Woodrow Wilson to Mary Allen Hulbert




Wilson Papers, Library of Congress, Library of Congress, Washington, District of Columbia


20 July, 1913.

Dearest Friend

The eight days iI spent in New Hampshire with that happy, adorable family up there did me a lot of good. I had grown stale down here. Washington is, I should judge, the worst place in America to keep normal. One's perspective goes wrong along with one’s nerves, and there are a lot of people here who get on your nerves! Since I got back I have worked off the physical strength I got up there on the golf links and on the open country roads and in the still pine woods with their perfume of peace, but I have not worked off the refreshment of mind. The visit brought the United States back into my consiciousness, with its plain folks and all its normal, everyday life, and I am a better President for it! Every day has its anxiety and its trying piece of an unending task, which it takes it out of a man to carry forward steadily and without too serious error of judgment; but it’s good to think of the people I am working for. And they are generously grateful for a very little. If only a man keep honest and steer by a principle of action which they know to be genuine, they will stand by him and confuse his enemies.
Meanwhile, how is my dear friend faring? I need not tell you how often I think of her, and wonder what message I could send her to quicken the process by which she is now surely finding herself, up there amidst the things she is near kin to, by the sea and in the garden and out in the open sky and the endlesss waters. You are a child of nature, if ever there was one, and nothing pleases me more in your letters than those passages in which you turn to her. You never fail to be eloquent when you do, with a sort of inevitable, unconscious eloquence that is the more delightful because not deliberate, but just the instinctive response of your nature to the great out–of–doors where you are most at home. Here I sit about as far from nature as it possible for a man to get, and think of the long curve of the shore and the free sky and the stretch of quiet beech upon which you look out., and try to reconstruct, by instinctive sympathy, for myself, the thoughts you must be thinking and share the inspiration you must be drinking in, even when you are least conscious of it. Not that there are not beautiful stretches of cultivated natural beauty just outside my own windows here: I have only to turn my head as I sit here now to see them. But the city and the men it contains and the questions that come to me out of it almost every hour constitute a glass through which I see these simples, more natural things darkly only. I get away from them only when, in imagination, I join those far away friends through whom I can renew my contact with what I love best. What You have about you is, I cannot help thinking, just what you need now; and yet it is whimsical, too, that you should be marooned away from the throng. It is a singular contradiction, but it is a fact that, child of nature though you are, you were intended also for the delectation of your fellow beings. Nobody was ever better fitted for society! You have a positive genius, not only for being delightful yourself, but also for drawing others out and making them appear at their best. The very sympathy, the very lovely and touching sympathy, which enables you to understand simple, poor people, which enables you to help them so and to win their friendship so instantly, makes you the best possible companion and mediator in the more sophisticated circles where natural, spontaneous force, such as you always contribute, is generally so sadly lacking. You refresh and stimulate such people as Democracy itself invigorates society, by a constant return to the big, generous sources of mutual sympathy and mutual helpfulness. When you come out of your retreat you will be more vital than ever with those forces which are your glory. How do you like the idea of being Democracy personified, the living, vital embodiment of the natural forces of society? I never thought of you iyn that way before! but it’s the fact, if I know you at all; and it delights my imagination. I shall hereafter resort to you as to the priestess of Democracy! How different this from the idea of you that those have who do not know you, and how absolutely square with the real facts! I am glad that my slow head has worked it out at last!I am well and fit. The work is not hurting me. If my friends will only stand by me in utter loyalty, I shall be happy and all things will go well with me.

My love to Allen.
Your devoted friend,
Woodrow Wilson

the loyal servant of Democracy,

“[37]” is handwritten in the upper left corner of the first page.

Original Format





Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924, “Woodrow Wilson to Mary Allen Hulbert,” 1913 July 20, WWP17876, First Year Wilson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.