TAUNTON, VIRGINIA— The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum today announced that University of Virginia Professor Edward G. Lengel, a noted military historian, will be the 2010 Annual Luncheon Speaker on Friday, November 12, at 11:30 a.m. at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center in Staunton. Dr. Lengel will discuss World War I, including the Presidential Library’s recent tour of World War I battlefields in France. The luncheon is sponsored by Bankers Insurance and the law firm of Wharton, Aldhizer and Weaver.

This year’s luncheon marks the 50th anniversary of the Foundation’s first Annual Luncheon, at which President Dwight E. Eisenhower spoke. The luncheon program was started by Emily Pancake Smith, a founding Trustee and long-time President of the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation. Mrs. Lee Cochran, a friend and colleague of Mrs. Smith, will offer a tribute to her at this year’s luncheon. In addition, the Ovation Singers will perform several World War I songs.

A noted military historian and Editor of the Papers of President George Washington at the University of Virginia, Dr. Lengel is the author of To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne 1918, an award-winning book on the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the last battle of World War I. This battle involved 1.2 million American soldiers and still stands as the nation’s largest battle. The book won a major award from the Western Front Association, a group that sponsors interest in the war that shaped 20th-century America. Dr. Lengel has authored several other books, including General George Washington: A Military Life, which was a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize. He has made frequent appearances on television documentaries.

Dr. Lengel’s talk and the recent tour of World War I battlefields in France are the latest in a series of initiatives launched by the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library to build recognition of the central role of the 28th President in the Great War. With the one-hundredth anniversary of the conflict rapidly approaching, the Presidential Library is building relationships with a number of national and international groups, including the government of the French Department of the Meuse and other World War I groups and museums.

Individual tickets to the event are $40.00 for members of the WWPL’s League of Friends and $50.00 for non-members. Those interested in attending or with questions about the event should contact Robin von Seldeneck, Administrative Officer, at rvonseldeneck@woodrowwilson.org at (540) 885-0897, ext. 114.

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