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Ellen Wilson
Edith Wilsont

Front of the Ellen Wilson gold coin with her portrait.

Ellen Louise Axson Wilson served as first lady from 1913 to 1914.  Born on May 15, 1860, in Savannah, Georgia, her father was a Presbyterian minister.

Mrs. Wilson met her future husband when she was just an infant and he was six years old.  Woodrow Wilson's father was also a Presbyterian minister.  Ellen and Woodrow met again in 1883 when he was a lawyer in Atlanta, and they married two years later.

Woodrow Wilson and his wife arrived at the White House in 1913.  Mrs. Wilson then installed her own art studio there.  She was an accomplished artist who sketched and painted landscapes and portraits.  Her artwork was displayed in shows even while she was first lady.

Mrs. Wilson supported various causes such as improving slums in Washington.  She worked to see that laws against child labor were created and that education projects in Appalachia were begun.  She died in 1914 of Bright's Disease (a kidney disease) after not quite a year and a half as first lady.

Design on Reverse

Back of the Ellen Wilson gold coin

Ellen Wilson is probably best known for setting up the famous rose garden at the White House.  The garden was her idea and she played a big part in overseeing its creation.

The image shows some roses growing near the White House.  This image honors Mrs. Wilson's creation of the White House Rose Garden.

 


Front of the Edith Wilson gold coin with her portrait.

Edith Bolling Galt Wilson was born in Wytheville, Virginia, on October 15, 1872.  At 15, she went to Martha Washington College to study music and later to a smaller school in Richmond.

In 1896, she married her first husband, Norman Galt, who died unexpectedly in 1908.  Through friends, she met President Woodrow Wilson and they married on December 18, 1915.

She has been described as America's first woman president because of the important role she played after her husband's stroke in 1919.

After they left the White House in 1921, President and Mrs. Wilson lived in Washington, where he died in 1924.  She died there nearly 40 years later on the anniversary of her husband's birthday: December 28, 1961.

Design on Reverse

Back of the Edith Wilson gold coin

Doctors urged Edith Wilson to keep as much of the daily White House business from her husband as possible, which she did.  She chose which visitors the president saw and what papers he reviewed.  But she stated in her memoirs that she never made any major decisions on his behalf.

The design symbolizes Mrs. Wilson's support for her husband after his stroke.  His right hand holds a cane, while her left hand rests warmly on his.


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