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Sale 38 Lot 656

CALVIN COOLIDGE
A large archive of 58 letters by both Coolidge and First Lady GRACE COOLIDGE, being 45 letters from the President, of which there are 41 T.L.S.'s (one secretarial, one facsimile) and four A.L.S.'s, with those by Grace Coolidge including 12 A.L.S.'s and one T.L.S. Many of the letters are on White House letterhead, but other printed letterhead is common, such as Northampton, Massachusetts, Lakeside Inn, Florida, Los Angeles Biltmore, and Hotel Vermont, Burlington, and many accompanied by original envelopes. The entire correspondence is between the Coolidges and Darwin Kingsley, then President of New York Life Insurance Company. Both Darwin Kingsley and Grace Coolidge were graduates of the University of Vermont, and the lengthy handwritten letters from Grace Coolidge to Darwin Kingsley, frank and charming, imply a friendly relationship. Letters from Calvin Coolidge are more business-oriented as President Coolidge, at the end of his term, sought and ultimately accepted a position on the board of New York Life. The earliest letter in the archive is a T.L.S., 1p., from Grace Coolidge, August 11, 1923, on White House mourning letterhead, shortly after President Harding's death. In part: "My dear Mr. Kingsley: I As a fellow Vermonter and a graduate of the University of Vermont, I thank you for your kind letter of sympathy, confidence and good wishes". Chronologically, the next seven letters are A.L.S.'s from Grace Coolidge, read, in very small part: "...When you say that 'portraits are more or less of a gamble', you touch a responsive cord, here. No one has succeeded in painting one of the President which fully satisfies me. I should not be so sad about it if he enjoyed the process more. We have discovered a man who paints portraits from photographs. The result seemed to justify him in engaging him to 'do' one of the President - also from a photograph This may seem like portraits by 'by the yard' but .. he has so little time for 'sitting' and is, apparently so difficult to portray that we thought this procedure might be advantageous all around ,As far as publicity goes, I think it would be better if we could keep the matter a 'dark secret' until we are ready to let the news 'break' but let us not be too sad if we are foiled...". In a later letter, she writes: "I think we have [portrait painter] Mr. de Laszlo 'headed' in the right direction ... I am sorry you were disturbed by the article In the Times. I have grown rather hardened to that sort of thing Some newswriter here called up my secretary for Information after that article appeared. I happened to be sitting by her desk and there learned what the term 'hard-boiled' really means....". In a February 1926 letter, she writes: "... During the second sitting Mr. de Laszlo said. 'I like your mouth' and I replied, 'Then put it all in.' I believe I added something about 'plenty of nose' to go with it...", and in June 1926 she writes, "I thank you for the photograph of Mr. de Laszlo's portrait and for the copy of the presentation. I hope my friends at U. VT Liked the portrait and that they will like to live with it...". The earliest letter from President Coolidge is a T.L.S. Jan.19, 1924, on White House letterhead, acknowledging receipt of Kingsley's letter of the 18th "...concerning the tax reduction program.. I know that this subject has had your careful thought and I am particularly glad, therefore, to have the judgment you have formed concerning it....". In another T.L.S. as President, Coolidge expresses "...pleasure to have a part in the ceremonies, which I am glad went so well". The ceremony was the August 12, 1928 dedication of the just completed New York Life Insurance building designed by famed architect Cass Gilbert. As Darwin Kingsley, the President of New York Life dedicated the building in New York, President Coolidge pressed a button in the White House that unfurled a United States flag in the new building. Less than two weeks before, the Coolidges were scheduled to vacate the White House, with Coolidge sending a T.L.S. that reads, in part: "...Some time ago you wrote making some suggestion about my serving some time on your Board of Directors. I do not yet know where I shall be when I retire from office, but wanted you to know that I had not forgotten your suggestion. Would you be kind enough to indicate just what would be involved in such service ... ". Within two months, Coolidge writes: "...Believing that Life Insurance is the most effective instrumentality for the promotion of industry, saving, and character ... I accept the nomination you have tendered me to become a member of the Board of Directors of your Company and if elected I shall be glad to participate in its administration...". Later in April, Coolidge writes an A.L.S., in part: "...You may say to all those who bother you for an introduction that none is needed If they will write and present a case needing attention it will have it....". In a later T.L.S., Coolidge responds to Kingsley who is acting in behalf of the University of Vermont, in part: "...The University of Vermont has already conferred upon me a degree so that I would not care to accept another ... I think it would be most filling to give one to Mrs. Coolidge and she would be please to accept ... ". Coolidge misses a gathering and responds to Kingsley in an A.L.S. dated June 1929: "...I am glad your gathering was so much as success and [am] deeply sorry I had to be away Confidentially. I had a hard fall and fractured my wrist. It is getting along all right but IS not in good shape to take away from home...." In Sept. 1929, Calvin Coolidge was asked to prepare a statement for a dinner in honor of Thomas Edison in part: "...I have already sent a message to Mr. Ochs to be read at the Edison dinner. While I was President I toasted Mr., Edison over the radio so that I am on record in his behalf to the extent of my ability. No one can do too much for him";and in Oct., 1929, makes an insightful comment about making public addresses: "...I find I cannot attend public gatherings where I do not say anything and where I always find there is considerable reference to me without more or less embarrassment...". With reference to radio, Coolidge writes in Nov. 1929: "...I am entirely indifferent about going on the air, I am perfectly Willing to do so if you think It would be helpful ..."; and in Dec. 1929: "...Please accept my thanks for your helpful suggestions I spent a great deal of time trying to prepare my address but had my usual experience of thinking I had not adequately expressed my feelings, Your assurance is most helpful...". The last correspondence is dated April 28, 1932, and Coolidge makes reference to Kingsley's inability to attend the dedication of the Folger Library due to health issues, Darwin Kingsley would die six months later in October 1932, three months before the death of President Coolidge. Overall very good to fine condition.
Estimate $ 8,000-10,000

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