DescriptionWoodrow Wilson Letter, as President, Referring to His Impaired Health! Typed Letter Signed, as president, 1 page, 7" by 9", The White House, Washington, September 18, 1920. To John A. Stewart, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Sulgrave Institute of America. In fine condition, albeit bearing a pencil checkmark, apparently a notation of the recipient. Here Wilson declines to attend a celebration of the 300th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrim fathers and the beginnings and development- from Magna Charta and the Bill of Rights down- of the free institutions of the English speaking nations, to be held in February 1921. Why he declines, however, is the reason to bid here: Wilson makes an uncommon reference to the poor state of his health. In full: "Thank you for your letter of the sixteenth. I certainly hope that all your plans will be matured. I shall follow the progress of the celebration with the greatest interest, and regret only that the condition of my health prevents my taking a personal part on so notable an occasion. I should be happy, if it were possible, to attempt to put into words the unique significance of the things we are commemorating."
On October 2, 1919, President Wilson suffered a serious stroke that almost totally incapacitated him; he could barely move his own body. For the rest of his term in office, the extent of his impairment was kept from the public, with the First Lady acting, for months, as a kind of regent. Although Wilson slowly regained strength, he never fully recovered. His stroke, and the terrible way in which it was handled, caused the worst crisis of Presidential disability in American history - and led eventually to the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.
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