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Mamie Eisenhower

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Category: General Interest
Reference No: 8721
Status: Available
Price: £50.00
  Mamie Eisenhower  Mamie Eisenhower

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Wife of United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and First Lady of the United States from 1953 to 1961.

Mamie Doud, aged 19, married Lieutenant Dwight D. Eisenhower, aged 25, on July 1, 1916, at her parents’ home in Denver, Colorado.

For years, her life followed the pattern of other Army wives - a succession of posts in the United States, in the Panama Canal Zone, France and the Philippine Islands. She moved 28 times before their retirement at the end of his term as president.

In the White House, the Eisenhowers entertained an unprecedented number of heads of state and leaders of foreign governments. As First Lady, she was noted for her unaffected, outgoing manner, her love of pretty clothes (especially those in pink) and jewellery, and her obvious pride in husband and home.

As First Lady, she was a pleasant hostess but carefully guarded her privacy. A victim of Ménière's disease, an inner-ear disorder that affects equilibrium, Eisenhower was uneasy on her feet, which fed rumours that she had a drinking problem.

Publicly, she kept her opinions to herself, but privately, she displayed strong convictions of her own. She disliked Senator Joseph McCarthy and made sure he was never invited to any White House social functions. In an era when more women were voting than ever before, but generally not actively involved in politics, she supported Ellen Harris, a Republican candidate running for a seat in Congress. She also accepted an honorary membership in the National Council of Negro Women, invited African-American children to participate in the annual Easter Egg Roll, and made sure the 4-H Club Camp for Negro Boys and Girls was included in special tours of the White House, all during the early stages of the Civil Rights Movement.

Mamie was also the first honorary chairwoman of the Girls Clubs of America.

On leaving the White House, she made no secret of her dislike for the incoming Kennedys.

This is a very fine letter, typed on headed notepaper (Palm Desert, California, January 10, 1967) to a friend, the socialite Mrs Mollie Cullum. It reads (in full):

Dear Mollie
The Mamie Carnations* are lovely and what a fragrant welcome they give to my Beau and me! Thank you for thinking of me.
It is wonderful to be back in the Desert with the sun shining so brightly. I do hope we will see much of you this winter.
Affectionate greetings for the New Year.

She ends with a bold signature ("Mamie E.") in blue ink.
Two horizontal correspondence folds. In very good condition.
This comes with the original envelope.

* The Mamie Eisenhower Carnation, a flower with tangerine petals, was developed and named in her honour by the Colorado Carnation Growers Association, who sent  her the flowers
throughout the eight years she lived in The White House.