Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge

Time Period

1910-1940

Notable Facts

Wife of Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States. Oversaw several renovations of the White House and was committed to restoring the antiques of the building. Raised two million dollars for the Clarke School for the Deaf, where she had taught prior to her marriage to Calvin Coolidge.

Personal Information

Date of Birth

01/03/1879

Date of Death

07/08/1957

Primary Residence

Burlington

Religion

Congregational Church

Ethnicity

Caucasian

Historical Significance

Grace Anna Goodhue was born in Burlington, Vermont on January 3, 1879. She attended school in Burlington and graduated high school in 1897, before attending the University of Vermont. After college, she taught at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, Massachusetts. She was married on October 4, 1905 to Calvin Coolidge, future President of the United States, whom she had met upon her move to Northampton. She stopped teaching after marriage and gave birth to her first son, John, on September 7, 1906. A second son, Calvin Jr., followed on April 13, 1908.

Calvin Coolidge had been involved with politics for as long as Grace knew him, and he eventually became the Governor of Massachusetts in 1919. This led to a Vice Presidential nomination with Republican running mate William Harding. When Harding won the election, the Coolidge family moved to Washington, D.C., where Grace presided over "The Ladies of the Senate" and particpated in the social and political world of Washington D.C. This was a dramatic change for her because, previously, she had tried to stay out of the political spotlight. After the death of President Harding, Calvin Coolidge became President on August 3, 1923 and Grace Coolidge officially became the First Lady.

Grace Coolidge was a social First Lady who often entertained at the White House. She asked for a joint resolution by Congress to authorize acceptance of gifts of furniture to the White House and was committed to restoring the antiques of the building. She also oversaw several renovations of the White House, which included adding a sky parlor for more sunshine and updating the family quarters. As First Lady, she raised two million dollars for the Clarke School for the Deaf, her primary social cause, and developed a friendship with Helen Keller.

A blow was dealt to the Coolidge family when Calvin Jr. died on July 7, 1924 at the age of sixteen from blood poisoning caused by a blister. Calvin Coolidge was elected in 1924, but declined to run in 1928. Grace Coolidge made her only public radio address, "Goodbye," on the afternoon of their departure from the White House. The Coolidge's retired to their home "The Beeches" in Northampton, Massachusetts, so that Grace Coolidge could be close to the Clarke School. Calvin Coolidge died on January 5, 1933 and his death left Grace Coolidge devastated.

After her husband's death, she began to write articles for magazines and to speak out on causes that were important to her. She travelled to Europe and was a devoted fan of the Boston Red Sox. Grace Coolidge died on July 8, 1957.

Organizations or Movements

  • Pi Beta Phi
  • President of the Western Massachusetts Alumnae Club
  • Trustee for the Clarke School for the Deaf
  • Red Cross
  • Visiting Nurses Association

Occupations

  • Teacher at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, Massachusetts
  • First Lady of the United States, married to Calvin Coolidge.

Education

  • University of Vermont (1902)

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Grace Coolidge: First Lady to the 30th President of the United States Link

  • First Lady Biography: Grace Coolidge Link

  • Grace Coolidge Link

  • "Grace Coolidge: Sudden Star" by Cynthia Bittinger

  • Duffy, John, eds. "Grace Goodhue Coolidge." In The Vermont Encyclopedia. University Press of New England, 2003.

  • Vermont Historic Roadsite Markers Link

Additional Images

Coolidge, Grace
Grace Coolidge
Grace Coolidge