Sunday, October 2, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 5, No. 2086


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Ninety-seven years ago today, October 2, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson suffered a massive stroke at the White House here in the Nation's Capital.

The President had returned to the Executive Mansion after collapsing while on a whistle-stop tour across the country to gain support for the Versailles Treaty which he helped negotiate in France at the end of World War I.  The controversial peace treaty included a League of Nations which was to be a body of international cooperation to prevent another world war.

According to Eyewitness to History, Edith Galt Wilson found her husband on the floor of the bathroom of their private quarters.  He was unconscious and bleeding from a cut on the head.

The President's personal physician, Dr.Cary T. Grayson, was quickly summoned.  After a ten minute examination, he came out in the hall and said...

"My God, the President is paralyzed."

President Wilson lay on the Lincoln bed.  According to witnesses, "he looked as if he were dead."

The stroke, which left the President paralyzed on his left side, effectively ended Wilson's ability to influence the Senate vote on the treaty or, in fact, to conduct the daily business required of the President of the United States.  The public, however, was kept in the dark regarding the severity of the stroke or of the President's condition.

The Treaty of Versailles was not ratified by the Senate but President Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919.  He died four years later in Washington, D.C.  He is buried in the National Cathedral.


"A President's Illness Kept Under Wraps," by Michael Alison Chandler, February 3, 2007, The Washington Post,

"President Wilson Suffers a Stroke, 1919," Eyewitness to History,

President Woodrow Wilson &
Dr. Cary T. Grayson
Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Photo

Woodrow Wilson's Sarcophagus
National Cathedral
Tony Fisher Photography
December 29, 2009