STAUNTON, VIRGINIA—The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library today announced that University of Virginia Professor Edward G. Lengel, a noted military historian, will be the keynote speaker at its Fourth Annual Wilson First Families Reunion.  The talk will be on Saturday, May 9th, at 10:00 a.m. in the new Library and Research Center at the Presidential Library.  Dr. Lengel will discuss his recent book, To Conquer Hell:  The Meuse-Argonne, 1918, about an epic World War I battle.  The Library and Research Center is located at 235 East Beverley Street, next door to the Dolores Lescure Center, which houses the Woodrow Wilson Museum.  The event is free and open to the public.

Eric J. Vettel, Executive Director of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, said “The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library is honored to host Dr. Edward Lengel as a part of our fourth annual First Families Reunion.  He will shed light on this fascinating World War I battle.”

Dr. Lengel is Associate Editor of the George Washington Papers Project at the University of Virginia.  He has authored several other books in addition to To Conquer Hell, including General George Washington:  A Military Life.  Dr. Lengel is a co-recipient of the National Humanities Medal and was a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize.  He has made frequent appearances on television documentaries. 

The First Families Reunion will begin on Thursday, May 7, and end on May 9 after Dr. Lengel’s talk.  During the three-day event, participants will also discuss genealogy, view Wilsonian “Treasures in the Attic” on Friday morning from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., attend Friday’s WWPL Spring Speaker Series event with Newsweek and Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson, and attend a reception with live Wilson-era music on Friday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the WWPL. 

Those interested in more information about Dr. Lengel’s talk or the family reunion should contact Barbara Wimble, Manager of Visitor Services at the Presidential Library, at (540) 885-0897, ext. 106, or by email at           

Those interested in purchasing a ticket to the Robert Samuelson talk on Friday, May 8, at 11:30 a.m., should contact Karen McGrath, Director of the Annual Fund and Special Events, at (540) 885-0897, ext. 112, or by email at

did you know?

Wilson was president throughout World War I. He sought a neutral position for the United States and even won reelection with the slogan “He kept us out of war.” Nonetheless, actions by the Central Powers (notably Germany) threatened this neutrality. Following years of attacks on American shipping and citizens on the high seas, particularly the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, public opinion began to turn. The final straw came with the release of the Zimmerman Telegram, forcing the United States to declare war on the Central Powers in April of 1917, joining the war on the side of the UK, Russia, and France.

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