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Collection Calvin Coolidge Papers

The Coolidge Presidency

To many Americans, Calvin Coolidge embodied the frugality they sought in their lives. The image he presented in numerous photographs and films was that of a simple man who endorsed plain living. Pictures of him as a rural Vermonter working in the fields of his family's Plymouth Notch farm emphasized traditional values and thriftiness and allayed popular anxieties about excess and indulgence. It was an image that served him well and that he actively promoted in his electoral and public-relations campaigns.

Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States, seated at desk in his office in the White House, Washington, D.C.
Calvin Coolidge, in his White House office, 1923, stereographic print by Keystone View Company, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. LC-USZ62-21329 (b&w film copy neg. of right half).

In keeping with his image, Coolidge's great policy concern was economy in government. He assumed office in August 1923 upon the death of Warren G. Harding and served as president for six years. During that time he concerned himself with such measures as paying off the national debt, eliminating waste, and cutting taxes to stimulate capital investment. He also endorsed a business climate in which advertising played a major role. He generally spoke and acted in ways that supported business regardless of his private opinions, and viewed the federal government itself as a cost-conscious business organization.

Additional Resources

For a thorough record of Calvin Coolidge's presidency, see the digital edition of the Calvin Coolidge Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. The papers consist largely of an indexed topical Executive Office File that documents the major issues and concerns of the 1920s. Also available are selections from the Coolidge Papers made by the creators of Prosperity and Thrift that highlight his presidential concerns and those of his correspondents.

For published speeches given by Coolidge between 1921 and 1929, see selections from the papers of the president's secretaries, Everett Sanders and Edward Tracy Clark. In addition, the Sanders Papers preserve eight previously unpublished speeches about the federal budget given by President Coolidge at meetings of the Business Organization of the Government.

For a personal view of Calvin Coolidge by the Coolidge family's physician, see Joel T. Boone's entry in the Guide to People, Organizations, and Topics in Prosperity and Thrift.

For Coolidge's public and private images, see photographs, political cartoons, and other visual materials in the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division. Included are more than one thousand photographs of Coolidge in the National Photo Company Collection.

For sound recordings and films, including Visitin' Around Coolidge Corners, see a list of audiovisual materials, with links, in Related Resources on the Coolidge Papers website.