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Lot 29: Autograph Letter by First Lady Grace Coolidge to President of University of Miami
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
October 26, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: COOLIDGE, GRACE. (1879-1957). First lady of the United States. ALS. (“Grace Coolidge”). 2pp. 12mo. Washington, January 10, 1925. On a White House correspondence card headed with the gold embossed seal of the United States. To history professor and college president ETHELBERT D. WARFIELD (1861-1936) who, as the youngest president of Miami University at age 27, is best remembered for bringing football to that college. ********** “I sincerely thank you for the lines from the Meleager of Euripides which you so kindly copied and sent to the President and me. I have already passed them along to several people for whom I felt sure they carried a beautiful thought as they did for us. I also thank you for your own “Christmas Meditation” which I like. With best wishes to you for 1925…” ********** When First Lady Florence Harding became ill in September 1922, Grace, as wife of the vice president, began to assume many of Florence’s duties including organizing and hosting events at the White House. Following Warren Harding’s death in August 1923, Vice President Coolidge became president and Grace’s popularity grew due to her vibrant and energetic personality, which complemented her husband’s dour nature. Grace never took an active interest in politics, possibly because her husband rarely confided his political concerns to her. In fact, Coolidge’s famous press announcement, “I do not choose to run for president in 1928,” was the first time she knew of her husband’s decision not to seek reelection. In addition to her duties as a hostess, she was a devoted baseball fan (hailed as the “First Lady of Baseball”) and introduced a staggering number of pets to the White House, including Rebecca the raccoon, two lion cubs and the famous collie Rob Roy who was painted alongside the First Lady in Howard Chandler Christy’s famous portrait. ********** Our letter, written while Warfield was president of Pennsylvania’s Wilson College, mentions Greek dramatist Euripides (c.480 BCE-406 BCE), one of the great writers of Athenian tragedy. His Meleager, which survives only in fragments, tells the story of a Calydonian boar hunt and contains several passages about sons, which may have held special poignancy to the Coolidges whose 16-year-old son, Calvin, Jr., had just tragically passed away in July 1924. ********** In fine condition with the original White House envelope addressed in the first lady’s hand.