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Edith Bolling Galt Wilson

U.S. First Lady

Born: 15 October 1872
Died: 28 December 1961
Birthplace: Wytheville, Virginia
Best known as:

The second wife of President Woodrow Wilson

Name at birth: Edith Bolling

Edith Bolling Galt Wilson was the second wife of Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States. She grew up in Virginia, where her family had been settled since colonial times. In 1896 she married Norman Galt, a prosperous Washington, D.C. jeweler. He died in 1908 and Edith assumed control of the business; she found a capable manager to run things and proceeded to live the life of a well-off socialite, traveling to Europe and buzzing around Washington in an electric car. In the spring of 1915 she met the President Woodrow Wilson. His wife Ellen had died the previous August. Wilson and Edith began a romance that culminated in a December 1915 wedding. In the fall of 1919 the president suffered a stroke that left him bedridden and unable to make public appearances. Mrs. Wilson then took over "routine" presidential duties through the end of the president's term, strictly controlling his contact with cabinet members and making sure the public did not discover the extent of her husband's illness. President Wilson died three years after leaving office, and Mrs. Wilson went on to manage his legacy and write about her experiences in My Memoir (1939). She travelled extensively and maintained connections with the White House up through the inauguration of John F. Kennedy.

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