September 30, 2003

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Note: Woodrow Wilson had two wives...normally I would post about both, but I am splitting them up. Edith Wilson will get her turn tomorrow.

Ellen Wilson.

Ellen always went without the "finer things" for herself in an effort to economize. This allowed her husband to buy books, their children to study art and music, and for the family to entertain as necessary. She did this gladly, choosing to spend money on things that were more important to her than new clothes or jewelry.

While Woodrow was teaching at Princeton, Ellen once told someone her clothing expenses were only about forty dollars a year. Some faculty wives made rude comments about Ellen's wardrobe not being as fashionable as they deemed appropriate. One wife supposedly remarked with venom, "Mrs. Wilson, every fall you look sweeter in that brown dress."

After Woodrow was nominated for President in 1912, a female reporter demanded to know why Ellen never wore jewels. "Have you some sort of moral prejudice against jewelry, Mrs. Wilson?" Ellen tried to put off the nosy reporter, but the woman persisted.

Ellen finally responded, "I have no prejudice against (jewelry); we just haven't any."

Ellen seems to have been a sweet, unassuming woman. She died in August, 1914, with Woodrow holding her hand.

Posted by Jennifer at September 30, 2003 04:55 AM