First new initiative of newly reformed and expanded Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library & Museum Standing Committee

(NORTHAMPTON, MA January 14, 2019) – A new book club dedicated to American presidents is being launched by the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library & Museum.

The first meeting of the Presidential Book Club is scheduled for Monday, February 25th at 7:30 PM in the museum, which is located on the second floor of Forbes Library.

The first book to be discussed is “An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America,” by Henry Wiencek. Copies are available at Forbes Library. After the initial meeting, the club plans to meet every other month.

“We will be tracing the history of the presidency, beginning with George Washington, and watching how American democracy evolved in ways the Founders never anticipated,” said Bill Scher, chair of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library & Museum’s programming subcommittee. “We’ll follow how presidents, both celebrated and forgotten, grappled with slavery, economics, executive power and America’s role in the world.”

“Libraries have a tradition of using books to launch discussions of topics of interest and relevance to the community and this will follow in that tradition,” said Lisa Downing, Forbes Library Director. The Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum is on the second floor of Forbes Library and is the only presidential library to reside in a public library.

The book club is the first new initiative from the recently reformed and expanded Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library & Museum Standing Committee, which serves under the Forbes Library Board of Trustees. The new standing committee is currently recruiting additional members who can help strengthen the Coolidge Library & Museum’s ability to develop programming, raise funds and attract visitors.

“The Presidential Book Club is one new way to get people who are interested in presidential history, but maybe aren’t yet interested in Calvin Coolidge, to see the Coolidge museum and get a better sense of the amazing resources it holds,” said Russell Carrier, Forbes Library Board of Trustees President.

While the Book Club will be exploring all of the American presidents, Coolidge will never be too far from the discussion. “You can’t understand Coolidge without understanding what came before and after him,” said Scher. “Coolidge is a pivot point in the story of the Republican Party. The Republican Party’s founding is part of how America ended the abomination of slavery. That’s why we are starting with George Washington and his complicated role with the enslavement of humans.”

Every book club meeting will be free and open to the public. Participants are encouraged to read as much of the featured book as they can, but anyone is welcome to attend and take part in the book club discussion.

Area residents interested in the learning more about the new Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library & Museum Standing Committee are encouraged to contact Julie Bartlett Nelson at or 413-587-1014