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Collection Overview

Princeton University.‏ ‎Library.‏ Public Policy Papers
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Jessie Wilson Sayre Collection
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
7 boxes
Storage Note:
Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 1-7


Jessie Wilson Sayre was the daughter of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and was a political activist. The Jessie Wilson Sayre Collection documents the close relationships amongst the Wilson and Axson families in the early twentieth century and provides details into their lives.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The Jessie Wilson Sayre Collection documents the close relationships amongst the Wilson and Axson families in the early twentieth century and provides details into their lives. The collection includes correspondence to and from Jessie Wilson Sayre, before and after her marriage. The bulk of the collection is correspondence to Sayre before her marriage from her parents, sisters, friends, and her mother's family, the Axsons. Other materials in the collection include news clippings and other printed materials about Jessie Wilson Sayre, mostly related to her wedding, and writings by Wilson Sayre, such as her notes for speeches, some short fiction, and a reprint of an article she wrote for Good Housekeeping Magazine. The collection also contains her school materials, including notebooks that are mostly undated but are likely from her time at the Woman's College of Baltimore, and her address book. Of particular note is an unpublished memoir about Jessie Wilson Sayre written by Mary Holt, a cousin of Wilson Sayre's mother, Ellen Axson Wilson.


The Jessie Wilson Sayre Collection are organized into the following sections: Correspondence from Jessie Wilson (Sayre), Correspondence to Jessie Wilson (Sayre), and Jessie Wilson Sayre's Address Book. Within each section, folders are arranged alphabetically.

The correspondence from the 2016 addition is arranged chronologically; the other materials from this donation remain in their original order as received from the donor.

Collection History


Initial gift of Francis Bowes Sayre, Jr., Eleanor Sayre, and Woodrow Wilson Sayre. No further information about this donation is available.

The materials in the 2016 addition were donated by Harriet (Happy) Sayre-McCord on behalf of herself, Jessie Sayre Maeck, Thomas Hart Sayre, and Francis Nevin Sayre in May 2016. The accession number associated with this donation is ML.2016.012.


No information about appraisal or serparations from the initial donation of this collection is available.

Materials from the 2016 addition related to Woodrow Wilson were separated and added to the Woodrow Wilson Additional Materials.

Processing Information

A collection-level description and a file-level inventory were created on by Jennifer Cole on May 4, 2007. The collection-level description and inventory were updated by Rachel Van Unen in August 2016 to incorporate materials from the 2016 addition.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from the Mudd Library to move forward with their use.

Credit this material:

Jessie Wilson Sayre Collection; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 1-7

Find More

Existence and Location of Copies

FOR DIGITIZED CONTENT: The collection, with the exception of most of the 2016 Addition, has been digitized. Papers may be viewed or downloaded through this finding aid. To view materials, navigate to a specific folder, rather than an entire series or subseries.

Some digital images of the collection were created in 2008 by the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum. The images appear to have been colorized; original photographs are black and white.

Related Materials

This collection is part of a group of over 20 collections held at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library related to Woodrow Wilson, which can be located by searching for the subject "Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924" on the Princeton Finding Aids website or in the Princeton Library Main Catalog.

Please see Woodrow Wilson: A Guide to Selected Resources in the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library for more particulars.


"Mrs. Sayre Dead; Wilson's Daughter" New York Times (1857-current file); Jan 16, 1933, page 15, consulted during preparation of biographical note.

Subject Terms:
Children of presidents.
Genre Terms:
Address book.
Axson, Stockton, 1867-1935
Elliott, Margaret Axson
McAdoo, Eleanor Wilson, 1889-1967
Wilson, Ellen Axson
Wilson, Margaret Woodrow, 1886-1944
Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924.