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.
“…[I]t would be difficult to find anywhere on earth a human being whose life has not been modified in some degree by the influence of the Christian religion. Outside the teachings of religion there is no answer to the problems of life. Our international and social relations cannot be solved by material forces…What is needed is a change of mind, a change of attitude toward the use of these material things and toward each other. The real problems of the world are not material, but spiritual. Easter teaches us the reality of the things that are unseen and the power of the spirit. A risen Saviour established a new faith in the world that showed the reason and authority of service and sacrifice” — Calvin Coolidge
Florence (upper left) and Grace Coolidge (lower right) join others at the christening of the liner SS President Coolidge, February 21, 1931. The vessel’s sister ship, the SS President Hoover, had been christened the previous December by First Lady Lou Hoover. Standing beside her hull, Grace christened the ship with a bottle of water from one of the springs near the Homestead in Plymouth. These two merchant ships were the largest built up to that time, each 645 feet in length, with gross tonnage of 21,936.