Christmas Decorations in the Manse

December 05, 2014 - January 03, 2015

Decorations, particularly for a Presbyterian minister’s home like that of the Reverend and Mrs. Wilson, tended to be minimal.  Simple garlands and modest arrangements of greenery and berries were used to decorate the home.  The Christmas tree would have been quite small and probably would have been displayed on a table top.  Prior to 1870 the tree ornaments would have been handmade.  Some decorations would include walnuts covered with real gold and silver leaf.  Designs of many shapes including stars were cut out of pasteboard and covered with gold and silver paper, and cookies were suspended by strings.  Strips of paper were made into chains and candles were fastened on tree branches.  Presents also hung from the tree.  The first Christmas trees in Staunton and Augusta County were displayed in 1855, the same year the Wilsons moved to Staunton.  Christmas trees were uncommon at that time, except in German households.    In general the holiday emphasis was on socializing, family gatherings and special meals prepared for these occasions.  The elaborate Victorian Christmas that spawned many of the traditions we now associate with the 19th century came later, after the Civil War.

Location: Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum
Street: 18 North Coalter St.
Zip: 24401
City: Staunton

Sections


did you know?


Wilson was president throughout World War I. He attempted to keep America out of the war and even won reelection with the slogan "He kept us out of war." Nonetheless, after the sinking of the Lusitania, continued run-ins with German submarines, and the release of the Zimmerman Telegram, America became involved. with the Lusitania, the continued harassment of American ships by German submarines, and the release of the Zimmerman Telegram meant that America joined the allies in April, 1917.

Woodrow Wilson was President when the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 giving women the right to vote.

Wilson piloted the ship that brought America onto the world stage. He made the first steps of leading us out of isolationism, violating Washington's tenet of avoiding foreign entanglements.

He led America during World War I. His fervent hope was for the US to join a League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "Life does not consist in thinking, it consists in acting."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "The Constitution was not made to fit us like a straitjacket. In its elasticity lies its chief greatness."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "I believe in democracy because it releases the energies of every human being."

The Seventeenth Amendment was formally adopted on May 31, 1913. Wilson had been president for almost three months at the time. The amendment provided for the direct election of senators. Prior to its adoption, Senators were chosen by state legislatures.

Wilson was the first president to receive a PhD which he got in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. He had received his undergraduate degree from the College of New Jersey, renamed Princeton University in 1896.

Woodrow Wilson could not read during the first decade of his life. Though undiagnosed, he may have suffered from a learning disability

Woodrow Wilson was known as "Tommy" until his college years.

Woodrow Wilson during his boyhood, helped establish the "Lightfoot Baseball Club" with his friends. Wilson played second base and was an avid sport fan throughout his adult life.

Woodrow Wilson was the first president to attend the Major League Baseball Fall Classic. He saw the debut of a young 20 year old pitcher by the name of George Herman "Babe" Ruth.

Woodrow Wilson was a graduate of Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University and the only president to hold an earned doctoral degree.

Woodrow Wilson image is on the $100,000 bill although it is no longer in circulation