Blogs > Gil Troy > Sorry Hillary, America Already Had Its First Female President

Feb 14, 2016

Sorry Hillary, America Already Had Its First Female President

The New Hampshire primary showed that even many Democrats in this year of anti-establishment politics reject Hillary Clinton’s claim that “being the first woman president would be quite a change from the presidents we've had up until this point.” Historically savvy opponents could add that, even if she wins, Hillary Clinton would not be the first person widely referred to in Washington as “Mrs. President.”  Edith Wilson earned that distinction – although it was often said derisively. The First Lady emerged as America’s most powerful person when Woodrow Wilson suffered a series of devastating strokes in 1919.

Edith and Woodrow Wilson were an exceptionally close presidential couple – still enjoying their marriage’s honeymoon phase. Wilson’s beloved first wife, Ellen, had died of kidney trouble in 1914. The stylish, ambitious widow to a jewelry fortune, Edith Bolling Galt, soon met the bereaved president, while visiting Woodrow’s cousin, Helen Woodrow Bones, in the White House.

In her memoirs, Edith Wilson, depicting herself as Woodrow’s savior, recalls Helen describing a sad, lonely president trudging through his work. Edith claims she and Helen bumped into the president on the way to tea. Showing she was ready for that orchestrated “accident,” Edith would write coquettishly: “I would have been less feminine than I must confess to be, had I not been secretly glad that I had worn a smart black tailored suit which [the haute couture House of Worth had made for me in Paris, and a tricot hat which I thought completed a very good-looking ensemble."

Read the entire article at The Daily Beast .

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