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HELEN "Nellie" HERRON TAFT, wife of William Taft. Her public role in Washington did not end when she left the White House. In 1921 her husband was appointed Chief Justice of the United States - the position he had desired most of all - and she continued to live in the capital after his death in 1930. Retaining to the end her love of travel and of classical music, Helen Taft died at her home on May 22, 1943.
The centennial of President Washington's inauguration heightened the nation's interest in its heroic past, and in 1900 Caroline Scott Harrison lent her prestige as first lady to the founding of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She took a special interest in the history of the White House, but the mature dignity with which she carried out her duties never overshadowed the fun-loving nature that had charmed "Ben" Harrison when they met as teenagers.
ELLEN WILSON first wife of Thomas Woodrow Wilson. "I am naturally the most unambitious of women and life in the White House has no attractions for me," Ellen Wilson wrote a retiring President Taft. Her health failing slowly from Bright's disease, she died serenely on August 6, 1914. On the day before her death, she made her physician promise to tell Woodrow that she hoped he would marry again. She murmured at the end, "…take good care of my husband."
The Christmas tree in the Carter White House, 1978