A little while ago, the Old Picture of the Day blog posted a picture of FDR taking a ride on an airplane with a caption talking about him being the first president to fly. This seemed strange to me given the time lag between the airplane and FDR's presidency. So, I did a little fact checking. The Internet had a number of unsourced mentions of Calvin Coolidge being the first to fly, but I couldn't find a satisfactory answer, so I wrote to the Forbes Library in Northampton, Massachusetts. Calvin Coolidge is one of my favorite presidents and I've had a delightful exchange of Coolidgiana e-mails with one of their librarians.
Coolidge was a terrific individual – frugal and stoic, but with a keen sense of wit, a man with simple tastes and common sense. He was known for being publicly quiet and retiring. So much so, that he was even known as "Silent Cal."
Today I'm going to share one of my favorite Coolidge anecdotes with you.
It is said that when he was Vice President, Coolidge was invited to a fancy dinner party (the kind he abhorred) and a lady sitting next to him decided to draw him out. She turned to the Vice President and said, "You must talk to me Mr. Coolidge. I made a bet with someone and he said I wouldn't be able to get more than three words out of you."
Coolidge replied, "You lose," and then remained quiet for the rest of the evening.