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Collection Calvin Coolidge Papers

About this Collection

The papers of John Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933), thirtieth president of the United States, consist of approximately 179,000 documents (218,513 images), which have been digitized from 190 reels of previously reproduced microfilm. Held in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, these papers constitute the largest collection of original Coolidge documents in the world. The collection contains incoming correspondence with attachments, notes, carbon copies of outgoing letters from Coolidge or one of his secretaries, telegraph messages, appointment books, and names and addresses of White House guests.

Although Calvin Coolidge’s papers span the years 1915-1932, they date primarily from the five and a half years of his presidency, 1923-1929. Coolidge was vice president when President Warren G. Harding died on August 2, 1923. He was sworn in as president by his father, a justice of the peace, in his family home in Vermont in the early morning hours on August 3.

Coolidge subsequently won the 1924 presidential election, but decided not to run again in 1928. He left office on March 4, 1929, with the inauguration of Herbert Hoover.

Most of the collection consists of incoming correspondence from private citizens and carbon copies of replies. A small quantity of correspondence with political and government officials is also included. Filed in Executive Office numerical case files, the correspondence chronicles the concerns and debates of the 1920s, including agriculture and rural life, business and manufacturing, commerce, immigration, international relations, labor, prohibition, race relations, sanitation and public health, transportation, veterans affairs, and women’s rights. Also present in the collection are reception lists for formal White House social events from 1925 to 1927, appointment books dated 1923-1929, and copies of incoming telegrams, largely from 1926 to 1929. Some of the telegrams date from the first few months of the Herbert Hoover administration.

Coolidge chose not to preserve his President’s Personal File (PPF), which dealt with personal and political matters. As a result, his personal perspectives on his presidency are minimally documented in the collection. Coolidge-related material in other collections, which are listed under Related Resources, partially fill this void.

The Index to the Calvin Coolidge Papers was created by the Manuscript Division in 1965 after the bulk of the collection was microfilmed. Available online in searchable PDF and HTML versions, the index provides a select topical listing of subjects and individuals represented in more than four thousand numerical case files. Not all correspondents are listed. Items added to the collection after 1965, which comprise Series 4: Addition, are also not included.

A current finding aid (PDF and HTML) to the Calvin Coolidge Papers is also available online with links to the digital content on this site.

Brief History of the Coolidge Papers

The Calvin Coolidge Papers were acquired by the Library of Congress through gift, purchase, and transfer between 1921 and 2018. Coolidge placed his Executive Office correspondence case files, the largest part of the collection, on deposit in the Library’s Manuscript Division in May 1929, shortly after leaving the White House. His wife, Grace Goodhue Coolidge, converted the deposit to a gift in 1953. Coolidge’s appointment books, copies of incoming telegrams, and other items were transferred to the collection by the National Archives and Records Administration, Office of Presidential Libraries, in 1985. Additional letters to and from Coolidge, as well as other items, have been received through gift, transfer, and purchase over the years.

A full history of the collection’s provenance was prepared in 1965 for the Index to the Calvin Coolidge Papers, pp. v-vi (PDF and HTML), and was subsequently reproduced in the finding aid. A version of it appears on this website under Articles and Essays.

Description of Series

The Calvin Coolidge Papers are arranged in four series. A finding aid (PDF and HTML) to the collection is available online with links to the digital content on this site.

Series 1: Executive Office Correspondence, 1923-1929 (Reels 1-188)
Numerical case files from the President's Executive Office consisting of letters received, sometimes with brief notes drafted by Coolidge for reply, and carbon copies of outgoing letters from Coolidge or his secretaries. Enclosures are filed with their cover letters. The original numerical sequence of the case files has been retained. An alphabetical list of case file titles appears at the beginning of the series.

Series 2: Additional Correspondence, 1921-1929 (Reel 188)
Correspondence, including photocopies, not part of the Executive Office case files.

Series 3: Reception Lists, 1925-1927 (Reels 188-190)
Lists with addresses of persons invited to formal social events at the White House. Arranged by event, the names of guests are listed by category, such as cabinet, congress, diplomatic corps, navy, newspaper correspondents, society, and Supreme Court.

Series 4: Addition, 1915-1932 (Not filmed; digital content not yet available)
Correspondence and related material, appointment books, and incoming telegraph messages added to the collection after it was microfilmed in 1965.