Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge
January 3, 1879, in Burlington, Vermont
July 8, 1957, in Northampton, Massachusetts
Grace Coolidge served as first lady throughout her husband Calvin Coolidge’s two terms in the years 1923-1929. Grace was 44 years old when she became first lady.
Grace attended the University of Vermont, and so became the first first lady who had graduated from a coed college or university. Following her college years, Grace taught deaf students at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, Massachusetts. Grace actually met her husband while living and working in Massachusetts and eventually stopped working as a teacher to stay home with their two sons. Grace maintained her love of animals and kept many pets at the White House, which included a number of dogs, cages of canaries, and even a raccoon. Throughout her life, Grace had been a passionate Boston Red Sox fan. As first lady, she was able to sit in the Red Sox dugout during the 1925 World Series. She also was able to welcome the acclaimed Helen Keller to the White House. Because Keller was both blind and deaf, she placed one hand on Grace’s lips and the other on her neck in order to “hear” her speak.
Upon leaving the White House, Grace noted about her role, “This was I and yet not I. This was the wife of the President of the United States and she took precedence over me.”