There was probably a light snowfall on the evening of December 28, 1856 in Staunton, Virginia.  The surrounding mountains would have been obscured by the falling snow, and would have silenced footfalls, horses’ hooves, and the turning carriage wheels.  Doctor James Waddell’s horse and buggy would have been silhouetted before the red brick Presbyterian Manse on the corner of Frederick and Coalter Streets.  As the bell in the tower of Staunton’s First Presbyterian Church began to toll its midnight hour, the pacing father in the hall would have heard the cries of pain cease, and the cries of life begin before going in to see his wife and newly born son.  We do know that it was then that Joseph Ruggles Wilson went to his study and recorded in the Wilson family Bible, the birth of Thomas Woodrow Wilson at “12 ¾ o’clock.”

To commemorate this special day The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum will hold a birthday celebration Saturday, December 28th from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm to honor our 28th President.  Guests will be able to tour the Presbyterian Manse where Woodrow Wilson was born, discover the life and legacy of our 28th President at the adjacent Museum, and stroll through the lovely historic gardens.  Members of the Pierce-Arrow Committee will be on hand to provide unique information about President Wilson’s 1919 Pierce-Arrow presidential limousine.  Guests with children will enjoy visiting the museum’s education parlor where the kids can create their very own Victorian Craft.   Light refreshments, including hot mulled cider, will be served in the President’s Shop where guests can shop for distinctive gifts at a savings of 20% off the regular price.  Additionally, visitors can join the League of Friends and support the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and its mission at a discounted rate of 20% on the 28th, and enjoy free admission and a 15% discount at the President’s Shop for a year.  The special event admission price for Woodrow Wilson’s Birthday Celebration is only $2.00 per guest while children five and under will be admitted free.

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library is open daily March 1 through December 31 and Thursday through Monday in January and February for visitors from around the world.  The Presidential Library also sponsors educational programming for thousands of schoolchildren each year and hosts a variety of other educational symposia and boasts a large collection of Wilson and Wilson-era documents, many of which can be accessed on the on-line digital archive, the Wilson e-library at www.woodrowwilson.org.  Anyone interested in more information about the Wilson Birthday Celebration should contact Bob Robinson at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum at (540) 885-0897, ext. 102, or rrobinson@woodrowwilson.org.

Below are links to television and newspaper stories about the event:

Click here for a television story by WHSV TV3.
Click here for a television story by NBC29.
Click here for an article by the News Leader.
Click here for an article by the Richmond Times Dispatch
 

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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