Friday, November 29, 2013

Spotlight on Our Collections: War Wool

Imagine how long it would take to mow the lawn at the White House. During World War I, with the men heading to war, there was not enough labor available to maintain the White House grounds.  In a show of creative problem solving as well as wartime support, Woodrow and Edith Wilson borrowed a flock of sheep to pick up the workload of keeping the grounds. At its peak, the flock held 18 sheep!  
Photo from Library of Congress
In addition to maintaining the lawn, the sheep where sheared and the wool auctioned off to further raise money for the war effort.  The wool raised over $50,000 dollars and only further showed the First Family's support of the troops.

The label reads "Wool from President Wilson's sheep
 bought at auction May 21, 1918
 on Boston Common
for the benefit of the Second Red
 Cross War Fund."

In the Dugout of the Woodrow Wilson house we have an example of the wool sold at auction.  Each state was given roughly two pounds of wool to auction off. The wool was branded as "White House Wool" to increase interest and demand.  The wool on display in the house is from the Boston Common auction in Massachusetts.  The wool sold for over $1000 dollars a pound, making it the most expensive wool ever sold. 

-Ashley Rits

No comments :

Post a Comment