“I am naturally the most unambitious of women and life in the White House has no attractions for me.”
First Ladies of the US Ellen Wilson Full Image

Ellen Wilson

Ellen Louise Axson Wilson
Years of service: 1913-1914
Born: 1860

First Ladies of the US Ellen Wilson Full Image

Before her marriage, Ellen Axson attended the Art Students League in New York. She went on to study landscape painting at The Lyme Summer School of Art for many years. Shortly before the 1913 presidential inaugural ceremonies, Ellen exhibited fifty landscapes at her one-woman show in Philadelphia. As an advocate for education, social reform, and the arts, Ellen established a scholarship for underprivileged children in her hometown of Rome, Georgia. Proceeds from her artwork sustained the scholarship. Before losing her battle with Bright’s disease, Ellen designed the first Rose Garden on the White House grounds, inspected public buildings to improve working conditions, and became actively involved in Washington slum clearance projects in her brief time as First Lady.


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Leaders in Literacy

4/30/2024 through 4/30/2025

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First Ladies as Teachers, Educators, and Librarians.

The right to an education is a foundational principle of America’s history, and many First Ladies have taken up this cause. We celebrate National First Ladies Day by kicking off this featured exhibit, presented by Huntington Bank.