History In Ink®  Historical Autographs


Ellen A. Wilson

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“Many, many thanks for the delightful cartoons. I . . . am charmed to receive them for my collection."

Ellen Louise Axson Wilson, 1860-1914.  First Lady of the United States, 1913-1914.  Very rare Autograph Letter Signed, Ellen A. Wilson, one page, 4¾ x 6½, with integral leaf attached, on engraved stationery of the Governor's Cottage, Sea Girt, New Jersey, October 9, [no year].  With original envelope, in Mrs. Wilson's hand, from a related letter to the same recipient.

Mrs. Wilson, the first wife of President Woodrow Wilson, thanks a correspondent for a gift of two cartoons for her collection and declines an invitation.  She writes:  "Many, many thanks for the delightful cartoons.  I have seen only two of them before and am charmed to receive them for my collection.  We are also very grateful to you for your kind invitation but I have just accepted one . . . .  However I shall look forward with great pleasure to seeing you in Baltimore.  Thanking you for your kind thought of us, I am / Yours very sincerely / Ellen A. Wilson."

In History Comes to Life, Kenneth Rendell notes that Ellen Wilson's autograph material is very rare.  In The First Ladies of the United States:  An Historical Look at Each and Their Autograph Materials 1789-1989, Walter Ostromecki, Jr., counted only five of her autograph pieces that had been sold in a 20-year period.  We have found ten sold at auction since 1991, only three of which, including this one, were autograph letters signed.

This letter, in fact, is illustrated on page 138 of Ostromecki's book.  He notes that it was then part of the Phil Jones collection.

Mrs. Wilson wrote this letter while her husband was Governor of New Jersey.  She served as First Lady just over 17 months.  President Wilson took office on March 4, 1913, and she died August 6, 1914. 

This is a beautiful letter in fine to very fine condition overall.  It has one normal mailing fold, faint toning along the folds, and a pinhole where the mailing fold crosses the fold on the integral leaf.  Mrs. Wilson has penned boldly in blue-black fountain pen. The accompanying envelope is addressed by Mrs. Wilson to the same recipient, but it is from another letter, since it is written in different ink and is postmarked August 29, 1912, while this letter is dated October 9.  The envelope bears pencil notations identifying Mrs. Wilson and overall is in fine condition. 

Unframed.  Click here for information about custom framing.


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