The Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum is a decidedly understated independent institution compared to the grand federal repositories of his successors. The quiet, one-room exhibition on the second floor of the Forbes Library is perhaps in line with the 30th president’s reputation as the reserved “Silent Cal.”
The calm business-like tableau that greets visitors contains an unexpected aura of industrious intensity. At every turn, placards remind Calvinists of his incessant call to action, illuminated by several strategically placed iterations of his observation that, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
As one reads his numerous aphorisms and learns that he frequently used the radio to communicate with the American people, one realizes that “Clamorous Cal” may have been a better moniker.
However, more inspiring than Coolidge’s numerous political successes and artistry as a communicator is his exercise horse. Invented by John Harvey Kellogg, Coolidge regularly employed his mechanical steed to reverse the ill effects of White House living.
Lawyer, outdoorsman, former President of the Massachusetts Senate, Governor of Massachusetts, and president, Silent Cal’s indefatigable spirit can be seen throughout this modest testament.
Know Before You Go
The Forbes Library is a busy center for the Northampton community. It is advisable to call ahead to make sure the Coolidge room is not hosting an event.