Exciting News!



The Library of Congress has finished scanning the microfilm of their material from the Wilson administration, and has now made it available online at the Woodrow Wilson Papers. You can now search through the records of the 280,000 documents relating to the Woodrow Wilson to find things by LC Subject Headings. So that means that means if you want to look up Herbert Hoover, you can find over one thousand documents related to him in the Wilson collection. Many topics have not been covered by subject headings, though, so most researchers will still want to use the index or the finding aid online. It is just that now you won’t have to track down the microfilm to find what you are looking for. You can get it right on your computer immediately.

This comes just as the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library has posted a new round of transcripts to our World War I Letters to mark the hundred year anniversary of American involvement in the Great War. Most of these items come from those microfilm reels at the Library of Congress, so take a look at the sort of things we will be doing with this material in the coming year. Much of our work involves creating searchable transcripts and adding further metadata to make things a bit easier to find. The documents are not always easier to read, however. Check out President Wilson’s letter to Arthur Brisbane at LoC and at the Wilson Library sites to compare some ways that the documents are presented differently.

This is a rich time to be researching President Wilson. In addition to the Wilson Papers at the Library of Congress and our recent digitization of the Cary T. Grayson Papers, Rotunda Press, with the support of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, has also made the published version of the Papers of Woodrow Wilson Digital Edition available and completely searchable online for anyone at an institution with a subscription. That includes us here at the Wilson Library! We better get to work!


John Peter Ambuehl


John P. Ambuehl was killed in action in France in October 1918. Raised in Borup, Minnesota, Jack served as a machine gunner with the army. He was stationed at training camps in Indiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Long Island during the fall and winter of 1917-1918, and his many photographs capture his time there. The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library recently finished processing the John P. Ambuehl Collection and has made the material available online. This collection includes the army notifications to his family concerning Jack’s death, as well as letter from a comrade describing how Jack was treated after his injury.






The pictures taken from an old photo album, with “Our Boys in Khaki” on the cover, make up some of the most interesting material from his collection.











They show images of soldiers in training, on leave, and passing the time in camp.


An avid photographer, Ambuehl often took pictures of soldiers and then sold them as a way to make money.


Included in the photo album were some pictures by William Ambuehl, his brother. Bill saw action when he served with the AEF in France and survived the war.


Check out the many treasures in the John P. Ambuehl Collection.



The Virginian

Wilson was still an infant, “very plump and fat and remarkably quiet,” when his father, Joseph Ruggles Wilson, moved the family south from Staunton, Virginia to Augusta, Georgia in late 1857.  He spent his boyhood in Georgia, and in Columbia, South Carolina, coming of age eventually in Wilmington, North Carolina.  How then, did Staunton become home to Wilson’s Presidential Library? Continue reading

Is This Wilson?

Spiritualism drew a lot of attention from Americans in the decades between the Civil War and the Great Depression. Scientists, celebrities, and presidents all debated communication with spirits and many of them, like everyone else, visited mediums. In elaborate seances, people got the chance to talk to the departed dead. Some of the messages could be heartrending. Others had advise from historical figures. And many of the voices of the dead were just spooky. Continue reading