7 December 2015
COOLIDGE, Calvin (1872-1933). Autograph letter signed ("Calvin Coolidge"), to William Whiting, Northampton, Mass., 21 May 1932. 1 page, 4to (10¾ x 8 3/8 in.), on Coolidge's personal stationery, very lightly soiled.
COOLIDGE DECLINES A REQUEST TO AID 'BONUS MARCHERS': "I HAVE DONE ALL I CAN DO...OTHERS MUST NOW CARRY ON"
At the height of the Depression, from retirement in Northhampton, Massachusetts, Coolidge responds to a note from William Whiting, who had served as Secretary of Commerce during Coolidge's second term: "Your note & clipping received. The suggestion would not work. I hope you will not take any action anywhere that involves me. Perhaps you will talk to Mr. Charles D. Hillis of New York. It would be easy to make much trouble for a distracted country. I have done all I can do. Others must now carry on the government. Just drop me." Whiting most likely asked for Coolidge's assistance with the Bonus Marchers who had descended on Washington during the month this letter was written. Some 15,000 veterans entered Washington to lobby for immediate payment of the bonus awarded them in 1924. The bill, which had been enacted over Coolidge's veto, awarded World War I veterans paid-up insurance redeemable in 1945. During the Depression, needy veterans sought immediate payment. Coolidge here suggests contacting Charles D. Hillis, who in the late 1920s had been Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Provenance: Forbes Collection, Part I, Christie’s New York, 27 March 2002, lot 62.
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