By David Cogger
Special To The Standard
PLYMOUTH – After 81 years, Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth president of the United States, will be honored with the dedication of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Library on August 7. Coolidge, the son of a shopkeeper and a humble man, was a reluctant public figure whose only wish upon leaving office was to sit in his rocking chair on the porch of his Northampton home.
When he left office in 1929, a cadre friends and supporters, including lions of industry including Andrew Mellon, Frank Phillips, Clarence W. Barron, Clarence Dillon, Frederick K. Vanderbilt, Dwight W. Morrow and Joseph F. Frelinghysen raised the equivalent of more than $2 million in today’s currency to have a building or some other kind of monument constructed in honor of the Coolidge presidency.
Contributions ranged from $5,000 to $135, 000 ($63,000 and $1.7 million respectively in today’s dollars).
Coolidge refused to authorize the construction and insisted that all of the proceeds go to the Clarke School for The Deaf in Northampton Massachusetts where he met his future wife, Grace Anna Goodhue, who received her training at the school and subsequently became a teacher. Coolidge had lived on the campus of the school at the time that the future Mrs. Coolidge was teaching there.
At the end of his term as president, Coolidge was on the board and insisted that the largesse of the donors go to the Clarke School.
An article appeared in the New York Times on Mar. 5, 1929 with the headline, “Clarke Fund Raises as the Coolidges Go.”
“Finally, after 81 years, a modest, low-key, dignified building that Coolidge would been proud of will be dedicated in his honor,” former director of the Coolidge Foundation Mimi Baird said.