mrs. wilson complains about mrs. harding -- 4/09/18

Today's selection -- from Warren G. Harding by John W. Dean. After Warren Harding was elected as president to succeed the ailing Woodrow Wilson, his wife, Florence, met with Wilson's wife, Edith ,to become familiar with the White House:

"Florence was invited by First Lady Edith Wilson to tea, at 4 P.M. the next day, December 7, [1920] so she could see the White House to make arrangements for their move. ...

Florence Harding

"The White House tea was not a pleasant experience for Florence. Edith Wilson was haughty, even condescending, and later wrote of an obviously nervous and excited Florence: 'Her manner was so effusive, so voluble, that after a half-hour over the tea cups I could hardly stem the torrent of words.' Rather than show her about the executive mansion, Edith Wilson called for the housekeeper, Mrs. Elizabeth Jaffray, to give Florence a tour; claiming another appoint­ment, Edith promptly disappeared.

Edith Wilson

"During this tour, Florence dis­covered she was in the home of a sick man, and decided that as soon as they moved in she would open up, and cheer up, the White House. A few hours later Edith Wilson returned and 'heard a voice far down in the kitchen. It was Mrs. Harding talking to the cook. She remained until after eight o'clock,' Mrs. Wilson complained. Florence, not wanting to pick a fight with Edith Wilson, told reporters she had a very pleasant visit."



John W. Dean


Warren G. Harding: The American Presidents Series: The 29th President, 1921-1923


Times Books


Copyright 2004 by John W. Dean


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