National Trust for Historic Preservation

Virtual Backgrounds from the Collection

Spruce up your next conference call or polish your desk top with a virtual background.

Put yourself in the Woodrow Wilson House by downloading one of these images!  Simply right click the image and 'Save As Picture' to your desktop, then upload to your video conferencing app. If you are using Zoom, hit the arrow in the bottom left corner of your window and select "choose a virtual background." Pick your newly downloaded choice and enjoy!

(A gentle reminder: Wilson House images are copyrighted and are offered here for personal use only.)

Wine Cellar Bottles

Wine bottles in the Wilson Wine Cellar, including prohibition era red wine and 'medicinal whisky' and 1961 rose wine served at a luncheon for Jackie Kennedy in April, 1961.

Woodrow Wilson's Silver Ghost Rolls Royce

For a brief glorious time, the museum displayed Wilson's 1923 Silver Ghost Rolls Royce before it returned to its private owner.

Wilson House Kitchen Sink

Landscape painting of trees and pond, Vonnoh, R. 1913.

Untitled Landscape

Vonnoh, Robert. 1913. Oil on board. 6 in. x 10 3/8 in.

Inscription on reverse: "To Mrs. Woodrow Wilson with the compliments of Robert Vonnoh, Cornish, N.H...Aug. 1913"

This diminutive landscape by American artist Robert Vonnoh (1858-1933) appeared in the Salamagundi' Club's annual Thumb-box exhibition in New York. It was given to Ellen Wilson by the artist in Cornish, New Hampshire in August 1913 when Ellen and her three daughters were summering at Harlakenden. The Wilsons knew Vonnoh and his sculptor-wife Bessie from the artists' colony at Old Lyme, Connecticut. Vonnoh traveled extensively between the East Coast and France, where he was heavily influenced by the Impressionists, particularly Claude Monet.

 

Rainbow and star silk flag designed for League of Nations

League of Nations Flag design

This silk flag was a proposed design for a flag of the League of Nations.

The the artist, Alice H. Allen of Springfield, Ohio presented the flag to Wilson as a gesture of support for his efforts to get the United States to join the League.  The Springfield (Ohio) Sun newspaper, April 1, 1923, reported: "Mrs. Francis K. Allen is one of Springfield's nationally and internationally known women. She conceived the idea and designed the flag known as the 'Golden Rule Standard for Peace and Unity'. The flag has been approved by the nations of the world as an international symbol. The patented design granted Mrs. Allen provides money to be used to aid all children to learn and live the Golden Rule ... Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you".  The design was never adopted and the U.S. never joined the League.

Belgian Lace doily in octagonal frame.

Belgian Lace, ca 1914-1919

This piece of Belgian lace was handmade sometime between 1914 and 1919 by Belgian women and given to President and Mrs. Wilson.

This rare piece is valued as an artwork, but also tells the story of the women creatives and makers who crafted it in the bombed-out provinces of Belgium during WWI, sometimes sitting on street corners next to piles of rubble. In survival mode needing to feed themselves and their children, collectives of women came together using the skills they had—mostly passed down through generations— to make a way out of no way, managing to demand higher pay for their talents and get their works in luxury department stores like Selfridge’s in London and New York’s Henri Bendel.

Rear of Wilson House showing the garden and pan statue.

Wilson House Garden

Designed in 1915 by Waddy Butler Wood, the architect of the house, for Henry Parker Fairbanks.

The design of the garden was planned as an extension of the house plan as an outdoor living room.  The rectilinear form anchored by evergreens and the central water feature were typical of American landscape designs of the late 1910s.  Mrs. Wilson admired The first owner of 2340 S Street, Mr. Fairbanks, was an avid gardener who worked closely with the architect and specified the plant material used.  Originally from Connecticut, Mr. Fairbanks chose some perennials that could not withstand the long Washington summers.  As a wealthy homeowner, he could afford a large staff of gardeners to care for the more tender perennials, lifting dahlias, replanting delphinium and dividing iris, among other tasks.  The Wilsons had a much smaller income and fewer staff so many of the original plantings were soon replaced with less care intensive choices. You can see more of the Wilson House and the garden by taking one of the virtual tours listed here.

 

Oil painting of a Winter Landscape by Ellen Axson Wilson

Winter Landscape

Wilson, Ellen Axson. Winter Landscape, ca 1911. Oil on canvas.

Winter Landscape is one of the three extant winter scenes by First Lady Ellen Axson Wilson. Based on comparisons with her autumn landscape compositions, these canvases were most likely painted in the winter of 1911-1912 when the family was living in Princeton on Cleveland Lane. It is possible that they may also have been painted in late 1912 after Wilson's election as President, although the pressures of the family's new status may have precluded time for Ellen to paint. See more of Ellen's work in The Art of First Lady Ellen Axson Wilson

 

View of Wilson House library and bookshelves

Woodrow Wilson's Library

Surrounded by his library of approx 8000 books, Wilson met here with the frequent visitors to 2340 S Street.

It was quite fashionable to pay a call on the Wilsons, the first Presidential Couple to remain in Washington, D.C. after leaving office (and the only ones to do so until the Obamas).  In addition to a statuette of the Princeton Tiger, the shelves display an Abyssinian scimitar, a Japanese katana and memorabilia from Wilson's trip to Europe for the Paris Peace Conference.  The library was used to entertain guests in the evening as well, either with after-dinner drinks or a silent movie shown on the Graphoscope.  You can still watch many of these films on YouTube: Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood and Tom Mix in Sky High, both from 1922 and featuring some of Wilson's favorite actors.

 

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