Mamie Eisenhower


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Mamie Doud Geneva Eisenhower


(1896 - 1979)

First Lady from January 20, 1953 to January 20, 1961




Marie Geneva Doud was born on November 14, 1896 in Boone, Iowa, to  John Sheldon Doud, a prosperous meat packer, and Elivera Mathilda Carlson. Nicknamed Mamie, she grew up in relative comfort in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Denver, Colorado, and the Doud winter home in San Antonio, Texas. Her father retired at age 36 after making a fortune in the meatpacking industry. She and her three sisters grew up in large homes with several servants.

It was soon after completing her education at Miss Wolcott's finishing school that she met Dwight Eisenhower at San Antonio in October 1915. Introduced by Mrs. Lulu Harris, wife of a fellow officer at Fort Sam Houston, the two hit it off at once, as Eisenhower, officer of the day, invited Miss Doud to accompany him on his rounds. On St. Valentine's Day in 1916 he gave her a miniature of his West Point class ring to seal a formal engagement.

Lieutenant Dwight D. Eisenhower, aged 25, married Mamie Doud, aged 19, on July 1, 1916, at the home of the bride's parents in Denver, Colorado. Following the wedding, performed by Reverend Williamson of the Central Presbyterian Church in Denver, the newlyweds honeymooned a couple days at Eldorado Springs, Colorado a resort near Denver, and then visited the groom's parents in Abilene before settling into the lieutenant's crude living quarters at Fort Sam Houston.

The Eisenhowers had two children, Doud "Icky" Dwight Eisenhower (September 24, 1917 – January 2, 1921) died of scarlet fever.  John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower (born August 3, 1922) – soldier, diplomat, author. Born in Denver, CO, he graduated from West Point in 1944 and earned a master's degree in English literature from Columbia University in 1950. After retiring from a prosperous military career (1944–1963), he was appointed ambassador to Belgium (1969–1971) by Richard Nixon. He has written an account of the Battle of the Bulge, The Bitter Woods (1969), Strictly Personal (1974), and Allies: Pearl Harbor to D-Day (1982).



For years, Mamie Eisenhower's life followed the pattern of other Army wives: a succession of posts in the United States, in the Panama Canal Zone; duty in France, in the Philippines. Although accustomed to more creature comforts than those afforded at military posts, Mamie adjusted readily and joined her husband in moving 28 times before their retirement at the end of his term as president.



Mamie Eisenhower, with her husband, Dwight, on the steps of St. Mary's College, San Antonio, Texas, in 1916



During the Second World War, while promotion and fame came to "Ike," his wife lived in Washington, D.C. After he became president of Columbia University in 1948, the Eisenhowers purchased a farm (now the Eisenhower National Historic Site) at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was the first home they had ever owned. His duties as commander of North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces—and hers as his hostess at a villa near Paris—delayed work on their dream home, finally completed in 1955.





They celebrated with a housewarming picnic for the staff from their last temporary quarters: the White House. Diplomacy—and air travel—in the postwar world brought changes in their official hospitality. The Eisenhowers entertained an unprecedented number of heads of state and leaders of foreign governments. As First Lady, her outgoing manner, her feminine love of pretty clothes, some of them designed by Scaasi, jewelry, and her obvious pride in husband and home made her a very popular First Lady. The gown she wore to her husband's inauguration is one of the most popular in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's collection of inaugural gowns.

As First Lady, she was a gracious hostess but carefully guarded her privacy. A victim of Meniere's disease, an inner-ear disorder that affects equilibrium, Mrs. Eisenhower was uneasy on her feet, a spectacle that fed baseless rumors that she had a drinking problem.

Mrs. Eisenhower was known as a penny pincher who clipped coupons for the White House staff. Her recipe for "Mamie's million dollar fudge" was reproduced by housewives all over the country after it was printed in many publications.

As described in multiple biographies, including Upstairs at the White House by J. B. West, Mrs. Eisenhower was reportedly unhappy with the idea of John F. Kennedy coming into office following her husband's term. Despite new First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy having given birth to her son John Jr. viacaesarean section two weeks prior, Mamie refused to inform Jackie that there was a wheelchair available for her to use while showing Mrs. Kennedy the various sections of the White House. Seeing Mamie's displeasure during the tour, Jackie kept her composure while in Mrs. Eisenhower's presence, finally collapsing in private once the new First Lady returned home. When Mamie Eisenhower was later questioned as to why she would do such a thing, the former First Lady simply stated, "Because she never asked."



In 1961 Mrs. Eisenhower retired with the former president to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, their first permanent home. After her husband's death in 1969, she continued to live full time on the farm until she took an apartment in Washington, D.C. in the late 1970s.  She suffered a stroke on September 25, 1979 and was rushed to Walter Reed Hospital, where Ike had died a decade before. Mamie didn't leave the hospital and on October 31, announced to her granddaughter, Mary, that she would die the next day. Indeed, she died quietly in her sleep very early the morning of November 1, just a few weeks shy of her 83rd birthday. 





Chart Comparing Presidential Powers 
of  America's Four United Republics - Click Here

United Colonies and States First Ladies
1774-1788


United Colonies Continental Congress
President
18th Century Term
Age
09/05/74 – 10/22/74
29
Mary Williams Middleton (1741- 1761) Deceased
Henry Middleton
10/22–26/74
n/a
05/20/ 75 - 05/24/75
30
05/25/75 – 07/01/76
28
United States Continental Congress
President
Term
Age
07/02/76 – 10/29/77
29
Eleanor Ball Laurens (1731- 1770) Deceased
Henry Laurens
11/01/77 – 12/09/78
n/a
Sarah Livingston Jay (1756-1802)
12/ 10/78 – 09/28/78
21
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
09/29/79 – 02/28/81
41
United States in Congress Assembled
President
Term
Age
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
03/01/81 – 07/06/81
42
07/10/81 – 11/04/81
25
Jane Contee Hanson (1726-1812)
11/05/81 - 11/03/82
55
11/03/82 - 11/02/83
46
Sarah Morris Mifflin (1747-1790)
11/03/83 - 11/02/84
36
11/20/84 - 11/19/85
46
11/23/85 – 06/06/86
38
Rebecca Call Gorham (1744-1812)
06/06/86 - 02/01/87
42
02/02/87 - 01/21/88
43
01/22/88 - 01/29/89
36

Constitution of 1787
First Ladies
President
Term
Age
April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797
57
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
52
Martha Wayles Jefferson Deceased
September 6, 1782  (Aged 33)
n/a
March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
40
March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825
48
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829
50
December 22, 1828 (aged 61)
n/a
February 5, 1819 (aged 35)
n/a
March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841
65
April 4, 1841 – September 10, 1842
50
June 26, 1844 – March 4, 1845
23
March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849
41
March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
60
July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853
52
March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857
46
n/a
n/a
March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
42
February 22, 1862 – May 10, 1865
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
54
March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877
43
March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881
45
March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881
48
January 12, 1880 (Aged 43)
n/a
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
21
March 4, 1889 – October 25, 1892
56
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
28
March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901
49
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
40
March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
47
March 4, 1913 – August 6, 1914
52
December 18, 1915 – March 4, 1921
43
March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
60
August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
44
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
54
March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
48
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
60
January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
56
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
31
November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969
50
January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974
56
August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
56
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
49
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
59
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
63
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
45
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
54
January 20, 2009 to date
45




By: Stanley Yavneh Klos
  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 8th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.




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