Updated: May 29, 2020
Calvin Coolidge was the first U. S. President to visit the International Live Stock Exposition.
1872-1933 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)
Impact & Accomplishments
Serving as thirtieth president of the United States (1923-1929), Calvin Coolidge was the first U. S. President to visit the International Live Stock Exposition.
He authorized commemorative medals for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the exposition in 1924. A biographer of the President, who served on his Secret Service detail, wrote that Coolidge sat for painter Robert Grafton in the White House in 1929, for a portrait that was to join the Saddle & Sirloin collection. This was a career triumph for Grafton, certainly a highlight of his life as a portraitist, and he must have been saddened when that work was lost in the 1934 fire. His replacement does not equal the original in art historical value, but the artist’s intimate knowledge of the subject certainly adds to the value of this work, even though it was painted a few years after the President sat for Grafton.
Born on a Vermont farm, Coolidge became a Massachusetts attorney who served as state representative, senator, lieutenant governor, governor, and U. S. vice president, before taking the oath of office as president, upon the death of Warren G. Harding. Overall, he was not considered a strong advocate for farmers during his presidency, vetoing farm relief bills and being slow to address flood control issues after the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. He did, however, restore dignity and confidence to the White House after Harding’s controversial years in office, and his civil rights record was strong.
President and Mrs. Coolidge attended a banquet and 4-H parade at the silver anniversary International. Just weeks before, he had been elected to serve a full term as the incumbent president.
Did You Know?
It was during his time as vice-president that Coolidge earned the nickname "Silent Cal." Though he was known for being an eloquent public speaker, in private he was withdrawn and quiet, typically deferring to his wife, who was equally known for her outgoing personality.
Drawn History: Calvin Coolidge | History Channel 2017
In addition to Grant, Coolidge and Hoover, four other U.S. presidents were, at one time, represented in the Saddle & Sirloin Club Portrait Collection: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln were destroyed in the 1934 fire and not replaced. Franklin D. Roosevelt was added after the fire, but removed from the collection before the move to Louisville.