Woodrow Wilson to Mary Allen Hulbert Peck


Woodrow Wilson to Mary Allen Hulbert Peck


Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924




1914 January 9


Woodrow Wilson replies to Mary Allen Hulbert Peck, expresses optimism for her restored health, and writes about his return to Washington after the Christmas holidays.


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


Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924--Correspondence


Dearest Friend

I cant tell you how welcome your delightful letter of the second was. I really did not expect a letter from you written on my birthday or on New Years Day, but I did dearly desire a letter from you on some day, any would suit me! I say I did not expect one prompted by any particular day, because that, somehow, is out of the spirit of our treasured friendship, whose essence is that it does not wait for or observe conventional spurs or promptings, but follows its own natural, spontaneous way, the letters coming and going as the mood and the circumstances suggest. They are like conversation between friends who are much together: the silences and the speech come, not because they are expected but when they will and because they must; and the silence is as companionable as the speech. The latter is not quite so true as between friends who cannot actually share each others companionship as the other part is true; but in the main all of my little reflection is true. And yet how wholly delightful it is when the spontaneous speech comes! In this case the old saying is reversed: speech is golden, silence silver. And in this case there is something especially golden about this letter of yours that has just come. I seem, in it, to get back more of the dear friend I found in Bermuda than I have enjoyed in a long time. That little apartment in Boston, the old city with a dignity and a character all its own, and a long and handsome tradition of human life; the people in it; your direct and natural contact with them; your intimate associations with your boy in a little family of two, joined by love and mutual thoughtfulness, all seem to be uniting to restore you to your old thoughts, your old vision of the meaning that is in things, your old whimsical humour and attitude of comradeship towards the world; and you are once more the bright, incalculable, and yet always true and steadfast and tender hearted, creature whom it enriches one to know, as entertaining as you are capable, above all else capable of sympathy and quick comprehension and loyalty. I am sorry Allen was away so long and left you to feel lonely again, but I cannot help being glad that you could not go to New York. New York makes you restless and is of a sort to make any one restless and out of sorts, with a kind of unwholesome excitement, unless they are steadied by daily work and the absorption of human duties owed to others. In Boston you are finding yourself. Moreover you are at last getting medical advice. Hurrah for Allen! I am glad there is some one who can make you do what you will not do at the entreaty of friends. Now, if you will heed and follow the advice you get, and do what the doctors tell you to do, you will come back into all your old radiant vitality, and make everybody who loves you or even so much as comes in contact with you just so much the happier, just so much the more thrilled with the delightful stimulation that comes from you in such extraordinary ways and with generous largess to all who have the good fortune to have your notice and a little gleam of your real attention. Is it not your duty to live to the full for those who are your devoted friends?

As for ourselves, we are all right. I have been greatly rested and refreshed by my stay here. I have got just the quiet and rest and play I craved and needed, and am feeling fit again in every fibre. I cannot say that I am eager to get back to Washington. Frankly I do not like the place, and would rather do my work somewhere else, in another atmosphere. But I am ready and impatient to get back to work, and Washington is the only place where it can be done. Back we start, on Sunday evening, the eleventh, expecting to be in W. by the morning of the thirteenth. That evening we have the diplomatic reception (some three thousand guests invited) and on three other evenings of that week we are to give or attend dinners. The Season is on. None of us relishes these things in the least, but for the next two months we must make believe that we delight in them, and do the honours of the White House with the best grace we know how.
This is not a letter such as yours: I wish I knew how to write one! Yours was a real genuine pouring out of the varied contents of one of the most interesting minds in the world: and a pouring out to a trusted friend with whom there was no calculating of the impression to be made. This is just plain letter. But I venture to assert, madam, that it is as full of affection and of feeling for the recipient as yours was, in its generous giving of what your friend wanted.

All join in the most affectionate messages.

Your devoted friend,
Woodrow Wilson

Original Format



Hulbert, Mary Allen, 1862-1939





Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924, “Woodrow Wilson to Mary Allen Hulbert Peck,” 1914 January 9, WWP18273, First Year Wilson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.