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tv   The Presidency Calvin Coolidge Descendant  CSPAN  November 13, 2021 12:02pm-12:16pm EST

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community and taken away several times until it is ultimately taken away for good. but let's talk about the interpretation in terms of slavery. notice the cabin behind me. what's important is not unlike where people walked up animals at night and they worked in fields not unlike the enslaved men, women and children. african-american men, women and children, holding onto humanity, found ways to love one another and practice their faith and grow gardens to supplement their diet and to create new cultural practices. >> watch full tour online at c-span.org/history. >> did you know you can listen to lectures on the go. stream it any time, you're watching american history tv.
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>> jennifer, what is your relationship to calvin coolidge? >> i'm his great granddaughter. my mother was one of two girls who were the grand children of the coolidges. >> and where do you live? >> i lived in new hampshire. it's just a little bit over an hour, so it's a nice distance to be able to get over there for events. >> we are talking as the white house historical associate summit. but how associated are you with presidential descendants, how much work do you do in that area? >> i have have been going to missouri for a few years to meet with some of the other presidential descendants. we gather there for a festival and there's usually a panel of presidential descendants and it's a lot of fun. we talk about how we are
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descendant from the president and what it's like to be a descendant and how we carry on the legacy. that's all about all i've done. >> what is it like to be a presidential descendant? >> it's like having a double identity for me. i'm a stay at home mom. i do a lot of volunteer work. my everyday life i work with my school and then there are special events that come up that allow me to travel and meet really unique people which i'm forever grateful for, other descendants and people of importance and various walks of life, not so many politicians and some leaders and that kind of thing. >> so has this been an interest throughout your life or you grew
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up throughout your age? >> it's been an interest and i did grew a little bit. my mother and aunt both passed away prematurely, late 50's was my aunt. she passed away and my mom was 61 when she passed and at the time i was about 30 and i decided that it was time for me to take the torch and carry on the legacy because there's really -- there was really no one else doing it. >> what is the legacy of calvin coolidge? what's the message you want people to know about your great grandfather? >> i want people to know that he was a very decent down to earth human being and that he was a very likable gentleman. he was able to work with all sorts of people on both sides of the aisle which was -- which was i find very refreshing.
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he was able to get votes from both parties at the time. he was kind of like the boy next door that people just wanted to -- to, you know, he was very likable. so he was not -- he did not seem very intimidating. he did have a very dry wit. he did not enjoy small talk very much but he did have his own opinion about certain things. >> could you tell me the story about how the plymouth became to be? >> it was created i believe in 1960 by my grand father john coolidge but also there were some other people involved.
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one of the first ladies and i can't recall which one was involved in the foundation. >> it is an entire small village when you visit there. what is the story that is trying to tell about the coolidge presidency and calvin coolidge's own upbringing? >> the story it portrays that the site is very simple. it is portrayed as the place that he grew up. it is exactly almost exact replica of his boyhood home and it has been kept that way purposely because we feel it very important to -- for people to understand that -- that
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anyone can come from very humbled beginnings, whether they'd be a farmer or, you know, very simple beginnings and then you never know. he never expected to grow up to be president, but so this is a very, very simple place where you can see that anyone can get started anywhere and it's very modest not pretentious at all. >> how hard was for farmers in that area in the harsh new england climate, can you talk about that? >> there was -- he did a lot of working with horses and with cattle, mostly dairy, dairy cattle. he also did a lot of maple tapping and told that he could
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get more maple out of a tree than anybody in the area which is a really good story but he had to bring in the wood for the fire every day to make -- he had to make sure that the wood box was filled and ready to go, so he had these -- he had these farm chores that he was expected to do. >> it's also the place where he took the oath of office, can you tell me the story? >> it is, i would love to. it's so unique. so he -- they received word that president harding had passed away out in california in san francisco. and a telegraph was september from bridgewater, vermont and there was a deliverer from bridgewater that brought the telegraph up to plymouth and
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president coolidge -- vice president coolidge's father john, and so it was early in the morning on august the third, 1923, they had got a knock on the door and the father answered the door and -- and said, you know what's going on and he was informed that harding had passed away so his father went up and woke calvin and said the news to him and then they went downstairs and his father administered the oath of office to him, john coolidge was a notary public, so he was -- he felt that under the circumstances this is something that he could just -- so our
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country wouldn't be without a president and so that was -- that happened and they went back to bed and so, again, very modest small ceremony with just a few reporters, stenographer and mrs. coolidge. >> and when you mention mrs. coolidge, tell me about your grandmother. >> so she was the opposite in character. she was very vivacious. grace coolidge was a teacher of the deaf for deaf children in north hampton, massachusetts at the clark school for the deaf. and she was also the only first lady -- the first first lady to
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attend a four-year college and that was the university of vermont in burlington, massachusetts, vermont, excuse me. >> she had love for animals? >> she had 3 dogs and many animals throughout the years. her most famed animal was probably rebecca the raccoon who she had and they had a variety of dogs and cats in the white house. >> your grandfather john had a brother who died in the white house. so let's close by telling the story because it was a real tragedy. i believe it was during a reelection campaign that -- >> yes, it was. so it was the boys were playing -- the brothers were 19 years apart, excuse me, 19 months apart and they were playing tennis on the white house grounds. calvin, jr. developed a blister
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on his foot and that was treated but it became infected and the infection start today spread to his body and they had no antibiotics at the time to treat that and a week after getting the blister he died at walter reed hospital of sepsis. he was 16 year's old. yeah, yeah. i believe that it put a lot of pressure on john. he was seen as only the remaining child and a lot of stress and pressure was put on him to be a model for his son. i do know that it was a real
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loss for the president and that he blamed himself a lot because if he had not been in that position, maybe his son would be alive. race was a real driving factor in saving the family and helping them to move on. she wrote a poem about calvin jr.'s death and it's called the open door and so she really helped them move on. >> there were a number of presidential families that lost children in the early days the last one being in the jacqueline kennedy, always wonder how you can deal with that tragedy when you're dealing under the extreme spotlight of the white house. >> exactly. >> thank you for sharing family stories and your work and continuing his legacy, thanks for your time. >> okay, great, thanks so much for having me.
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appreciate it. >> stay up to date on the latest and publishing with book tv. you can find books and podcasts on the c-span now app or wherever you get your podcast. c-span's american history tv continues now, you can find the full scheduling for the weekend on your program guide or at c-span.org/history. >> good afternoon, i'm carole bucy and i'm the moderator of this session, david zucchino's book, the rise of white

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