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Woodrow WilsonRuling Elder, Spiritual President$
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Barry Hankins

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718376

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718376.001.0001

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(p.162) 9 Fidelity
Woodrow Wilson

Barry Hankins

Oxford University Press

At the outset of the war in Europe, in August 1914, Wilson’s wife Ellen died of Bright’s Disease. Eight months later he fell in love with Edith Galt, who became his wife in December 1915. His relationship with Galt required that he end his long-running emotional affair with Mary Hulbert Peck. That relationship took place mostly by letter and may have been sexually chaste. But it was not platonic, and Wilson came eventually to understand it as such. His deeply conflicted love life is but a microcosm of the spiritual conundrum that was Wilson. As he did in so many areas of his life, he spiritualized even his illicit love for Hulbert Peck, and was mortified when Edith forced him to face his duplicity.

Keywords:   Ellen Axson Wilson, Edith Galt Wilson, Mary Hulbert Peck, affair, romanticism

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