Birth of a Nation

On February 18, 1915 Woodrow Wilson, his daughters, his cabinet and their wives gathered in the East Room of the White House for the first ever showing of a motion picture in the executive mansion. Continue reading


Presidential Health and Protection

Dr. Cary T. Grayson, Woodrow Wilson’s physician and friend, believed that outdoor exercise was a key to keeping the President healthy. Among the thousands of documents generously donated to the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library by the Grayson family in 2005 are two letters that highlight the tension that existed between Grayson’s desire for the President to get adequate physical exercise and the need to keep him safe. Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

Woodrow Wilson gives a few words at Mary Baldwin College during his birthday visit in 1912.

After being elected President, Woodrow Wilson returned to his birthplace of Staunton on December 28, 1912. His decision to return home caused excitement throughout the town. The town’s people dedicated themselves to making sure that Wilson’s trip back to the place of his birth would be memorable. One of the highlights of the trip would be his birthday dinner in honor of the 56th anniversary of his birth. The dinner was held at the Staunton Military Academy, which is now part of Mary Baldwin College, on the night of his birthday. The library holds two copies of the menu and the food that was served at this historic event. Continue reading

Staunton’s Son Comes Home

Woodrow and Ellen Wilson arrive at the Staunton, Virginia train depot. Courtesy of WWPL

Once Woodrow Wilson was elected president in 1912, numerous cities and towns in the United States wanted to meet him. Having received countless offers, he found that there was one town he had to make the journey to: his birthplace of Staunton, VA.  As a result of the decision, the town anticipated and celebrated his arrival. The town became fully decorated and a number of events were planned for Wilson and his guests. In our library, we have a copy of the official program of events that were created by the Authority Central Committee. Continue reading

A Family – and now Historical – Record

History has documented Woodrow Wilson’s birth as being December 28, 1856 in Staunton, VA. It’s the reason our museum and library are located in the area, but have you ever wondered how we knew that Wilson was in fact born here? If you need some the proof, it’s housed in our library in the form of the Wilson Family Bible.

Bible 1 - Copy
Given by descendants of Joseph Ruggles and Jessie Woodrow Wilson, this family Bible is now part of the WWPL archival collection.

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