President Woodrow Wilson: Lonely in the White House

August 13, 1915

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President Woodrow Wilson: Lonely in the White House
Typed Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 128

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      Background

      Until America entered the War, President Wilson worked four hours a day, slept nine hours a night, played golf regularly and motored, at 22 miles per hour, as often as possible.  Still, with his first wife dead and his second not yet moved in - they dated, secretly and passionately, from March to October 1915 - and with two of his beloved girls married, the White House was often lonely for the president.  In this marvelous letter, typed by him, Wilson writes about his work routine, his love for his daughters - still up in New Hampshire - and his sense that the White House is the most "empty and forlorn" house imaginable. It is signed "Father."
       
      Of special note is Wilson’s reference to playing golf (“to reassure the country”) with his personal physician, Dr. Cary Grayson. Wilson played more golf, less proficiently, than any other president.


      Typed Letter Signed, as president, 1 page, octavo, The White House, Washington, but on the letterhead of “The President’s Cottage, Cornish, New Hampshire," August 13, 1915. To “My darling Daughter” – seemingly Jesse Woodrow Sayer or Margaret Wilson.
       
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      Washington, 13 August, 1915.

      THE PRESIDENT'S COTTAGE
      CORNISH, NEW HAMPSHIRE

      My darling Daughter,

      It is hard for me to catch my breath for about twenty-four hours after reaching this place.  Business and everything else that can engross me seems fairly to rush at me.  But at last my desk is cleared and I begin to look about me.

      The trip down was very hot indeed but we came through all right, and I am very well, and doing my work easily.  One could hardly imagine a more empty and forlorn house than this, but I did not expect anything else, and must take my solace from thinking about the precious ones I left behind me at Cornish, - the sweetest daughters any one ever had, and the most loving and lovable, - bless them!

      I found that nothing had gone wrong because of my absence (they get along shockingly well without me!).  The doctor and I played golf yesterday, to reassure the country; and all goes well. Dearest love to all.

      Your devoted

      Father