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    Description

    President Coolidge mourns the death of his son, Calvin, Jr.

    Calvin Coolidge Autograph Letter Signed as President. Two pages on White House letterhead (bifolium), 7" x 9"; August 12, 1924.

    A letter to Richard M. Irvine of Northampton:

    My dear Judge:

    It was a comfort to know that you and others of our friends were at Northampton Station when we went back home although we could not express our appreciation.

    Everyone has been most kind and thoughtful in their expressions of sympathy.

    I am sure Calvin could have been a prince for much good in the world, but he lives now without the sorrow and suffering that comes to all mortals more than the world could ever give him.

    Yours
    Calvin Coolidge

    Calvin, Jr. had died on July 7, 1924 from blood poisoning. He had developed a blister a week earlier after a strenuous tennis game with his brother, John; the blister turned into blood poisoning, for which medicines had not yet been developed to combat.

    The Coolidge family accompanied their beloved son's casket by train to Northampton, where a service was held before continuing on to the family homestead in Plymouth, Vermont. The letter offered here sends thanks to Irvine, a local judge, a leader in the community and likely friend of the family. Calvin, Jr.'s death was a tremendous blow to the family, and President Coolidge never fully recovered from the loss.


    Offered together with handwritten letters by Calvin Coolidge, Jr. and John Coolidge. Calvin Jr.'s letter (5.5" x 9") is dated April 11, 1924, approximately 3 months before his death. He writes to a Mr. Clark: "John and I received your letter concerning the encyclopedias. I don't know as we'll have any use for them, but you had better send them if it is convenient..." His tone and candor are reminiscent of the story told about receiving the news that his father had been sworn in as president upon the death of Warren Harding. Calvin Jr., then a student at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania, was working in a tobacco field when he heard the news. A fellow student commented to him that if his father were president, he would not be working the fields; to which Calvin responded without hesitation, "If my father were your father, you would."

    John Coolidge's letter is dated July 30, 1924, and is written on White House stationery (5" x 8"). He writes to a Mr. Lyman thanking him for a poem: "It was kind and thoughtful of you, and it is just what I wanted." Writing so shortly after Calvin, Jr.'s death, it is likely that Lyman's letter and poem were sent as condolences for Calvin's death.

    Calvin Coolidge handwritten letters are very scarce, making a grouping with such poignant content and association especially desirable.

    Condition: All three letters have the usual mail folds. John and Calvin, Jr.'s letters have pencil notations on verso from a previous collector. President Coolidge's letter has a bit of toning at lower left and a stray spot of foxing; otherwise all three letters are very fine.


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    Auction Dates
    May, 2017
    11th Thursday
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