President Coolidge is back, and he's making Monadnock connections
By MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent | June 18. 2017 10:13PM
Tracy Messer of Peterborough will premier his Calvin Coolidge one-man show in Peterborough on Tuesday. (COURTESY)
Calvin Coolidge passed through Peterborough nearly 100 years ago on his way from his birthplace in Plymouth Notch, Vt., to his summer White House in Swampscott, Mass.
Local historian Tracy Messer of Peterborough will appear in two performances of his first-person presentation, “Calvin Coolidge: ‘The Monadnock Region As I’ve Known It.”
The first show is a matinee at the Scott-Farrar at Peterborough senior community on Elm Street at 3 p.m., followed by a performance at the Union Congregational Church on Concord Street at 7:30 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.
The evening show will include a question-and-answer session with Messer and President Coolidge’s great-granddaughter, Jennifer (Sayles) Harville of Westmoreland.
“Jennifer will be there to talk about the current branches of the Coolidge family tree and the Calvin Coolidge Foundation in Vermont that carries on his legacy,” Messer said.
Messer gave his first performance of Coolidge at the 90th annual meeting of the Historical Society of Cheshire County in Keene this April.
Coolidge served as President of the United States from 1923 to 1929.
“It seemed appropriate that Coolidge preside over their 90th meeting,” Messer said of the Cheshire historical society.
Messer said he has been invited to perform next month at the Coolidge Foundation Fourth of July celebration of Coolidge’s 144th birthday at his birthplace in Vermont. He will also make an appearance in Hancock this fall as Coolidge.
Like many Monadnock region towns, Hancock has a connection to Coolidge, Messer said. Coolidge’s wife was from there, he said.
“Grace Goodhue Coolidge, a remarkable woman in her own right, she and her family came from Hancock, New Hampshire,” Messer said.
Other connections in Tuesday’s show, he said: “Which mayor of Keene is descended from one of Coolidge’s classmates? Where was the notorious intersection that led more than one U.S. President astray? Who was the Monadnock artist that made a portrait of Calvin, Jr.?”
Messer said he is most impressed by how humble Coolidge was.
When he declared he would not run for a second term he said, “I came from the people and I want to return to them,” Messer said. “He was perhaps the humblest of all Presidents.”