Sayre Family Collection Finding Aid


Sayre Family Collection Finding Aid


Danna Faulds
Tiffane Jensen
Wilson Sayre








Series in Collection:

Series 1: Francis Bowes Sayre
Series 2: Jessie Wilson Sayre
Series 3: Francis and Jessie’s Wedding
Series 4: Sayre Children (FBS Jr., Eleanor, Woodrow)
Series 5: Woodrow Wilson Material

Series 6. Francis Bowes Sayre
Series 7. Jessie Wilson Sayre
Series 8. Francis and Jessie Sayre’s Wedding
Series 9. Sayre Children
Series 10. Woodrow Wilson and Ellen Axson Wilson
Series 11. Miscellaneous

Moved to museum collection

Biography or History

Francis B. Sayre, Sr., the husband of Woodrow Wilson’s second daughter, Jessie, was born on 30 April 1885 in South Bethlehem, Pennsylvannia. He graduated from Williams College in 1909 and earned a law degree from Harvard University in 1912. Frank Sayre married Jessie Wilson on 25 November 1913 in the East Room of the White House. The Sayres had three children, Francis B. Sayre, Jr., Eleanor Axson Sayre, and Woodrow Wilson Sayre. An expert in criminal and international law, Sayre took a job as professor at Harvard Law School in 1917, and was appointed special envoy to the King of Siam in 1923. After his wife’s death in 1933, he held several positions in academia and the foreign service. Frank Sayre died in Washington, D.C., on 3 March 1972.


Manuscript inventory file lists location from initial boxes.

Other Descriptive Data

Frances Sayre left instructions that the personal letters between Jessie Sayre Wilson and her husband were to be destroyed. After some discussion with Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Sayre family decided to save them for the time being with the donated collection and restrict access to the correspondence.

The initial loan agreement with WWPL has never been updated in any way to show that other material is available for researchers. So, all access to the collection is still limited to only those who have obtained permission from Thomas Sayre, the grandson of Francis and Jessie Sayre.

Scope and Content

Manuscript Collection Scope and Content Notes
The manuscript portion of the Sayre Collection is divided into 5 series containing the personal papers of Francis Bowes Sayre, Jessie Wilson Sayre, papers from the three Sayre children, material from Francis and Jessie Sayre’s wedding, and papers directly related to Woodrow Wilson.

Series 1: Francis Bowes Sayre. The largest series in the collection contains personal and professional correspondence, articles and speeches given by FBS, diaries, material from trips made with Wilfred Grenfell in Labrador and Newfoundland, papers from FBS’s time in Siam, mementoes and writings from WWI, photographs, and material relating to various Sayre family members including Blanche Nevin, Robert Heysham Sayre, Martha Nevin Sayre, etc.

Series 2: Jessie Wilson Sayre. Contains correspondence, diaries, newspaper clippings, speeches, and articles written by JWS.

Series 3: Francis and Jessie’s Wedding. Includes guest lists, newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks of their wedding on Nov. 25, 1913.

Series 4: Sayre Children (FBS Jr., Eleanor, Woodrow) Contains artwork, school papers, correspondence, and miscellaneous material for all three children.

Series 5: Woodrow Wilson Material. Includes correspondence from W.W. to JWS (1915-1923), campaign fliers for 1912 campaign, newspaper clippings from presidential campaign, texts of some of WW’s speeches, etc.


Sayre Collection Inventory.pdf


Danna Faulds, Tiffane Jensen, and Wilson Sayre, “Sayre Family Collection Finding Aid,” 1897-1933, FA100036, Sayre Family Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.

Archival Finding Aid