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  Ellen Wilson

by John T. Marck

First Lady: 1915 to 1921

Second Wife of President Woodrow Wilson

Born: October 15, 1872 Died: December 28, 1961

President Wilson, after the death of his wife Ellen, took another wife, Edith.

Edith Wilson, was born Edith Bollingin Wytheville, Virginia, the daughter of William Holcombe and Sallie White Bolling. Her father left their plantation after the Civil War and moved to a town where he became a successful lawyer and circuit court judge. Edith was taught at home, then attended a finishing school. After completing school she visited her sister in Washington, D.C., when she met Norman Galt. They were married in 1886. Norman was a Washington jeweler, who died in 1907, leaving the business to Edith, which she sold some years later. Edith was often a guest at the White House as well as the Presidential yacht. On December 18, 1915, Edith and Woodrow were married. Upon entering the White House, the times were not to be festive as the United states entered World War I in 1917. Edith devoted her time to war related work, assisting her husband with the many problems. After the war, Edith and Woodrow went on a tour of Europe, being welcomed by the many mobbing, adoring crowds.

They then returned to the White House. While in Washington, Woodrow suffered a stroke, which paralyzed the left side of his body. Because of this, Edith became his unofficial chief of staff, deciding what problems should go to her husband.

After the Presidency, they retired to their home, where Woodrow lived another three years. Edith survived her husband by many years, dying on December 28, 1961.

Copyright 1990-2022 by John T. Marck. All Rights Reserved. This article and their accompanying pictures, photographs, and line art, may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author. From The First Ladies of the United States by John T. Marck.