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Lot 145: Edith Wilson ALS & Free Frank Mentioning the "Wonderful Tribute to Mr. Wilson"
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
26 October 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: “A wonderful tribute to Mr. Wilson” ********** WILSON, EDITH B. (1872-1961). First Lady of the United States from 1915 to 1921. ALS. (“E.B.W.”), with a free franked envelope (“Edith Bolling Wilson”). 2pp. 12mo. Washington, D.C., January 15, 1940. Written on a delicate blue notecard with her silver-embossed initials. To Virginia high school teacher and author WILLOUGHBY READE (1865-1952). ********** “Thank you so much for your note and the editorial from the ‘Citizen’ – It is a wonderful tribute to Mr. Wilson – and it is like you to take the trouble to send it to me. I am also glad to know you had such a happy Christmas and hope this new year will bring all of you its best possible gifts – and peace to this tired old world. Randolph will put the editorial in the scrap books he has kept for me since 1915. Sometime you must see them – for they are really works of art and a monument to his patience and care. Love to you and Mrs. Reade…”********** Wilson’s first wife, Ellen Axson, died on August 6, 1914, just days before the outbreak of war in Europe, and although “his wife’s death had shattered [his] private world... the President knew that the public universe with which he was familiar, the stage on which hitherto his part was played, had been shattered, too,” (Woodrow Wilson: A Biography, Heckscher). By December, however, his spirits had somewhat lightened, an improvement hastened when, in February, he met Edith Bolling Galt, a descendant of first lady Martha Washington, whom he married on December 18, 1915. ********** Edith Wilson is perhaps best remembered for practically running the executive branch after Wilson’s debilitating stroke in October 1919. She screened all matters requiring her husband’s attention and decided which ones he needed to know about and which could be delegated to others. She nursed the former president during his last years and preserved his legacy after his death, donating his papers and, later, their Washington home, now a museum operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A staunch Democrat, she headed the newly founded Women’s National Democratic Club in 1924 and was even considered for a vice presidential run. She accompanied Franklin Roosevelt in 1941 when he asked Congress to declare war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and attended the 1961 inauguration of John F. Kennedy. ********** Reade taught English at Alexandria’s prestigious Episcopal High School for 53 years and is remembered as the author of several books, including England and the Continent, The Epic of King Arthur and a collection of stories set in Virginia, When Hearts Were True. He is also notable for helping his wife operate “The Meadows” in Abingdon, Virginia, the first girl’s camp in the United States, later known as Camp Glenrochie, which operated from 1901 to 1951, and now the site of Glenrochie Country Club. ********** Our charming letter, is darkly written with one diagonally crease and near fine. Accompanied by a free-franked envelope.