Fascinating Rise and Complex Legacy of First Lady Edith WilsonVisit Website
While this nation has yet to elect its first female president—and though history has downplayed her role—just over a century ago a woman became the nation’s first acting president. In fact, she was born in 1872, and her name was Edith Bolling Galt Wilson. She climbed her way out of Appalachian poverty and into the highest echelons of American power and in 1919 effectively acted as the first female president of the United States when her husband, Woodrow Wilson, was incapacitated. Beautiful, brilliant, charismatic, catty, and calculating, she was a complicated figure whose personal quest for influence reshaped the position of First Lady into one of political prominence forever. Rebecca Boggs Roberts will offer an unflinching look at the woman whose ascent mirrors that of many powerful American women before and since, one full of the compromises and complicities women have undertaken throughout time in order to find security for themselves and make their mark on history.
Rebecca Boggs Roberts is an award-winning educator, author, and speaker, and a leading historian of American women’s suffrage and civic participation. She is currently deputy director of events at the Library of Congress and serves on the board of the National Archives Foundation, on the Council of Advisors of the Women’s Suffrage National Monument Foundation, and on the Editorial Advisory Committee of the White House Historical Association. Her books include the award-winning The Suffragist Playbook: Your Guide to Changing the World; Suffragists in Washington, D.C.: The 1913 Parade and the Fight for the Vote; and Untold Power: The Fascinating Rise and Complex Legacy of First Lady Edith Wilson.
This lecture is presented in partnership with the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum.