Coolidge in 1924
John Arthur Coolidge
September 7, 1906
|Died||May 31, 2000 (aged 93)|
Lebanon, New Hampshire, U.S.
|Resting place||Plymouth Notch Cemetery, Plymouth, Vermont|
|Alma mater||Amherst College|
|Occupation||Railroad Executive, Businessman, Entrepreneur|
John Arthur Coolidge (September 7, 1906 – May 31, 2000) was an American executive, businessman, and entrepreneur with the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, and the first son of President Calvin Coolidge and Grace Coolidge.
John Coolidge was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, on September 7, 1906. He was the elder of the two children of Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933), the 30th President of the United States from 1923 to 1929 and Grace Anna Goodhue (1879–1957), First Lady of the United States from 1923 to 1929. In his autobiography, Calvin Coolidge recorded his impressions of the birth of his first son: "The fragrance of the clematis which covered the bay window filled the room like a benediction where the mother lay with her baby. It was all very wonderful to us." On July 7, 1924, his younger brother, Calvin Jr., died from blood poisoning. John rarely spoke of the tragedy beyond acknowledging the terrible sadness it caused the family, especially his father.[nb 1]
Coolidge attended Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania and graduated in 1924. He then enrolled at Amherst College, his father's alma mater, graduating in 1928, graduating from both schools while his father was President of the United States.
He was an executive with the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. He served as president of the Connecticut Manifold Forms Company until 1960, when he reopened the Plymouth Cheese Corporation in Plymouth at the historic village. He helped start the Coolidge Foundation and his gifts of buildings, land, and artifacts were instrumental in creating the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site.
Well into his 80s, Coolidge was seen shuttling back and forth from his home near the Calvin Coolidge Historical Site to collect his mail at the old post office located on the historic site. He was reportedly a charming and excited talker who would still answer visitors' questions about his father or his family, and who would, on occasion, give a rare personal interview.
On September 23, 1929, at Plainville, Connecticut, he married Florence Trumbull. She was born on November 30, 1904, at Plainville, Connecticut, the daughter of Connecticut governor John H. Trumbull and Maud Pierce Usher. The Coolidges had two daughters:
Florence died on February 15, 1998 at Plymouth Notch, Vermont, and Coolidge died on May 31, 2000 at Lebanon, Grafton County, New Hampshire. He is buried beside his wife, parents, brother, and several generations of the Coolidge family in the Plymouth Notch Cemetery at Plymouth, Windsor County, Vermont.
Ancestry and family relations
Coolidge's family had deep roots in New England. His earliest American ancestor, John Coolidge, emigrated from Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, England, around 1630 and settled in Watertown, Massachusetts. Coolidge is also descended as follows from Edmund Rice, who arrived at Watertown in 1638 and settled in Sudbury, Massachusetts:
- John Coolidge, son of
- John Calvin Coolidge Jr. (1872–1933), son of
- John Calvin Coolidge Sr. (1845–1926), son of
- John Calvin Coolidge Jr. (1872–1933), son of
- On the afternoon of June 30, 1924, he was playing tennis with his brother, Calvin Jr., on the White House grounds when Calvin Jr. suffered a blister on his right foot because he wore his tennis shoes without socks, which became infected and progressed into blood poisoning, resulting in his death a week later. John described the loss of his brother as producing a depression in President Coolidge that lasted the rest of his life. As John Coolidge told Life magazine in 1992: "Though father was tenderhearted, he rarely showed his feelings. But when they were taking my brother's casket from the White House after the services, my father broke down and wept momentarily. Calvin was my father's favorite. It hurt him terribly. It hurt us all."
- Martin, Douglas (June 4, 2000). "John Coolidge, Guardian of President's Legacy. Dies at 93". The New York Times. Retrieved June 25, 2010.
- "Plymouth Artisan Cheese". 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
- Coolidge, p. 95
- "Wedding in 1929 was event of century". The Congregational Church of Plainville, UCC. June 4, 2000. Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
- Feldman, p. 100
- Fuess, Claude M. (1940). Calvin Coolidge: The Man from Vermont'. Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-7006-0892-8.
- Edmund Rice (1638) Association, 2007. Descendants of Edmund Rice: The First Nine Generations. (CD-ROM)
- Ward, Andrew Henshaw (1858). "A Genealogical History of the Rice family: Descendants of Deacon Edmund Rice". Boston, Massachusetts: C. Benjamin Richardson: 5.
- Coolidge, Calvin (1929). The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge. Cosmopolitan Book Corp. ISBN 0-944951-03-1.
- Feldman, Ruth Tenzer. Calvin Coolidge Presidential leaders; Publisher: Twenty-First Century Books, 2006 ISBN 0822514966.
- National Park Service site on the Coolidge Homestead
- President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site – official website
- Biographical sketch of John Harper Trumbull Connecticut State Library
- John Coolidge at Find a Grave