Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Treasures of the State Library for March 2012- Materials about President Calvin Coolidge

When one thinks of Calvin Coolidge, it is most often of his Presidency. His public service included a long list of political positions, however, beginning with posts as City Councilor and Mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts. He served also as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1907-1908 and he was in the State Senate from 1910-1915, serving as its President from 1914-1915. While Senate President, he was a Trustee of the State Library.

His elections as Lieutenant-Governor and Governor followed before he became Vice President under Warren G. Harding and then President when Harding died in office in August of 1923.

As is the case today, the role of the candidate’s spouse was prominent in the 1920’s, and much was written about Grace Coolidge. The newspaper article on the left refers to one of the major issues of the day, women’s suffrage.

The State Library owns a plethora of material about Coolidge as well as about his wife. Many items are listed in the online catalog. Of great value to those interested in Coolidge’s political careers in Massachusetts and in Washington are some “treasures” -a manuscript collection and scrapbooks- located in the Special Collections department of the State Library.

Scrapbook collection 10 is comprised of 34 volumes of newspaper clippings covering the years 1915 through 1928, with some also concerning his death in 1933. Most are from Massachusetts newspapers and coverage of his political campaigns, beginning with his run for Lieutenant- Governor, is robust. To help the researcher with this newspaper collection, there is a card file which indexes this vast collection.
Manuscript Collection 19, the Calvin Coolidge Papers, has information covering the dates 1895-1933. Holdings include speeches and messages, statements and letters. The scan on the right, concerning Coolidge’s reelection as Senate President was done from an entry in the collection. There are materials about the Boston Police Strike of 1919, one of the most studied events of the Coolidge Governorship.

The collections are available for research in the Library’s Special Collections department, room 55 of the State House. The staff can be reached at 617-727-2595 or email

Pamela Schofield
State Library Reference Department