Figure 1: Obituary of John Coolidge
Readers undoubtedly read of the demise of John Coolidge, the 93 year old son of President Calvin Coolidge. See Figure 1. Back in 1984, I wrote to him to see if he could identify the man second from the right in the picture postcard featured in Figure 2. The front of the card, with a Plymouth, Vermont, Flag Cancel is featured in Figure 3.
Frederick Langford, in his Flag Cancel Encyclopedia, reports this machine in use from 1924 to 1940. The card would be autographed by John Coolidge, son of the President, over fifty years later. The postmark date of September 7, 1931, was his 25th birthday!
I had thought this man might be President Warren G. Harding.
The picture postcard features the Plymouth, Vermont, Post Office and country store.
I thought it might be President Harding, visiting Plymouth, but John Coolidge thought the year was wrong. Harding passed away in 1923. But then again the card seemed older, and also cards were frequently reprinted several times. Although the card was not identified as being a photograph of President Harding, John Coolidge did autograph it. He could not identify the sender of the card, but supposed it was a tourist who sent the card, "not Government" as the Coolidge family left Washington March 4, 1929. See Coolidge's letter, Figure 4.
The Flag Cancel is not particularly valuable, but John Coolidge was kind enough to autograph it and comment that it was postmarked on his 25th birthday! He noted in the letter back that his mother was probably thinking of him as she knitted. The retired president was probably taking his afternoon nap at the time!