Woodrow Wilson was the first U.S. President to travel to Europe while in office. In December 1918, on his way to the Paris Peace Conference at the end of the Great War, the President visited England among other countries. The people of London welcomed the President with tremendous applause. As reported in The Guardian on December 27th, 1918, tens of thousands of Londoners packed the street to see Woodrow Wilson .
|Woodrow Wilson riding through the streets of London, 1918|
The Town Councilors of London thanked the President for protecting the freedom of the City of London during the war and presented to him a golden casket that now resides in the library of the President Woodrow Wilson House.
|The Golden Casket|
The golden casket, made by Garrard and Co. Ltd., celebrates the union between America and Great Britain as well as victory in war. On either side of the box are the female personifications of America and Great Britain. The front of the box features miniature portraits of King George V and President Woodrow Wilson beneath the flags of each leader’s respective country. Proudly sitting on top of the casket is the coat of arms for the City of London.
This gift from the City of London echoes the importance of Woodrow Wilson and the immense respect he commanded among Europeans for his efforts in the First World War and campaign for peace. During Wilson’s era, America emerged for the first time as a world power. The casket reflects just how predominant the United States and the President had become following the First World War as world leaders, like King George V, started to recognize the United States as an emerging world power.