Wilson On Hasty Trip


Wilson On Hasty Trip






1915 August 21


Cary T. Grayson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Virginia




Flits Away From Washington So Early Capital Isn’t Awake—Has Luncheon in Quaker City, Strolls Streets, Dodging a Motor, and Returns by Train—Told Eyes Are in Fine Shape.

President Wilson slipped away from the White House soon after 6 o’clock yesterday morning, and before Washington was awake was off to Philadelphia in a motor car to visit his occulist. He returned this evening by train, after having broken some presidential precedents. He had been lost on the road, had lunched unannounced in the public dining room of a Philadelphia hotel, strolled through the streets of the business section of Philadelphia, rode back to Washington in a public railroad car, and drove to the White House in a hired automobile.

Party “Lost” in Baltimore.

The President realized it was unlikely that official details of the sinking of the White Star liner Arabic would be in Washington before today, and took the opportunity to make his annual visit to the oculist and spend several hours in quiet riding in the country. He took only Dr. Cary T. Grayson, his naval aid and physician, into his confidence about the trip, and other White House officials did not know where he had gone until after his departure. The automobiles usually used by the President are at Cornish, N. H., and he used a light car driven generally only in the city. Dr. Grayson rode with him, and another machine carrying six secret service men followed.

In Baltimore, the presidential party turned the wrong way and had to seek directions before the Philadelphia road was found.

Eyes in Excellent Condition.

It was after 1 o’clock before Philadelphia was reached. News of the President’s coming had preceded him, however, and a crowd of photographers and moving-picture men greeted him as he stepped from the automobile at the door of the oculist. He remained with the oculist less than half an hour and was told that his eyes were in excellent condition.

An invitation to have lunch at a Philadelphia club was declined and the President decided to go to a hotel. He rode along to the hotel and passing by astonished employes and guests who recognized him took an elevator to an upstairs dining room.

Grazed by Philadelphia Auto.

Selecting a table, the President ordered luncheon apparently oblivious to the startled glances of others who had no idea he was in Philadelphia. Dr. Grayson joined him soon afterward. After lunch the President decided he wanted exercise and started through the downtown section of Philadelphia. He swung along Walnut street unnoticed by other pedestrians.

At one corner an automobile of the Philadelphia water department almost bumped into him. Then a mounted policeman recognized the President and constituted himself a special guard throughout the walk.

Small Norfolk Boy Presented.

Mr. Wilson finally turned into Chestnut street, where the sidewalks were crowded. There he was recognized and followed, and a crowd soon had gathered which the secret service men had trouble keeping back. The throng still was along when the President entered the Pennsylvania station.

On the ride back to Washingtonthe President left the door of his drawing room open. The other passengers were much interested, and Master Robert Swan, 5 years old, of Norfolk, Va., was presented to the distinguished traveler at his father’s request.

At the Union Station a public auto was hired to take the President to the White House.

Original Format





Unknown, “Wilson On Hasty Trip,” 1915 August 21, WWP20862, Cary T. Grayson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.