Who was Ellen Axson Wilson, the first wife of Woodrow Wilson? Called Elly-Lou by friends and family we know she was 5’3” tall, with dark reddish brown hair, often piled high in a pompadour style, away from her face. She had brown eyes and soft feminine features. She was born in Savannah Georgia on May 16, 1860, the oldest of four children, and the daughter and grand-daughter of Presbyterian ministers. We also know she was the mother of three girls, the wife of the 28th President of the United States, and that she died early in his first term on August 6, 1914 at age 54 years. Interested in learning more? Join us at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Sunday August 11, 2013 from 1:30-3:30 pm to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Ellen Axson Wilson. Artifacts, clothing, letters all from Ellen’s life and never before exhibited to the public, will be on display. A wonderful opportunity to get a first-hand look at American History while supporting the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library.
Ellen had but a year and five months in the White House and her memory is overshadowed by the second Mrs. Wilson. This is unfortunate, because Ellen made her own contributions while First Lady. Her gentle manner and soft southern drawl made the staff call her the “Angel of the White House.” She held over 41 receptions averaging 600 guests in her first Spring at the White House, and still found time to redecorate the family quarters. She oversaw the creation of the Rose Garden, but perhaps her greatest contribution lies in her campaign for the passing of a bill that would destroy the slums and create better housing for Washington D.C.’s poor (The Ally Dwelling Bill). Interested in working conditions for women in the Post Office, Ellen also championed child labor laws, enforcement of school attendance laws, and the use of schools as recreation centers. Woodrow Wilson absolutely depended on Ellen. She was his constant counselor and advisor, the perfect political wife both frank and honest.
Ellen Axson Wilson gloried in the achievements of her husband, but also of women and saw the 20th Century as the woman’s century. Devoted to Woodrow and his career, Ellen was a wife with interests, opinions, and even a career of her own. Her time in the White House was short, but she greatly expanded the role of the First Lady. The cost for this program is $5.00 for League of Friends Members and $10.00 for non-members. For questions or reservations call (540) 885-0897, x113 or email firstname.lastname@example.org