Wilson, Edith B.

1956 ALS to “Cousin Jane”, 2nd wife of Vice President Alben Barkley, sends thanks for a birthday orchid “in memory of Mr. Wilson”

Price: $225.00

Description:
(1872-1961) 2nd wife of Woodrow Wilson (m. 1915), First Lady 1915-21. She has been labeled "the Secret President" and "the first woman to run the government" for the role she played when her husband suffered prolonged and disabling illness after his October 1919 stroke. She took over many routine duties and details of government, carefully screened all matters of state and decided which were important enough to bring to the bedridden president. During WW I, Mrs. Wilson observed gasless Sundays, meatless Mondays, and wheatless Wednesdays to set an example for the federal rationing effort. Similarly, she set sheep to graze on the White House lawn rather than waste manpower in mowing it and auctioned off their wool to benefit the American Red Cross. When FDR went to Congress to declare war on Japan, he was accompanied by Mrs. Wilson to draw a symbolic link with the April 1917 declaration of war. In 1961, she attended the inaugural of President Kennedy. She died Dec. 28, 1961, Wilson's 105th birthday, the day she was to have been guest of honor at the dedication of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge across the Potomac River between Maryland & Virginia. ALS “Cousin Edith”, 2pp, 1st and 3rd pages of her 8 x 5 folded, blue-bordered “2340 S Street, N.W./Washington, D.C.” letterhead, October 15 1951, to Mrs. Alben Barkley, wife of the Vice President. She states, in part: “I am deeply touched by your and the Vice President’s thought in sendiing me this lovely orchid – and your sweet note that came with it brought tears to my eyes. Please say to your husband how gracious it is in him to mark this, my birthday, and that your thought in ‘memory of Mr. Wilson’ is a lovely one and makes me realize how very much blessed I am in finding my dear cousin Jane, for she is a perfect dear.” She hopes to visit the Barkleys and so enjoyed their visit to her. Alben Barkley’s 1st wife died in 1947. At a party thrown by Clark Clifford on the White House yacht on July 8, 1949, he met Jane (Rucker) Hadley (1911-1964), a St. Louis widow half his age, a guest of the Cliffords. On Nov. 18, 1949, they married; Barkley remains the only VP to marry while in office.

Condition: Very good, tape stain remnants at corners of 2nd page
Type:Letter






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