Calvin Coolidge Twice-Signed Ledger – Signed When He Was Just 17-Years-Old!


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30th President.  Notebook, 7×8, approximately 140 pages (of which less than half are filled), Vermont, circa 1889-1891. An incredibly detailed notebook containing the constitution, minutes of meetings and various attendance rolls of 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 in two places, an early variant of his signature (one signature in ink and one in pencil). Also signed by his sister, Abigail Coolidge who died at the age of 15 in 1890.

Coolidge signs under the dates of January 7, 1890 and January 27, 1891 – making him just 17 and 18-years-old at the time he signed!  His names appears several other times but those may not be in his own handwriting.

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.

Front joint is cracked and one of the front endpapers as well as another page (which has tears) are disbound. Light soiling throughout, the second Coolidge signature is in pencil. Heavy wear to cover.

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.