St. Mary's School Collection Finding Aid





Photocopies of letters from Eleanor Wilson McAdoo to Jessie Wilson Sayre and Ellen Axson Wilson, as well as later documents and other correspondence.


Courtesy of St. Mary's School, Francis Sayre, and the University of California at Santa Barbara, 2006


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum


1 box




The letters are arranged chronologically in a folder for each year. Later documents are grouped together in the final folder.

Biography or History

From 1906-1908, Eleanor Wilson, the youngest daughter of Woodrow Wilson and Ellen Axson Wilson, attended St. Mary's School in Raleigh, North Carolina, an Episcopal girls' boarding school. Her letters from school are addressed to her sister Jessie Wilson, or "Jetty", at Women's College, Baltimore (later Goucher College) and to her mother at "Prospect" in Princeton.



Scope and Content

Copies of the letters were made by Arthur Link, III from St. Mary's School's collection, which itself only has a few original letters; the other original letters are owned by Francis Sayre and by the University of California at Santa Barbara. The letters to Jessie Wilson, written almost once a week, recount Eleanor's homesickness and resentment of the restrictions placed on students at St. Mary's, as well as her enjoyment of rare school outings and events and her involvement in a social sorority. That sorority, Alpha Kappa Psi, continued to be a large part of her life at St. Mary's through 1908, even providing special stationary for her letters. Eleanor's other activities included horseback riding, the literary and debate society, of which she was elected 'critic', and writing for the school newspaper, the 'Muse'. There are also several letters from Eleanor to her mother, Ellen Axson Wilson. The final folder contains some notes on the letters and biographical information about Eleanor and her later career from various sources, including a visit to St. Mary's in 1954.



Emma Diduch, “St. Mary's School Collection Finding Aid,” 1906-1908, 1953-1982, FA000302, St. Mary’s School Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.

Archival Finding Aid