By any reasonable standard of measurement Ellen Axson Wilson was a remarkable person, especially for her time.  Begin your search to discover Woodrow Wilson’s first wife, the artist, at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum this Saturday, June 8 with the opening of a special Gallery titled “Ellen Axson Wilson; An American Impressionist”.  This extraordinary exhibit includes 20 of her finest paintings.   Ellen Wilson was a studied artist, who pursued her painting in the prevailing style of the day, impressionism, while serving as wife, mother, and as First Lady of the United States. 

The eldest of four children, the daughter and granddaughter of Presbyterian ministers, the first wife of President Woodrow Wilson, Ellen was a reform minded First Lady and an artist in the American impressionist style.  From an early age she demonstrated considerable artistic ability.  Winning a bronze medal for free hand drawing at the Paris International Exposition at age 18, Ellen seemed poised to launch a promising career as a professional artist.  Enrolling in the Arts Students League in New York, Ellen studied under leading American artists of her day.  However, I n June 1885, Ellen married Woodrow Wilson, and her art career was put on hold while she immersed herself in establishing a home and raising a family.  Over time, Ellen found herself gradually drawn back into the art world.  She began spending her summers under the nurturing eye of Florence Griswold at an artist colony in Old Lyme Connecticut, and by March 1913, shortly before Woodrow Wilson’s first inauguration as President, and after several artistic successes, Ellen opened a one woman show of 50 of her landscapes in Philadelphia, PA.  Even as First Lady she continued to paint, having a studio installed on the third floor of the White House.  However, in the spring of 1914 Ellen was diagnosed with Bright’s disease a chronic ailment of the kidneys.  Ellen Wilson died in the White House on August 6, 1914.

Ellen Wilson was a precedent setting First Lady.  There was of course, her art.  In addition, to that she used her influence in humanitarian causes, a model followed by her successors ever since.  She pushed for improved working conditions for women and was deeply involved in trying to eradicate the segregated alley slums of Washington D.C.  She advocated education for women and used the proceeds from her paintings to establish a scholarship at the Berry Schools in Rome Georgia, for under privileged children.  For more information on The Ellen Axson Wilson Gallery contact Andrew Philips, Curator, The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum at 540-885-0897 or e-mail at aphillips@woodrowwilson.org.

 

http://augustafreepress.com/ellen-axson-wilson-an-american-impressionist/

 

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Wilson was president throughout World War I. He attempted to keep America out of the war and even won reelection with the slogan "He kept us out of war." Nonetheless, after the sinking of the Lusitania, continued run-ins with German submarines, and the release of the Zimmerman Telegram, America became involved. with the Lusitania, the continued harassment of American ships by German submarines, and the release of the Zimmerman Telegram meant that America joined the allies in April, 1917.

Woodrow Wilson was President when the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 giving women the right to vote.

Wilson piloted the ship that brought America onto the world stage. He made the first steps of leading us out of isolationism, violating Washington's tenet of avoiding foreign entanglements.

He led America during World War I. His fervent hope was for the US to join a League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "Life does not consist in thinking, it consists in acting."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "The Constitution was not made to fit us like a straitjacket. In its elasticity lies its chief greatness."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "I believe in democracy because it releases the energies of every human being."

The Seventeenth Amendment was formally adopted on May 31, 1913. Wilson had been president for almost three months at the time. The amendment provided for the direct election of senators. Prior to its adoption, Senators were chosen by state legislatures.

Wilson was the first president to receive a PhD which he got in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. He had received his undergraduate degree from the College of New Jersey, renamed Princeton University in 1896.

Woodrow Wilson could not read during the first decade of his life. Though undiagnosed, he may have suffered from a learning disability

Woodrow Wilson was known as "Tommy" until his college years.

Woodrow Wilson during his boyhood, helped establish the "Lightfoot Baseball Club" with his friends. Wilson played second base and was an avid sport fan throughout his adult life.

Woodrow Wilson was the first president to attend the Major League Baseball Fall Classic. He saw the debut of a young 20 year old pitcher by the name of George Herman "Babe" Ruth.

Woodrow Wilson was a graduate of Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University and the only president to hold an earned doctoral degree.

Woodrow Wilson image is on the $100,000 bill although it is no longer in circulation