STAUNTON, VIRGINIA—The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum announced today a new wedding exhibit displayed in President Wilson’s Birthplace, including vintage wedding dresses and Wilson family wedding announcements. The exhibit is timed to coincide with the spring wedding season and the upcoming Wilson First Families Reunion to be held at the Presidential Library.
The display includes three vintage wedding dresses from President Wilson’s time, including one belonging to President Wilson’s niece, Alice Wilson McElroy. Mrs. McElroy’s wedding on August 7, 1918, to Presbyterian minister I. Stuart McElroy, Jr., was the last White House wedding until Luci Johnson’s wedding to Pat Nugent in 1966. The wedding was held in the Blue Room at the White House, as a security precaution at a time of war. The wedding dress belonging to President Wilson’s sister-in-law, Kate Wilson, who was Alice McElroy’s mother, is also on display. Mrs. Wilson was the bride of Joseph Ruggles Wilson, Jr., the younger brother of President Wilson. Alice Wilson McElroy donated both of these dresses to the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation in 1966, months before the Johnson/Nugent wedding. The day she presented the dresses and other items to the Foundation, Mrs. McElroy wore the wedding dress and was interviewed by CBS television for a news story on White House weddings.
The third wedding dress on display belonged to a Harrisonburg, Virginia, bride who was married on November 7, 1916, the day President Wilson was reelected President. In addition to the dresses, the exhibit includes the wedding invitations for the President’s daughter Jessie Woodrow Wilson’s White House wedding on November 25, 1913, to Francis Bowes Sayre; his daughter Eleanor Randolph Wilson’s White House wedding on May 14, 1914, to William Gibbs McAdoo, who was President Wilson’s Secretary of the Treasury; and the President’s December 18, 1915, wedding to Edith Bolling Galt. Guests can also see a reproduction of a Victorian wedding cake and read a brochure about Victorian wedding customs.
The wedding exhibit has been produced to be in time for the spring wedding season and the Fourth Annual Wilson First Families Reunion, which will be held at the Presidential Library from Thursday, May 7, through Saturday, May 9. It is also produced in time for Mothers’ Day, which President Wilson and Congress started in 1914, and on which mothers receive free admission to the Presidential Library. The exhibit will remain on display until at least June.
Those with questions about the wedding exhibit or any other part of the Presidential Library’s collections should contact Jarod Kearney, the Curator at the WWPL, at (540) 885-0897, ext. 111, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those with questions about the First Families Reunion, Mothers’ Day, and visiting the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library should contact Barbara Wimble, Manager of Visitor Services at the Presidential Library, at (540) 885-0897, ext. 106, or by email at email@example.com.