Ellen Axson Wilson to Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre




At Woodrow Wilson’s request, Ellen recommends that Jessie not accept her nomination for presidency of the Y.W.C.A. and mentions that her Aunt Lou has died.


Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University




My darling

Your father has asked me to write to you again this morning, about the presidency of the Y.W.C.A. He says he feels more and more strongly the longer he thinks of it, that it would be unwise for you to accept that office for next year, and he hopes that you will decline to consider it. I need not say that I agree with him, dear—Margaret has been telling us how much work the office involves in addition to the constant weight of responsibility. Of course you will say that some one must do it,—why not you? The answer is simply that while you are a perfectly healthy girl, your constitution received several severe shocks (notably the one in North Carolina.) at a critical age, and it is peculiarly important that your strength should not be over taxed until you reach full maturity. You evidently have an excellent constitution with a greatdeal of vitality—(else you would not have rallied as you did in 1903,) and if you are wise now you will be a splendid, vigorous woman, much more useful in the future to the Y.W.C.A., or whatever else interests you, than if you risked your health for its sake just now. The Senior year is the hardest anyhow, especially towards the spring when the weather is so debilitating in Balt.; and we are both perfectly sure that the ordinary duties and activities of the year are as much as you ought to undertake. Just tell them, darling, that it is your father's wish that you should decline and they cannot blame you.
I have just heard (two hours ago) of the death of my dear Aunt Lou. She was like another mother to all of us and I meant to go down with Madge when the end came, (it has been drawing near for several months) but they did not telegraph so promptly and we could not get there until hours after the funeral, which is at about ten tomorrow. It is a deep sorrow for me but truly softened by the feeling that it is well with her. With a heart full of love from us both,

Your devoted

Original Format





Wilson, Ellen Axson, “Ellen Axson Wilson to Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre,” 1907 February 20, WWP17374, Jessie Wilson Sayre Correspondence, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.