NW Quadrant, East of Rock Creek, Architecturally Significant, Lafayette Square, Sheridan/Kalorama, Architecturally Significant, Female, Society Hostesses, Also of Interest

Edith Bolling Galt Wilson
(October 15, 1872 - December 28, 1961)

2340 S St. NW, Kalorama neighborhood, DC. Operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Wilson is the author of an autobiography, My Memoir (1938).

She married twice, first to Norman Galt, owner of a DC jewelry store, and later to President Woodrow Wilson. Her second husband gave her full access to Oval Office meetings and decisions, including classified information.

When the US entered WWI in 1917, Wilson arranged to have sheep graze on the White House lawn and sold their wool. She also volunteered at the Red Cross canteen at Union Station, and instituted says of the week when meat, wheat, and gasoline were not used, to conserve these resources for the war effort. After the Armistice, she became the first First Lady to travel to Europe and meet with royalty and other heads of state.

When the President had a stroke in 1919, Wilson lied to Congress and the Cabinet, telling them that her husband was suffering from "temporary exhaustion." She took over many presidential duties at that time, in what she termed her "stewardship." She was First Lady from 1915 until 1921.

Her post-White House home is preserved as a museum. Wilson outlived her husband by 36 years, and was buried alongside him at Washington National Cathedral.

Architect: Waddy B. Wood. Year: 1915.
Three Palladian windows beautifully define the second story of this Georgian Revival mansion. Wilson moved to the house in 1921 and lived here until her death in 1961, and bequeathed the property and all of its original furnishings to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 1964.


The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Lafayette Square neighborhood, DC.

Architect: James Hoban (with Benjamin H. Latrobe). Year: 1803.
Built of Aquia Creek sandstone, this 130-room Neoclassical mansion was largely destroyed by arson during the War of 1812, and reconstructed in 1817. Additions include the South Portico (1824), the North Portico (1829), the West Wing (1901), and the Oval Office (1909). In 1949, the inside was completely gutted to stabilize the building with steel framing. The grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. in 1935. The mansion was named a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

Links

Woodrow Wilson House Museum

Historic photos courtesy of Library of Congress.