Friday, July 18, 2008

Woodrow Wilson, mystery fan.

Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States, was quite the mystery fan. "I read detective stories to forget," he wrote to Nancy Saunders Toy in December 1914, "as a man would get drunk!" He added in Eugene C. Brooks's Woodrow Wilson as President (1916), “There are blessed intervals when I forget by one means or another that I am President of the United States. One means by which I forget is to get a rattling good detective story, get after some imaginary offender and chase him all over…” (530).

Authors and works mentioned by scholars as Wilson favorites include Joseph Smith Fletcher, Mary Roberts Rinehart, and E. Phillips Oppenheim's The Great Impersonation (1920). Wrote Christopher Morley in The Ironing Board (1949), “I remember Mr. Wilson, after leaving the White House, telling me he couldn’t find enough really readable detective stories. So I sent him my precious Fugitive Sleuth [by Hulbert Footner]” (168).

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