WASHINGTON, D.C. — When World War I began in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed U.S. neutrality. Then in 1917, he sent U.S. troops to Europe. After the war, he worked to create a lasting peace, and in 1919, he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
This summer marks 100 years since the start of World War I, and those with an interest in America’s role in the Great War and its aftermath can learn more about Wilson’s life and legacy on a guided tour of the President Woodrow Wilson House in Washington, where he lived after leaving office.
In his postwar efforts, Wilson championed principles like self-determination and independence, and he was the leading founder of the League of Nations, forerunner to the United Nations. “The main thing we want people to understand is that Wilson imagined the world at peace, and he proposed a plan for achieving that vision,” said Stephanie Daugherty, associate manager and curator at the President Woodrow Wilson House.
The house on S Street just north of Dupont Circle is the home of the only president who retired in Washington after leaving office.
Wilson was partially paralyzed by a stroke in 1919, so an elevator was installed for him. He died in 1924, but his widow lived in the home until her death in 1961. The house has been restored with furnishings and memorabilia dating to the era when Wilson lived there.
The tour begins with a 17-minute movie about Wilson’s life. He was a lawyer with a Ph.D. in history and political science; he served as president of Princeton University and governor of New Jersey before winning the presidency. His first wife, Ellen, mother of their three daughters, died in the White House in 1914.
Through Aug. 10, a first-floor gallery hosts “Images of the Great War,” an exhibit of prints and drawings from the European front. On June 18, at 6 p.m., a 90-minute program is scheduled on songs from World War I.