Who was the first acting woman president? As Paul Harvey would say, "and now for the rest of the story." It was 1919, and Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States. He suffered a stroke. His wife and first lady, Edith Bolling Wilson, took charge. No one was allowed to see the president without her approval. She took charge of all the business of running the government and country. She was the acting president of the United States. She had no political ambition. With a shaky hand held by his loving wife, he signed documents and official letters placed in front of him. By all accounts, she did a very good job — Edith Bolling Wilson, America's first acting woman president.