Frances Wright Saunders Collection Finding Aid


Frances Wright Saunders Collection Finding Aid


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library staff




1850-1940; 1970-1990


The collection consists of research material collected by Ms. Saunders for her book, First Lady Between Two Worlds: Ellen Axson Wilson. The collection contains letters between relatives of the Woodrow Wilson family and Mrs. Saunders; letters between Helen Bones and Woodrow Wilson; letters to Margaret Axson Elliott; biographical and genealogical information of the Axson and Hoyt families; and photographs of Ellen Wilson and her family.


DONOR: Frances Wright Saunders
Frances Wright Saunders is the author of First Lady Between Two Worlds: Ellen Axson Wilson. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum


Cataloging of archival materials




The first four boxes are arranged alphabetically according to Frances Wright Saunders’ research subject classification. There are files devoted to people relating to Ellen Axson Wilson life including her family and contemporaries as well as places where Ellen Axson lived or studied. Boxes five and six house the files devoted to Ellen Axson Wilson including a very detailed chronology of her life. Box seven contains the files containing photocopies from the Ray Stannard Baker Papers in the Library of Congress.

Biography or History

Ellen Axson Wilson was born in Savannah, Georgia on 15 May 1860 to Rev. Samuel Edward Axson and Margaret Hoyt Axson. After being schooled at home, she was sent to the local high school and graduated in 1876. Ellen studied French and German after high school, and studied art at the Art Students League in New York. She married Thomas Woodrow Wilson (Woodrow Wilson) on 24 June 1885, and had three daughters: Margaret, Jessie, and Eleanor. She was extremely influential upon her husband’s career, and helped him gain entry into the political world. In 1889, after the birth of their daughter Eleanor, Ellen began to suffer from Bright’s Disease, which eventually led to her death on 6 August 1914.


box, folder

Other Descriptive Data



1 1 Art Students League of New York
2 Axson, Edward William
3 Axson, Isaac Stockton Keith (1813-1891)
4 Axson, Margaret Jane Hoyt –letters to SEA, Louisia, EAW
5 Axson, Randolph – Uncle Dolph
6 Axson, Samuel Edward – Chronology
7 Axson, Samuel Edward – Estate
8 Axson, Samuel Edward – Miscellaneous
9 Axson, Samuel Edward – Outgoing Correspondence, 1857
10 Axson, Samuel Edward – Outgoing Correspondence, 1858 – 1865 Pre-Rome, licenate through Civil War
11 Axson, Samuel Edward – Outgoing Correspondence, 1866 – 1883 Rome, GA, First Presbyterian Church pastorate
12 Axson, Samuel Edward – Outgoing Correspondence, 1884
13 Axson, Samuel Edward – Sermons
14 Axson, Stockton – Correspondence, 1883 – 1888
15 Axson, Stockton – Correspondence, 1889 – 1898
16 Axson, Stockton – 1914 – 1937
17 Axson, Stockton – Memos to Ray Stannard Baker
18 Axson, Stockton – Medical Inquiries
19 Bones, Helen – Letters to Stockton Axson and Arthur Walworth
20 Bones, Helen – Letters to Margaret A. Elliot
21 Bones, Helen to Jessie Wilson Sayre, 1915
22 Bones, Helen to Jessie Wilson Sayre, 1916
23 Bones, Helen to Jessie Wilson Sayre, 1917
24 Brand, Katherine E.
25 Brow, Louisa C. Hoyt – Aunt Louise
26 Brown, Mary C. Mitchel – “Mee-Mee”
27 Bryn Mawr

2 1 Cable, George W., The Negro Question
2 Cambridge University, Cambridge, England
3 DuBose, Rosalie Anderson, 2 August 1860 – 18 November 1945
4 Correspondence, Miscellaneous, about Ellen Axson Wilson
5 Elliott, Margaret Axson
6 Elliott, Margaret Axson – Correspondence 25 September 1918 – 15 July 1945

2 7 Elliott, Margaret Axson – Correspondence 13 December 1945 – 5 January 1946
8 Ervin, Elizabeth Adams (Dec. 10, 1860-Jan. 24, 1899)
9 Ervin, Elizabeth Adams (Dec. 10, 1860-Jan. 24, 1899)
10 First Presbyterian Church, Princeton, N.J.
11 Georgia, Athens
12 Georgia, Augusta
13 Georgia, Greensboro
14 Georgia, Madison
15 Georgia, Rome (First Presbyterian Church)
16 Georgia, Rome (Rome Female College)
17 Georgia, Rome (Seay manuscript; Oct. 9, 1914)
18 Green, W. M.

3 1 Handy, Elizabeth Green
2 Harris, Anna
3 Hoover, Erwin. White House Diary Mar. 4-Dec. 31, 1914
4 Hoyt, Mary – “Minnie”
5 Hoyt, William Dearing, II – 1972 – 1982
6 Hoyt, William Dearing, II – 1983 – 1986
7 Hoyt, William Dearing, II – 1986 – 1988
8 Hoyt, William Dearing M.D. (Nov. 11, 1831-Oct. 11, 1903). “Uncle Will”
9 Hoyt ,Winthrop (1739-c.1813) Carlton’s Raid, (Xerox copy)
10 Hulbert, Mary – “Confession” – Woodrow Wilson on Mary Allen Hulbert [18 Sep. 1915]
11 Hulbert, Mary – Contract of Sale for Woodrow Wilson’s Letters to Mary Allen Hulbert, 5 June 1928
12 Hulbert, Mary – Correspondence between Ray Stannard Baker and Josephus Daniels
13 Hulbert, Mary – Divorce Records from Berkshire Co., Courthouse, Pittsfield, Mass.
14 Hulbert, Mary – George H. Doran – Wilson-Peck Letters
15 Hulbert, Mary – The “Eleven” pages
16 Hulbert, Mary – Edith Bolling Wilson to Mary Allen Hulbert
17 Hulbert, Mary – Correspondence between Colonel House and Mary Hulbert – Yale University
18 Hulbert, Mary – Liberty Magazine articles
19 Hulbert, Mary – Mary Hulbert and Woodrow Wilson, American History Illustrated
20 Hulbert, Mary – Photographs


3 21 Hulbert, Mary – The Springfield Republican 15 February 1925, article on Mary Hulbert
22 Hulbert, Mary – True Story Magazine
23 Hulbert, Rebecca – Mrs. Allen S.
24 Hulbert, Mary – Family History Documents

4 1 King, Marjorie Brown – Mrs. Ben
2 Kirkland
3 McAdoo, Eleanor Wilson – wedding gift list
4 New York Times – Index survey
5 Patterson, Archibald W. “Personal Recollections of W.W.” (1929)
6 Peabody Institute
7 Presbyterian Heritage Center at Montreat – North Carolina
8 Prospect & Prospect Gardens
9 Princeton Alumni Weekly (inauguration, 1913)
10 Rice University
11 Richmond
12 Sayre, Eleanor
13 Sayre, Jessie W. (Seven letters to Alice Appenzeller)
14 Sayre, Jessie Wilson, 1887-1933
15 Sayre, Jessie W. to Margaret Brown King
16 South Carolina, Beech Island
17 Sunbury Academy
18 Tedcastle, Agnes – 3 letters from Jessie W. Sayre
19 Tennessee, Sewanee (U. of the South)
20 Walworth, Arthur – Arthur Walworth Collection, Yale University Library – Misc. memos
21 Washington BEE
22 Wilson, Edith Bolling – letters from Woodrow Wilson
23 Wilson, Edith Bolling
24 Wilson, Margaret Woodrow
25 Wilson, Margaret W. – letter to Jessie W. Sayre
26 McAdoo-Wilson Collection – Library of Congress
27 Wilson-McAdoo Collection UCSB
28 Eleanor Wilson-McAdoo to Jessie W. Sayre

Axson Memoir – Chapter on Ellen Axson Wilson
Axson, Ben Palmer – Correspondence (1st cousin once removed to Ellen Axson Wilson
Ellen Axson Wilson to Margaret C. Axson – from Ben Palmer Axson


King, Ben M. – Ellen Axson Wilson to Ben M. King from Marjorie Brown King
Macbeth, William – Correspondence between Ellen Axson Wilson and William Macbeth – Macbeth Gallery Papers from Archives of American Art
Permissions – Ellen Axson Wilson
Wilson, Ellen Axson – Courtship
Wilson, Ellen Axson – Disposition (letter from M. B. King)
Wilson, Ellen Axson – Funeral details in Rome
Wilson, Ellen Axson –Memorials and Reminiscences
Wilson, Ellen Axson – Men Other than Woodrow Wilson
Wilson, Ellen Axson – Miscellaneous
Wilson, Ellen Axson – Photographs
Wilson, Ellen Axson – Portrait Dedication; Rome, Ga., Oct. 1, 1972)
Wilson, Ellen Axson – Press Coverage 1911-1914
Wilson, Ellen Axson – Princeton Years
Wilson, Ellen Axson – Short stories
Wilson, Ellen Axson – Socal work in Washington)

1905 – 4 April – 8 November
1907 – 19 January-27 May
1907 – 28 September- 10 December
1909 – 15 February-23 October
1910 – 24 February-14 December
1912 – April-30 December
1913 – 3 January-6 August
1913 – 28 October-31 December
24 January 1914- 24 July 1914 – Eleanor A. Sayre Family Papers
1913-1914 – January 29 Majorie Brown King Papers
1914 – March & September, Princeton Historical Society and Mrs. W. M. F. Bayliss Papers

Axson Geneology
Elliott, Margaret Axson – Correspondence

Elliott, Margaret Axson – Correspondence
Elliott, Margaret Axson – Correspondence
Forebears: Axson, Hoyt, Randolph, Palmer – Geneological Info.
Forebears: Axson Geneological Info.
Forebears: Hoyt Geneological Info.
Ray Stannard Baker Collection – Library of Congress
Ray Stannard Baker Collection – Library of Congress
Ray Stannard Baker Collection – Library of Congress
Ray Stannard Baker Collection – Library of Congress
Ray Stannard Baker Collection – Library of Congress
Illustrations with Captions for Ellen Axson Wilson’s Biography, 27 photos and legends

Scope and Content

The documents in this collection were used by Ms. Saunders for her research of the book, Lady Between Two Worlds: Ellen Axson Wilson. There is a wide variety of information and document types, which include letters, pamphlets, encyclicals, church service bulletins, photographs, selections from other books, selections from other collections, and receipts. Some of the most interesting documents in the collection are the original letters between Margaret Axson Elliott and various individuals concerning her book, My Aunt Louisa and Woodrow Wilson. These letters even include a letter from 21st Century Fox Movies concerning the creation of a movie based on her book. Another interesting set of documents are the letters between Frances Wright Saunders and William Dearing Hoyt, II, a descendant of Ellen Wilson, who gives interesting insight into the family’s history.

The collection mostly focuses on Ellen Wilson’s life, history, and genealogy, and contains records of documents between Ms. Saunders and various correspondents. Most of the collection is composed of reproductions, and the fourth box consists almost entirely of reproductions from the Ray Stannard Baker collection found in the Library of Congress.

This collection offers a wide array of historical information concerning President Wilson and Mrs. Wilson’s public and private life. The majority of the collection focuses on Mrs. Wilson and her family.


Saunders, Francis Wright.pdf


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library staff, “Frances Wright Saunders Collection Finding Aid,” 1850-1940; 1970-1990, FA000259, Frances Wright Saunders Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.

Archival Finding Aid