The Foundation History
In this place time is not measured by weeks, or months, or years, but by deep human experiences. – Woodrow Wilson
The Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Foundation began sponsoring annual Edith Bolling Wilson Birthday events in 2005. The first event was held in the East End Cemetery and dedicated a stone marker commemorating Wytheville’s favorite daughter and her family interred there. Nearly 100 were in attendance. The marker was given in 2003 by local historian D.L. Barnett. The inscription on the marker reads:
Front: William Holcombe Bolling and Sallie Spiers White, the parents of Edith Bolling came from Bedford County, Virginia, to a home on Main Street in Wytheville about 1866. Their eleven children were Rolfe E., Gertrude, Annie Lee, William A. Bertha, Charles R., Edith, John R. Richard W., Julian B. and Geraldine.
Back: Born and raised in Wytheville, she was first married in 1896 at St. John’s Episcopal Church to Norman Galt, a Washington, D.C. jeweler, who died in 1908. Married to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1915, Edith became one of the most politically significant women of the 20th century when she acted on behalf of the President after he suffered a stroke in 1919. She is the only first Lady buried in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Her last visit to Wytheville was on April 26, 1960, to dedicate stained glass windows at St. John’s to her parent’s memory.
In 2006 a Virginia State Historic Marker was placed and dedicated on a cold and windy October 15th at the Bolling Home. The William Smith family provided the financial support for the marker.
In 2007, The Foundation presented an exhibit of Edith Bolling Wilson artifacts at the Wytheville Heritage Preservation Center. Featured during the exhibit was the Bolling antique child’s chair donated by the grandsons of Mrs. Wilson’s brother, Richard Wilmer Bolling, and the Bolling cradle on loan courtesy of Evelyn Jennings Taylor.
The Opening of the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum
The Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum opened its doors on October 15, 2008. The Museum houses Bolling furniture, books, letters, papers, paintings, and photographs. Most of these artifacts are original to the home or were owned personally by Mrs. Wilson and were donated or loaned by Bolling family members and Friends of The Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Foundation.
The Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Foundation is a tax-exempt Virginia non-profit, 501(c)3 organization. The Bolling Home is in stable condition, but in need of renovation. It has been named by Preservation Virginia to the Most Endangered Historic Site List for 2013. It is the Foundation’s goal that Edith Bolling’s birthplace and childhood home will be restored for future generations. It is our hope that the home will become the conduit by which public awareness will be built honoring her name, the contributions she made to this country, the institution of the presidency, and for the example she set for women.