Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Papers Finding Aid

Identifier

FA000085

Date

Description

Mostly documents including letters, newspaper clippings, and postcards.

Source

Edith Bolling Wilson
Donated 1962

Publisher

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum

Language

English

Arrangement

37 folders, all contents are arranged chronologically with any undated materials at the back of the folders.

Biography or History

Edith Bolling Wilson was born in Wytheville, Virginia, on 15 October 1872. Educated primarily at home and briefly at boarding schools, Edith traveled to Washington, D.C., to visit her sister in 1889, and there met her first husband, Norman Galt. After a four year courtship, the couple was married in 1896 and had one child who died soon after birth. When Galt died in 1908, Edith, now a wealthy widow, successfully ran the family jewelry business. Introduced to Woodrow Wilson’s cousin, Helen Woodrow Bones, Edith met the recently widowed President at the White House. They were married privately at Edith’s house on 18 December 1915. A devoted wife, Edith traveled with her husband on speaking and campaign tours and encouraged and took part in his recreation and exercise, including golf, motor rides, the theater, and time with his family. She was deeply involved in the daily routine of the White House, discussing state papers with Wilson and decoding messages for him. After serving as a Red Cross volunteer during World War I, Edith accompanied her husband to Paris for the Peace Conference in 1918 and 1919. Following Wilson’s stroke after a Western speaking tour promoting the League of Nations, Edith cared for her husband, denying access to some advisors and officials, which resulted in charges then and today that she had usurped power. After leaving the White House, Edith cared for her husband at their home on S Street in Washington until his death in 1924. For the rest of her life, Edith protected Wilson’s legacy and helped to establish the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation as a shrine to her deceased husband. She wrote My Memoir in 1938, aided Wilson’s biographer, Ray Stannard Baker, and remained active in Democratic politics. She died at her home in Washington, DC on her husband’s birthday, 28 December 1961.

Level

folder

Other Descriptive Data

CONTAINER LIST
FOLDER CORRESPONDENCE
Sympathy
To Margaret W. Daniel
To American Legion and Woman’s Auxilliary

Christmas Cards
To Mrs. Smith
To Unknown

Postcards
White House picture
To Audrey Louise Jones
EBW Calling Card

Edith Bolling Wilson Papers
1920-24
1931
1932-33
1935
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
Undated
Miscellaneous Documents

Scope and Content

The Edith Bolling Wilson papers document Edith Bolling Wilson’s role as honorary President of the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation. The papers date from approximately 1924-61, with the bulk of the documents created between 1931 – 40. The collection consists primarily of correspondence between Edith Bolling Wilson and Mrs. Herbert McK. Smith, the President of the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation. There are sympathy acknowledgements from Mrs. Wilson after the death of Woodrow Wilson as well as a few newspaper articles written about Mrs. Wilson in her later years. The collection is contained in one series with a folder designated for each year.
The bulk of the correspondence between Edith Bolling Wilson and Mrs. Herbert McK. Smith is in reference to the establishment and organization of the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation. Mrs. Wilson includes in several letters lists of items she has donated to the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation and specific amounts donated by her and others to the endowment fund for the upkeep of the Presbyterian Manse.

Files

Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Finding Aid.pdf

Citation

Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924 Presidential Library & Museum staff, “Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Papers Finding Aid,” 1924-1961, FA000085, Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.

Archival Finding Aid