thought and deed,

As truly

As in heaven.’

Vermont Tribune, May 20, 1920

 

Thank you to everyone we can call “mother”

On the Living Spirit of Good

CC-1923

There can be no peace with the forces of evil. Peace comes only through the establishment of the supremacy of the forces of good. That way lies only through sacrifice. It was that the people of our country might live in a knowledge of the truth that these, our countrymen, are dead. ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ 

This spirit is not dead, it is the most vital thing in America. It did not flow from any act of government. It is the spirit of the people themselves. It justifies faith in them and faith in their institutions. Remembering all that it has accomplished from the day of the Puritan and Cavalier to the day of the last, least immigrant, who lives by it no less than they, who shall dare to doubt it, who shall dare to challenge it, who shall venture to rouse it into action? 

Those who have scoffed at it from the day of the Stuarts and the Bourbons to the day of the Hapsburgs and the Hohenzollerns have seen it rise and prevail over them. Calm, peaceful, puissant, it remains, conscious of its authority, ‘slow to anger, plenteous in mercy,’ seeking not to injure but to serve, the safeguard of the republic, still the guarantee of a broader freedom, the supreme moral power of the world. It is in that spirit that we place our trust. it is to that spirit again, with this returning year, we solemnly pledge the devotion of all that we have and are.

— Calvin Coolidge, ‘The Destiny of America,’ May 30, 1923