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Two Weddings and a Funeral

January 21, 2014

Woodrow Wilson was elected President in 1912.  The following year his daughter Jessie was married to Francis B. Sayre of Williams College.  Daughter Eleanor married Treasury Secretary William G. McAdoo the year after that.

Eleanor’s wedding was one of the last times First Lady Ellen Wilson appeared in public.  She died from natural causes less than one week after the start of World War I.

The President was devastated.  As President of Princeton University, Governor of New Jersey, and now President of the United States he was all business, but Wilson had been deeply in love with Ellen as revealed by the 1962 publication of his love letters during their courtship.

Wilson was at Ellen’s bedside when she died.  He released her hand, got up, stared out the window, and exclaimed, “Oh my God, what am I to do?”

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