Michelle Gable, Writer

Michelle Gable, Writer

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Edith Bolling Galt

July 10, 2013 , , , ,

I read a fascinating article in Vanity Fair about the new Woodrow Wilson biography by A. Scott Berg. Yes, that’s right. I used ‘fascinating’ and ‘Woodrow Wilson’ in the same sentence.

Some interesting factoids about Wilson, for those unfamiliar. In case you were wondering, my 9 year old hates when I use the word “factoid.”

  • FDR idolized Wilson
  • Wilson had one of the most polarizing presidencies in history
  • During a time when 50 percent of the nation’s wealth was owned by 1% of the country, Wilson implemented the “New Freedom” to protect 99 percent of the population; he then promptly created the FRB, FTC, various tax reforms, and agricultural programs
  • When the Senate was deadlocked against the Treaty of Versailles (based on Wilson’s “Fourteen Points”), Wilson basically “took it to the people” to garner support; this was unheard of then (not to mention now) and he did this while in ill health and against the advice of everyone in the business of giving Woodrow Wilson advice
  • In the words of the author: “Like Barack Obama, he faced increasingly hostile partisanship; unlike Obama, he used every form of persuasion in his power, especially the practice of sustained dialogue.”
  • And so: “…he embarked upon the most quixotic venture in America’s history since its founding-a 29-city barn-storming tour by rail to enlist the American public in his plan to end all wars.” (If you recall, his efforts went unrewarded)

Oh, yeah. Also:

  •  Wilson wrote thousands of letters to his first wife that were so passionate they reportedly kept her “in an almost constant state of intoxication”
Edith Bolling Galt Wilson

Edith Bolling Galt Wilson


I could on for pages upon endless pages about Wilson, much like any given Vanity Fair article (amiright?) and I plan to read the book when it comes out. But the person who really interests me is Woodrow Wilson’s second wife. His first wife, of the letter-reading vapors, passed away shortly after Wilson entered office. Soon thereafter he met Washington socialite Edith Bolling Gant. They were married within 18 months of the first Mrs. Wilson’s passing.

First off, Edith had me at “Washington socialite.” I love that crazy, mixed-up, other-universe town (lived there for a too-short 5 years). Second, rumor has it when Wilson grew too sick to work, our gal Edith ran the country. Some call her the First Female President.

Um, what? This article is great, dude, but more about Edith, please!

I immediately thought, hmmmm, this broad could be an interesting character to explore in historical fiction. Ideas immediately started thrumming. At one point the Washington Post tried to say Wilson entertained her during a play but botched it all up. To wit: “rather than paying attention to the play the President spent the evening entering Mrs. Galt.” What would’ve been our determined socialite’s reaction to the gaffe? To the public thinking she was entered in polite company? Plus, some people thought she murdered Wilson’s first wife. So there’s that.

I don’t know what (if anything) I’ll do with her but the little peek into her life intrigued me.

What do you think?

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I love that idea for a book or a story about Edith Boiling Gant! You should totally pursue that!


July 10, 2013

Thanks! She seems like an interesting character. Bonus: she wrote an autobiography so maybe there are some juicy tidbits in there.

Michelle Gable

July 10, 2013

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