Ellen Axson Wilson to Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre




Ellen tells Jessie the family news and details her plans for hosting a dinner as well as Woodrow Wilson’s latest Baccalaureate address. She also mentions that he is planning to write a book over the summer.


Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University




My darling

Your dear, interesting letter came yesterday,—and for once I am writing promptly. But Margaret was quite ill on Sunday, so of course you did not get the usual letter from her. She had a little sore throat when she went to the Elm dance on Friday night and at three o'clock got back in pretty bad shape. It turned out to be a sharp attack of “follicular pharingitis;” but she is up again now and almost well. She says she had a lovely time at the dance notwithstanding;—her escort at the dance being very charming.Cousin Hattie and the girls come next Monday. The fiancé comes too,—to stop with his brother. They will all dine here Monday night. They can't stop over for the Ben Hur play on Wed., but must go back Tuesday afternoon.
This is the night for the dinner to the debating teams and I must stop soon and begin my decorations. I have great branches of apple blossoms all about the drawing-room. The table will be in white and gold,—great sprays of the Spirea, and other blossoms. I have lovely daffodil yellow linings for the silver filigree shades, and the bon-bons & cakes will all match. The place cards will have Princeton Shields in the corners and will be written by your father himself for a souvenirs. The boys seem quite elated at the honour of the dinner!That reminds me of our Sunday guest—Donald Herring the new Rhoads fellow. He came at half past one and stayed until nearly six!—taking afternoon tea with Madge and “sitting out” Mr. Elliott. I don't know whether he thought that correct form, or whether it was all due to Madge's fascinations.
I have just read your father's “Baccalaureate” for this year and it is perfectly beautiful;—it seems to me one of the finest things anybody ever wrote. It is so exquisite in style that it is almost poetry, yet without a touch of weakness or sentimentality. He is certainly wonderful! At the same sitting I read the short-hand report of his last Columbia lecture,—so altogether different and so equally fine in its way;—such mastery of the subject,—so keen, and clear and forceful. It was on party government in America, and was a truly remarkable analysis of a very difficult subject on in all its bearings;—wonderfully illuminating. Those lectures are going to make a splendid books. He will revise the notes and bring them into shape this summer. I hate for him to work in the summer but it is certainly fine that there is to be another book, in spite of the presidency! He says it won't be very much trouble and that he enjoys the prospect.
I am glad you have the honour of that secretary-ship and the charming visit to Vassar, dear, though of course I am a little uneasy about the work involved. Am delighted that you had such a happy day in the country. With love inexpressible, in which your father joins I am as always, dear one,

Your devoted,

Original Format





Wilson, Ellen Axson, “Ellen Axson Wilson to Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre,” 1907 May 14, WWP17393, Jessie Wilson Sayre Correspondence, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.