Cary T. Grayson Collection
Cary Travers Grayson, Woodrow Wilson’s personal physician, as well as loyal friend and confidant, was born 11 October 1878, at Salubria, in Culpeper County, Virginia. Educated at William and Mary and the University of the South, Grayson earned his M.D. from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond and interned at Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington, D.C. He did post-graduate work at Johns Hopkins medical school under the famous Sir William Osler. After joining the Navy in 1903, Grayson served on the U.S.S. Maryland and was later assigned to temporary duty aboard the presidential yacht, the U.S.S. Mayflower, serving as physician to presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft before Woodrow Wilson appointed him White House physician and aide in 1913. Grayson married Alice Gertrude Gordon on 24 May 1916, and the couple had three sons: James Gordon, born 7 January 1918; Cary Travers, Jr., born 21 March 1919; and, William Cabell, born 28 May 1921. Promoted to Rear Admiral in 1916, Grayson accompanied Woodrow Wilson on both trips to the Paris Peace Conference after World War I and cared for the president after he was incapacitated by a stroke in October 1919. During Grayson’s White House assignment, he also offered medical care to members of the cabinet and their families and to many other prominent officials. He served on the staff of several hospitals and lectured at the U.S. naval medical school. Assigned by President Harding to continue caring for Wilson after Wilson’s second term in office ended in 1921, Grayson remained with Wilson until the ex-president’s death in 1924. Retiring from the Navy in 1928, Grayson was named head of the Gorgas Memorial Institute of Tropical and Preventive Medicine that same year. Franklin D. Roosevelt tapped Grayson to chair his first and second inaugural committees, and later appointed him chairman of the American National Red Cross, a position he held from 1 March 1935 until his death from Hodgkin’s disease on 15 February 1938, in Washington, D.C.

Note: Cary T. Grayson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library; National Cyclopedia of American Biography 28 (New York: James T. White & Company, 1940); Who Was Who In America 1 (Chicago, 1968).
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