Wilson’s Wives – Ellen and Edith Wilson, King of Diamonds
1999, oil and acrylic on canvas, 70 x 56”
Woodrow Wilson had two wives during his two terms as President. The first was Ellen, seen here as a head, cut out and tumbled to the floor. Ellen enjoyed the White House weddings of two of her three daughters. She died of Bright’s disease in the White House in 1914. Woodrow was so distraught, he told his aide he wished to be assassinated; but Woodrow had other concerns to occupy himself with: five days before Ellen’s death, World War I had begun in Europe.
By the end of 1915, Woodrow was remarried to Edith Galt, a 43-year-old widow and relative of Pocahontas. There were rumors that perhaps Woodrow and his fiery, rambunctious widow had murdered poor forgotten Ellen. Eventually, Edith won over America’s fickle heart. When Woodrow suffered a stroke in 1919, Edith screened all state matters and decided which ones to bring to the President’s attention — many consider her our first de-facto woman President.