30th President. Lined page, 6.5×7.5, February 4, 1890, handwritten report by a 17-year-old Calvin Coolidge while serving as Secretary for the Adelphic Union, a literary society at the Black River Academy in Ludlow, Vermont, where Coolidge completed his secondary education. Coolidge signs “J. Calvin Coolidge“, an early variant of his signature and writes, in full:
The fourth meeting of the Adelphic Union was called to order by the President.
The Secretary’s report was read and approved.
Albert Sargent was chosen President, Amos Pollard, Vice President, Nellie Colburn, Secretary.
Program committee appointed as follows: Henry Hicks, Rufus Hennenway and Mary Pollard.
The program was carried out as follows: Music Selection, Chas. Prior. Spelling match, Chas. Prior, Dallas Pollard, Hattie Fullam and Abbie Coolidge [Calvin’s sister]. Abbie Coolidge was awarded first prize; Pollard second.
Judges for Debate, Luther Vaile, Ebemn Fullam and Nellie Colburn. Question ‘Resolved that private life is preferable to public life.’ Aff. Mary Pollard…
Spectacular item containing “Coolidge” three times in his hand and a most interesting quote about private and public life!
Coolidge was named after his father, John Calvin Coolidge. He always went by his middle name, and apparently signed “J. Calvin Coolidge” in his youth. As a young man, he would sign “Calvin Coolidge, Jr.” and in his public life, “Calvin Coolidge” – with his distinctive “C”s.
Writing is a shade light but fully legible. Right edge slightly uneven. Verso with similar report dated January 21, 1890 and mentions both Calvin and Annie Coolidge.
In February of 1886, at 13 years, Calvin Coolidge broke with the past when he entered the Black River Academy—an institution similar to a high school—at Ludlow. It was, he said, his first great adventure. “I was perfectly certain,” he later wrote, “that I was traveling out of the darkness into the light.” The academy, with a Baptist affiliation, had a student body of around 125 students and had just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Coolidge’s father, mother, and grandmother had attended the school for a few terms.
To prepare for future college work, Coolidge took the classical course, with its focus on Latin, Greek, history, and mathematics. Such course work, he would later observe, provided the ideals necessary to give direction to a person’s life. During his first term, he began his lifelong study of the Constitution of the United States. Years later he would praise that great charter, writing that “no other document devised by the hand of man ever brought so much progress and happiness to humanity.” His tuition was about $7.00 a term, and his room and board ran no more than $3.00 per week.
Coolidge graduated from the Black River Academy on the 23rd of May 1890. His class consisted of five boys and four girls.