"AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT'S LOVE AFFAIR
WITH THE ENGLISH LAKE DISTRICT"
by Andrew Wilson
2nd Edition published June 1999 with Foreword by the U.S. Ambassador to the U.K.
This book deals in detail with the visits
of Woodrow Wilson, the 28th. President of the USA (1913-1921), to the
English Lake District and the nearby city of Carlisle in Cumbria, England.
was first published in June 1996 to coincide with the Centenary of Woodrow
Wilson's first visit to Carlisle, where his mother was born, and to
the English Lake District, the area with which he fell in love. This
was his first trip abroad, and his priority had been to visit Carlisle
to see his mother's birthplace and the church where his grandfather
had preached, although it was only on a subsequent visit that he found
He returned to the Lake District four times over the next 12 years:
in 1899 on a cycle tour with his brother-in-law Stockton Axson; in 1903
with his wife Ellen; in 1906 with his wife and their three daughters,
staying for the whole summer in a rented cottage; and in 1908 on his
own for the summer. When on his own, he wrote wonderful love-letters
back home to his wife, and many extracts from these are quoted in the
book. He also made friends with local people, particularly the artist
Fred Yates, who painted him several times and became such a close friend
that he was invited to his Presidential Inauguration on 4 March 1913.
On his way to the Peace Conference in Paris at the end of the Great
War, President Wilson returned to Carlisle again, with his second wife
Edith, on what he called "a pilgrimage of the heart". This
took place on 29 December 1918 and was a very sentimental affair, which
he insisted on fitting in between meetings with Prime Minister Lloyd
George and banquets with King George V and Queen Mary, with whom the
Wilsons were staying.
Wilson's affection for the area continued in correspondence both throughout
the war and until the end of his Presidency - when he wrote to a Lake
District hotelier saying that he wanted to return again "incognito"(!)
- and right up to his death in 1924.
My book, which was originally titled "A President's Love Affair
with the Lake District", won the 1997 Lakeland Book of the Year
Award for the best book on Cumbria's characters and people. It shows
the more human side of the President and reveals him as a very loving,
warm and affectionate man - full of geniality and good humour - unlike
the rather dour and stern image people had of him in his public life.
I republished the book as a Second Edition in 1999 to coincide with
the Centenary of his second visit to the Lake District and with the
launching of a Woodrow Wilson Trail in Carlisle by the newly-formed
Woodrow Wilson Society which is believed to be the first such society
outside the USA.
book includes details of all the places associated with Woodrow Wilson
in the area, and a map showing where they are, so that people can follow
their own Woodrow Wilson trail both in Carlisle and the Lake District.
Further information on Wilson's associations with Carlisle can be obtained
from my collaborator, Peter Dance, who is also Chairman of the Woodrow
Wilson Society and lives in the house in Carlisle where Wilson's mother
lived as a girl. Peter can be contacted by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those who want to contact me or to buy
the book can do so by by email to email@example.com;
phone to +44 (0) 1524 413356; or post to 57 Thornton Road, Morecambe,
Lancashire, England LA4 5PD. The price (including postage and packing)
is £9 in the UK or £11 overseas.