Woodrow Wilson's secret letters to another woman
Hey history lovers. I'm Mike Rosen walled with retro pot show about the past rediscovered. New York City nineteen fifteen. Mary pack opens her front door the man who greets her. There has an unbelievable offer he'll pay three hundred thousand dollars for some letters. She has in safe keeping. That was a great deal of money back then about seven million in today's dollars. So what made these letters so valuable? They were love letters written to marry by president Woodrow Wilson when he was married to his first wife Wilson was running for reelection. The man at the door was apparently trying to sabotage the campaign. If this plot sounds vaguely recent there's a reason in politics sex money in lies are as communist candidates posing for the cameras holding babies during that fall Wilson had a full plate of stressors the British ocean. Liner Lissa taniwha had been sunk by German submarine and pressure on the United States to enter war or one was mounting. There was his reelection to think about too, but the issue with peck weighed most heavily should it. Come out Wilson's image. As a stand up. Do it. The right way guy would have imploded instantly friends and family knew about his relationship with peck for years, but whispers were growing and Wilson knew it in his anguish Wilson, even wrote a statement in cases letters to marry got out. He had met her in Bermuda eight years earlier when he was fifty and she was forty four at the time Wilson was the president of Princeton University his wife, Ellen Wilson had insisted he take a winter vacation to recover from the fights. He had with colleagues over Princeton's future. She remained at their New Jersey home to ten to a sick daughter. So Wilson sailed alone to the British island to relax. Meanwhile, tech was in Bermuda to escape the cold weather in Massachusetts and her unhappy marriage to Thomas, peck Wilson was stern-faced and the Virginia born son of a conservative Presbyterian minister, but he was smitten with pack in his letters, he called her dearest friend. And he signed them your devoted friend. He said her letters mean more to me than I can ever say. Or can never hope to repay you for. He also sent gifts. Peck, divorced in one thousand nine hundred twelve some Republicans suspected that Wilson. A democrat was connected to her divorce. But even his enemies were generally reluctant to believe the Gossen Theodore Roosevelt who ran against Wilson for president in one thousand nine hundred twelve is reported to have dismissed the rumors saying no evidence could ever make the American people believe that a man like Woodrow Wilson cast so perfectly as the apothecary clerk could ever play Romeo. He was wrong. Wilson's wife, Ellen died in one thousand nine hundred fourteen in early nineteen fifteen he met Edith gulp. The widow of a wealthy Washington. Jim Wilson began writing her with the same intensity that he had written to peck and his first wife he proposed the Galt in July nineteen fifteen he wrote to both of them Galt forgave him. But peck was unhappy. She found out about his engagement in the news and noted that his letter was dated after the newspapers published the stories. During the nineteen sixteen campaign peck was approached multiple times with offers of money in exchange for her letters with Wilson, she declined after that they stopped corresponding for three years then in September nineteen nineteen he wrote to her again, suggesting a meeting in California where she was living and where he and his wife would be on a cross country, speaking tour, the three of them had lunch days later Wilson collapsed after his speech in Colorado. The Wilson's return to Washington where he suffered a massive stroke that left him partially paralyzed he died a few years later in one thousand nine hundred twenty four. Four years after his death peck signed a contract to sell the letters to Wilson biographer Ray Stannard Baker for the equivalent of about four hundred forty eight thousand dollars today. In nineteen thirty-three peck, wrote her own book story of MRs Pak in it. She wrote it seemed strange and a little sad to see Baker walkaway with the letters. She had kept so close for so many years. But now Wilson wasn't around anymore to see the damage. I'm Mike Rosenfeld. Thanks for listening special. Thanks tamale. Mccartney who reported the story for the Washington Post and for more forgotten stories from history. Visit Washington Post dot com slash retro pod.