June 1, 2021 by Wendi Maloney
This story first appeared in the Library of Congress Magazine.
Above image: Woodrow Wilson, a man in love. Prints and Photographs Division.
When President Woodrow Wilson’s name comes up, romance isn’t typically the first thing that comes to mind.
Yet, late on May 7, 1915, the recently widowed president penned these words to Edith Bolling Galt, days after confessing his love for her: “I know you can give me more, if you will but think only of your own heart and me, and shut the circumstances of the world out.”
That day, the circumstances of the world were weighing heavily on Wilson’s mind. Earlier, a German U-boat had torpedoed the British-owned luxury liner RMS Lusitania, killing 1,195 people, including 128 Americans. Wilson spent his afternoon and evening receiving updates about the horrific attack that threatened U.S. neutrality in a war that had already engulfed Europe and would eventually draw in the United States.
Researchers using Wilson’s papers at the Library may be surprised to encounter the private — and passionate — Wilson behind the formal and somewhat aloof public figure they recall from history books or World War I-era film footage.
“I must do everything I can for your happiness and mine,” Wilson continued. “I am pleading for my life.”
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…