Margaret Woodrow Wilson

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Margaret Wilson (Nistha)
Margaret Woodrow Wilson 1912.jpg
Acting First Lady of the United States
In role
August 6, 1914 – December 18, 1915
PresidentWoodrow Wilson
Preceded byEllen Wilson
Succeeded byEdith Wilson
Personal details
Margaret Woodrow Wilson

(1886-04-16)April 16, 1886
Gainesville, Georgia, U.S.
DiedFebruary 12, 1944(1944-02-12) (aged 57)
Pondicherry, French India

Margaret Woodrow Wilson (April 16, 1886 – February 12, 1944) was the eldest child of President Woodrow Wilson and Ellen Louise Axson. Her two siblings were Jessie and Eleanor. After her mother's death in 1914, Margaret served her father as the White House social hostess,[1] the title later known as first lady. Her father remarried in 1915.

Early life and education[edit]

Margaret Woodrow Wilson (her middle name was her paternal grandmother's surname and father's middle name) was born in Gainesville, Georgia. Both her parents strongly identified with the South, and both of their fathers had been Protestant ministers. Wilson's parents were living in the North where her father was teaching, but her mother did not want her children born as Yankees; Ellen Wilson accordingly arranged to stay with family in Gainesville for the births of her first two daughters. Margaret attended local schools, sometimes associated with the colleges where her father taught during her growing years.


In his will, Wilson's father had bequeathed her an annuity of $2,500 annually (worth $39,529 today) as long as that amount did not exceed one-third of the annual income of his estate, and as long as she remained unmarried.[2] Wilson sang, and she made several recordings. In 1914, "My Laddie" was released on Columbia Records, #39195.[3]

In 1938 Margaret Wilson traveled to the ashram of Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry, India, where she remained for the rest of her life. She became a member and devotee of the ashram and was given the new name 'Nistha', meaning "dedication" in Sanskrit. She and the scholar Joseph Campbell edited the English translation of the classical work on the Hindu mystic, Sri Ramakrishna, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna by Swami Nikhilananda, which was published in 1942, by Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, New York.[4]

Wilson died from uremia and was buried in Pondicherry, India, in 1944.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "First Lady - Ellen Wilson". C-SPAN. Ellen Wilson died during her husband’s presidency. Their daughter, Margaret Woodrow Wilson, served as hostess until her father married Edith.
  2. ^ Wills of the U.S. Presidents, edited by Herbert R Collins and David B Weaver (New York: Communication Channels Inc., 1976) p. 176, ISBN 0-916164-01-2.
  3. ^ "W. A. Thayer (composer) - Discography of American Historical Recordings". Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  4. ^ Nikhilananda, Swami (1942). "Preface". The Gospel of Ramakrishna. Chennai: Sri Ramakrishna Math.
  5. ^ "Woodrow Wilson Daughter Dead". The Milwaukee Sentinel. February 14, 1944. p. 1. Retrieved 29 January 2014.

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by First Lady of the United States

Succeeded by