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Washington 1915

May 2, 2018

For two years in a row Ellen Axson Wilson encouraged her husband to take a winter vacation in Bermuda even though she would not be accompanying him.  On both occasions Mr. Wilson spent a lot of time with Mary Peck, someone he considered to be a good friend and confidante.  He also visited with Mark Twain and other notables who were friends of Mrs. Peck.  Wilson was something of a notable himself.  He had been President of Princeton University since 1902 and had authored many books on government and politics.

In 1910 Woodrow Wilson returned to Bermuda.  Once again Mrs. Wilson did not accompany him.  She was visiting Mary Peck in her New York residence.  Mrs. Peck had been separated from her husband for a couple years.  Some scholars believe her relationship with Mr. Wilson had crossed the limits of propriety by this time.  However, Mrs. Wilson exonerated her husband when she said that although her husband’s fondness for Mrs. Peck had been a source of unhappiness for her, there was nothing “wrong or improper” about it.

By 1912 the Pecks were divorced and Woodrow Wilson was running for President.  The former Mrs. Peck reclaimed her maiden name and the name of her late first husband, styling herself Mary Allen Hulbert.  By the mid-term elections Mrs. Wilson had died, but the President did not pursue courtship with the former Mrs. Peck.  After several months of loneliness, he was introduced to the widow of a prominent Washington jeweler.  They were married in December 1915.

Earlier that year, when the President and the future Mrs. Wilson had known each only a few weeks, Mary Hulbert came to the White House seeking a favor.

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