White House Physician

First Ladies

Ellen Wilson, the first wife of President Woodrow Wilson, died in August 1914, less than two years after her husband became president. Mrs. Wilson developed chronic kidney failure then known as Bright’s Disease. Some medical historians now consider its cause to be her toxemia during pregnancy. Dr. Cary Grayson, both the first lady’s and the president’s physician, as well as many doctors who had treated her symptoms previously, diagnosed her illness as psychologic in nature. In addition Dr. Grayson viewed the well being of the president as his priority, and as a result, downplayed¬† condition in order not to upset Wilson.

White House Physician