Brother Woodrow

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1993-12-01
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr
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This memoir of Woodrow Wilson is a long-neglected treasure, full of the candid and perceptive observations of Wilson's brother-in-law and close friend, Stockton Axson. A charming and talented scholar of English literature, Axson became one of the few people in whom the reticent Wilson confided freely. Axson and Wilson met in 1884, when Wilson was courting Axson's sister Ellen, while Axson was still a schoolboy. The friendship of the two men ended only with the president's death in 1924. Axson's fondness for his mentor, "Brother Woodrow," pervades this account, but he is frank in his analysis of Wilson's flaws. As one of only a few personal memoirs of Wilson, this book offers a uniquely intimate view of the "human side" of the introverted president - and a sensitive evocation of the social life of a bygone era.
Axson begins with memories of Wilson's father and of Wilson's life as a young man, including his engagement and marriage to Ellen Axson and his teaching posts at Bryn Mawr College and Wesleyan University. Wilson then taught for twelve years at Princeton University before his accession to its presidency. Axson also taught there during this period, and noticed that the social distinctions among students were becoming more pronounced, and that undergraduate "eating clubs" were increasing in number. The eating clubs became an issue when Wilson did become president. His proposed "quad system" threatened their privileges, and later the location of the graduate college also caused a storm of controversy. Axsons bachelor quarters were often a meeting place for the "Wilson faction" during this tumultuous period. His lucid analysis of Wilson's successes and failures as Princeton's president is one of the highlights of the book - and probably the best record of these years of Wilson's life.
The book ends with a look behind the scenes of Wilson's gubernatorial and presidential career and an analysis of the growing complexity of his personality. "It is Uncle Joseph [Wilson's father] in him," observed one relative, of Wilson's seeming rigidity. From the standpoint of a loving family member, Axson offers a penetrating but sympathetic report on how Wilson changed as he bore the terrible burdens of World War I and its aftermath.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Editor's Introduction
Prefacep. 3
Woodrow Wilson and His Fatherp. 9
Health and Recreationsp. 30
Woodrow Wilson's Educational Careerp. 48
Social Disposition and Habitsp. 78
Ellen Axson Wilson and Woodrow Wilsonp. 90
President of Princeton Universityp. 112
Politics, 1910-1913p. 150
The Personality of Woodrow Wilsonp. 200
Notesp. 249
Indexp. 287
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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