- Historical event:
- 15 October 1872
- When American president Woodrow Wilson suffered a severe stroke in 1919, he was left paralyzed and almost completely disabled. His wife kept it secret from the general public, and continued performing the presidential duties mostly on her own.
The American First Lady who surely held the greatest power during her husband’s presidential mandate was born on this day in 1872.
Edith Wilson was the wife of the famous president Woodrow Wilson (the only U.S. president to attain a PhD). When Wilson suffered a severe severe stroke in 1919, he was left paralyzed and almost completely disabled.
His wife kept it secret from the general public, and continued performing the presidential duties mostly on her own. Working together with his personal physician and secretary, she kept the whole thing hidden from the general public.
They told the public that the president wasn’t severely affected by the stroke, and set Wilson up for official photographs in such a way that his paralysis wasn’t obvious.
This situation continued for almost one-and-a-half years, until the end of Wilson’s mandate (it was his second mandate – he had finished his first before the stroke).
It is interesting to note that Edith Wilson was a descendant of the well-known Native American princess Pocahontas. She was almost 16 years younger than Woodrow Wilson, and lived some 40 years longer than he did.
The conspiracy about keeping the president’s health secret was revealed only after her death.