President: Dwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded by: Bess Truman
Succeeded by: Jaqueline Kennedy
Born: Mamie Geneva Doud
November 14, 1896
Boone, Iowa, U.S
Died: November 1, 1979 (aged 82)
Wahington D.C., U.S.
Resting Place: Dwight D. Eisenhower Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home, Abilene, Kansas, U.S.
Spouse(s): Dwight D. Eisenhower (m. 1916; died 1969)
Children: Doud, John
Father: John Sheldon Doud , born 18 November, 1870, Rome, New York, meatpacker, died 23 June, 1951
Mother: Elvira Carlson "Minnie" Doud, born 13 May, 1878, Boone, Iowa; married 10 August, 1894, Boone, Iowa; died 28 September, 1960, Denver, Colorado
Marriage and family
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 few days at Eldorado Springs, Colorado, a resort near Denver, and then visited the groom's parents in Abilene before settling into the lieutenant's living quarters at Fort Sam Houston.
The Eisenhowers had two children (only one lived to adulthood):
- Doud Dwight "Icky" (September 24, 1917 – January 2, 1921) died of scarlet fever.
- John Sheldon Doud (August 3, 1922 – December 21, 2013) – soldier, diplomat, author – was born in Denver, Colorado; 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 military career (1944–1963), he was appointed ambassador to Belgium (1969–1971) by Richard Nixon. He authored ten books, among them 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, and in the Philippine Islands. 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.
First Lady of the United States
They celebrated with a housewarming picnic for the staff at what would be 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, she was noted for her outgoing manner, her love of pretty clothes, some of them designed by Scaasi, jewelry, and her obvious pride in husband and home.
Eisenhower wore a Nettie Rosenstein gown to the 1953 inaugural balls. It was pink peau de soie gown embroidered with more than 2,000 rhinestones. It is one of the most popular in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's collection of inaugural gowns. Eisenhower paired the gown with matching gloves, and jewelry by Trifari. She carried a beaded purse by Judith Leiber (then an employee of Nettie Rosenstein). Her shoes by Delman had her name printed on the left instep.
Eisenhower's fondness for a specific shade of pink, often called "First Lady" or "Mamie" pink, kicked off a national trend for pink clothing, housewares, and bathrooms.
As First Lady, she was a gracious 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 rumors that she had a drinking problem.
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.
In 1958, Mrs. Eisenhower was also reported to be the first person to initiate Halloween decorations to be put up in the White House.
As described in multiple biographies, including Upstairs at the White House by J. B. West, 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. via caesarean section two weeks prior, Eisenhower did not inform Kennedy that there was a wheelchair available for her to use while showing her the various sections of the White House. Seeing Eisenhower's displeasure during the tour, Kennedy kept her composure while in 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."