Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
While President Wilson projected an image of professorial gravity to the world, he behaved more like a giddy schoolboy when courting his second wife, Edith, in the year following the death of his first wife, Ellen. His love letters dripped with sentiment and he was even seen skipping along the streets of Washington after a date. The Post's Oct. 7, 1915, report on the only presidential betrothal of the century -- following the wedding of two of Wilson's daughters -- was almost as excited. An excerpt:
Woodrow Wilson, the President of the United States, announced last night his engagement to Mrs. Norman Galt, of Washington. The date of the wedding has not been fixed, but it probably will take place in December at the White House.
The announcement, which goes into history as the most interesting of its kind in nearly 30 years, covered two lines of typewriting, and was given to the press of the country at 8 o'clock. The President had already communicated the tidings of his coming marriage to his close personal friends and those with whom he is intimately affiliated officially. ...
Today, the entire country sees him in a new and interesting light, and political issues and differences are lost to sight, while from every quarter good wishes are sped to the White House. ... The next first lady of the land is a very beautiful woman. She is slightly above medium height, with fair complexion, soft, light brown hair, gray eyes and handsome features, especially her mouth, which is charming in line and expression.
The wedding will be the third in the President's family since beginning their residence in the White House a little over two and a half years ago. Cupid never before scored such a record in the historic home of Presidents. ...
The news of the engagement is as great a surprise to the friends of Mrs. Galt as to the country at large. She has been a widow for seven years and has only recently laid aside her mourning. Her friends did not believe she would marry again. Woodrow Wilson, however, proved an irresistible wooer and during the rest of his administration she will share with him the honors of his high office.
The brief announcement from the White House, made by the secretary to the President, came as a surprise to official Washington, but to a number of intimate friends it has long been expected. From this circle came last night the story of a friendship whose culmination was viewed as a happy turn in the troubled and lonely life of the nation's chief executive. ...
For many weeks Mrs. Galt and her relatives have been frequent dinner guests at the White House. Often she has accompanied the President on motor rides. She is not quite as tall as Mr. Wilson, has dark hair and dark eyes, and always is in stylish attire. Her tastes are said to be strikingly similar to those of the President, with a deep interest in literature and charity work.
Friends of the President expressed their pleasure over the announcement last night, not only because of Mr. Wilson's personal happiness, but because they felt this new companionship would give him support and comfort in his home life -- a vital need during the hours of strain over the nation's problems.