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  Mamie Eisenhower

by John T. Marck

First Lady: 1953 to 1961

Wife of President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Born: November 14, 1896 Died: November 1, 1979

Mamie Geneva Doud was born in Boone, Iowa, the daughter of John Sheldon and Elvira Matilda Carlson Doud. Her parents had lived in Chicago, but moved to Boone, and made a fortune in the meat packing business, enabling him to retire early in life. Her father decided to move to Denver, as this is where he chose to retire. Mamie lived in Denver from the age of eight. Mr. Doud also chose San Antonio as a winter home, and would transport his family and servants back and forth in a large car; cars being a hobby interest for him. At the age of nineteen, Mamie met second Lieutenant Dwight Eisenhower, at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, after he had graduated from West Point. The two were married in the Douds home in Denver, on July 1, 1916.

Over the next ten years, Mamie and Dwight moved from army post to army post while Dwight was slowly moving up in military rank. The Eisenhower's had two children, Dwight, born in 1917, however died of scarlet fever in 1921, and John Sheldon, who was born in 1922. John Sheldon grew up to marry and have four children, one of whom was David, whom President Eisenhower renamed the retreat in Maryland, formally called Shangri-la by President Roosevelt. David Eisenhower, this same grandson, married Julie Nixon, President Nixon's daughter.

During World War II, the times for Mamie were difficult. Dwight ("Ike") was stationed at Allied Command Headquarters in England, and their son was about to enter foreign service. Ike advanced to one of the country's only five star generals during the war, and a national war hero. Upon his election to the Presidency, Mamie was an attentive and gracious hostess. During the Presidency, Ike suffered a severe coronary attack, and thus Mamie urged Ike not to seek re-election. After the Presidency, Ike and Mamie retired to their home in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, adjacent to the battlefield. Ike died on March 28, 1969. Mamie survived her husband for over ten years, still living in Gettysburg, until her death on November 1, 1979.

Copyright 1990-2022 by John T. Marck. All Rights Reserved. This article and their accompanying pictures, photographs, and line art, may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author. From The First Ladies of the United States by John T. Marck.