Edith Bolling Galt Wilson was born on October 15 1872, in the town of Wytheville, VA. Her Prominent family lineage traces back to not only Thomas Jefferson but Pocahontas as well.
In her youth, Edith Wilson was originally taught to read and write by her grandmother and as a young adult sent to a rather elite finishing school. She found this school to be cold and to regimented and dropped out after only one semester. She later enrolled in the Richmond Female Seminary and was a successful student until she had to leave due to family and financial reasons. It was this combination of both aristocratic and down to earth realism that would later come to serve her well as First Lady.
While on a visit to Washington D.C. she met Norman Galt, a successful Jeweler, and in 1896 they were married This nay be where Edith Wilson’s famous love of Pearls started. As it turned out she was quite business savvy and helped run the jewelry shop beside her husband. Always classy yet a free spirit she was given and Electric car by Galt, that she drove around Washington D.C.
When Galt died in 1908 he left his business and debt to his widow. However always able to take care of business, Edith payed off the all of the debt and eventually sold the jewelry store to employees
When Edith was 42, she was introduced to the recently widowed Woodrow Wilson at the White House, and in lack of a better term, knocked his socks off. They were married in less then a year in December of 1915
In her role as First Lady, Mrs. Wilson was very much involved with her husband’s daily affairs and trips abroad. Then in September of 1919 Woodrow Wilson was struck down with a debilitating stroke. Unbeknownst to the public, Edith Wilson took over most of the duties and that were the presidents and became what she herself called the “Steward” of the President
As both “Steward” and First Lady, Edith Wilson combined her prominent heritage with her down to earth life experience to not only running life in the White House, but to her fashion style. Always giving thought to her wardrobe, she was often seen in black dresses with simple cut lines and, of course, Pearls. It seems that throughout the years and changes in fashion, Pearls remained a staple of her wardrobe and style. Pearls, like her, were simple, classy and bold. Woodrow Wilson knew of Edith Wilson’s love of Pearls and even presented her with a Sapphire, Diamond, and Seed Pearl Brooch for their 3rd wedding anniversary.
(Bruce White for The White House Historical Association/Collection of the Woodrow Wilson House) Strong, Intelligent, fashionable, and devoted, Edith Wilson came through and shined for both her husband and her country with grace, style, discretion, and her favorite pearls. After Woodrow Wilson’s death in 1924, Edith Wilson carried on promoting her husband. In 1926 she was considered by the Democratic Party a possible candidate for Vice President, she however, declined. She went on to live a full and long life even attending the inauguration of President Kennedy. She also was known to entertain Jacqueline Kennedy. She passed away on December 28, 1967. Edith Wilson’s zest for life, her dedication to her country, and her elegant fashion style became an example for future First Ladies to come. Always a lover of Pearls and there beauty almost every First Lady since has been seen wearing Pearls and smiling.
Did we mention that our store is located at her exact birthplace and that we are right next to the Edith Wilson Museum? Stop by to see a bit of history!