The papers of President Woodrow Wilson, from his time in the White House and as a scholar and governor of New Jersey, have been digitized and are now available online from the Library of Congress 100 years after his presidency.
The Wilson papers are one of the largest presidential collections held by the Library, consisting of approximately 280,000 documents and comprising about 620,000 images.
From a time when the scope of the federal government was growing between 1913 and 1921, Wilson’s papers document his leadership during World War I, his diplomacy during the Paris Peace Conference and his administration’s policies and economic reforms, including the income tax, tariff reform, the creation of the Federal Reserve Banks and anti-monopoly policies to regulate corporations. The papers also include material on his personal and family life, his youth during the Civil War era in the South, his leadership of Princeton University and his time as governor of New Jersey.
The Wilson papers have been used extensively by researchers over the years, including A. Scott Berg and Patricia O’Toole for their recent biographies. Many of the Wilson papers have been published, though some are now being made widely available for the first time.
Highlights of the Wilson papers include:
- A shorthand draft of Wilson’s Fourteen Points address from 1918, providing the basis for peace negotiations to end World War I;
- Wilson’s draft of the covenant for the League of Nations that would define its purpose and structure;
- Significant material documenting the Paris Peace Conference, including a map of the Middle East with proposed new borders after World War I;
- A love letter Wilson wrote to Edith Bolling Galt, who in 1915 would become his second wife, along with extensive correspondence between the two;
- A letter from activist Carrie Chapman Catt urging Wilson to support national women’s suffrage;
- Correspondence with military leaders, lawmakers and cabinet officials.
The Wilson papers have been at the Library of Congress since Edith Wilson deposited the materials at the Library in 1939, including the bulk of his presidential papers, and made them a permanent gift in 1954. Documents were added to the collection through 2015. Additional Wilson papers are held by Princeton University.
Additional Resources From LC
The Index to the Woodrow Wilson Papers, created by the Manuscript Division in 1973 after the bulk of the collection was microfilmed, provides a full list of the correspondents and notes the series number and dates of the items indexed. It spans three volumes, each of which is available in searchable PDF and HTML versions: Volume 1: A-F (PDF and HTML), Volume 2: G-O (PDF and HTML), and Volume 3: P-Z (PDF and HTML). The information in these volumes is helpful in finding individual letters or documents in the online version. Materials from the Additions series (Series 20) of the collection, which did not come to the Library until after 1973, are not listed in the index.
A chronology of key events in the life of Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), scholar, Princeton University president, New Jersey governor, and twenty-eighth president of the United States.
See Also: The Papers of Woodrow Wilson (Digital Edition)
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