First Ladies: Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower

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Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower was wife of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and served as his First lady.

Mamie Eisenhower

Mamie Geneva Doud was born on November 14, 1896 in Boone, Iowa. She was the second child born to John Sheldon and Elivera Mathilde Carlson Doud. She had three sisters.

She attended Miss Wolcott’s finishing school as she completed her education.

She met Dwight Eisenhower in San Antonio in October 1915. They were introduced by the wife of a fellow officer. The two are said to have hit it off immediately. He proposed on Valentine’s Day in 1916.

The couple was married at her parents home in Denver, Colorado on July 1, 1916. They had two sons. Doud Dwight “Icky” was born on September 24, 1917 and died of scarlet fever on January 2, 1921. John Sheldon Doud was born on August 3, 1922.


Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower

The young couple moved frequently between military quarters in many postings, from Panama to the Philippines.”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.”

While Ike served overseas during World War II, Mamie lived in Washington, DC.

After he became president of Columbia University in 1948, the Eisenhower’s purchased a farm at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was the first home they had ever owned.

Dwight D. Eisenhower became president on January 20, 1953. The Eisenhower’s celebrated with a housewarming picnic for the staff.

Mamie loved pretty clothes and her outgoing manner, helped her serve as a warm host. She was named among the best-dressed women in the country every year she served as First Lady. She had a fondness for pink, often known as “Mamie” pink.

Changes in airfare and the rise of the United States as a world power led to more changes in official functions than before. The Eisenhower’s entertained an unprecedented number of heads of state and leaders of foreign governments.

Mamie Eisenhower

While a gracious hostess, she was fiercely guarded of her privacy.

Mamie suffered from Ménière’s disease, an inner-ear disorder that affects equilibrium, which led to her being uneasy on her feet.

In 1958, she was the first person to decorate for Halloween in the White House. She also clipped coupons. Her recipe for “Mamie’s million dollar fudge” was popular with households across the country.

The Eisenhower’s were not fans of the Kennedy’s and were less than hospitable to their successors.

Upon her husband’s retirement, the couple went to their home in Gettysburg. They also had a home in Palm Desert, California.

Dwight D. Eisenhower died in 1969. Mamie continued to live on the farm until the late 1970s when she went to live in an apartment in Washington, DC.

After suffering a stroke in late September, she died on November 1, 1979. She was two weeks shy of her 83rd birthday. She was buried beside her husband and oldest son on the grounds of the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas.






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