- NAME: Mamie Eisenhower
- OCCUPATION: U.S. First Lady
- BIRTH DATE: November 14, 1896
- DEATH DATE: November 01, 1979
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Boone, Iowa
- PLACE OF DEATH: Washington, D.C.
- Full Name: Marie Geneva Doud Eisenhower
- Maiden Name: Marie Geneva Doud
- AKA: Marie Doud
- AKA: Mamie Eisenhower
- AKA: Mamie Geneva Doud
- AKA: Mamie Doud
- AKA: Marie Eisenhower
Best Known For
Mamie Eisenhower was first lady of the United States when her husband, Dwight Eisenhower, was president from 1953 to 1961.
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Mamie Eisenhower's family wintered in San Antonio, Texas, and it was there in October 1915 that she met Dwight Eisenhower, a young army lieutenant, and they were married only 7 months later. Although she did not change the job of first lady, Mamie Eisenhower was a favorite of many American women, who imitated her youthful style and what her husband called her "unaffected manner."
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid."
"Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him."
"Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends."
"Few women, I fear, have had such reason as I have to think the long sad years of youth were worth living for the sake of middle age."
"Vote for my husband or for Governor Stevenson, but please vote."
Mamie Geneva Doud was born in Boone, Iowa, on November 14, 1896, to John Sheldon Doud and Elvira Mathilde (Carlson) Doud, the second daughter of four. John made his fortune in the meat packing industry and retired at age 36, moving the family to Colorado when Mamie was 7. There, her life was one of privilege with servants and large homes in Denver and San Antonio, Texas.
Soon after finishing school, Mamie Doud met a young second lieutenant, Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike), at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. She immediately drew his attention, and on St. Valentine's Day, 1916, he gave her a miniature of his West Point class ring to seal their engagement. The couple married at the Doud home in Denver, on July 1, 1916, when Mamie was just 19 years old.
Life radically transformed for Mamie Eisenhower as a military wife stationed in the United States, the Panama Canal Zone, France and the Philippines. In their 37 years of military duty, Mamie estimated she moved the entire household 27 times. Each move meant another step in her husband's career and more responsibilities for her. Their first child, a boy named Doud Dwight, was born in 1917, but died of scarlet fever in 1921. Their second son and only child to survive adulthood, John, was born in 1922. He enjoyed a career in the U.S. Army and later became an author and ambassador to Belgium.
During World War II, Ike commanded troops in Europe and Mamie Eisenhower lived in Washington, D.C. At one point, she didn't see her husband for three years, an experience which left her incredibly isolated. She lived at the Wardman Park Hotel and worked with other Army wives at the Red Cross canteen in Washington, D.C. During this time, she wrote to her husband nearly every day and worried about him. After the war, Ike served a brief stint as president of Columbia University and the couple purchased their first home, a farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In 1950, Eisenhower became supreme commander of NATO and the family moved again, this time to a little chateau outside Paris, France.
In 1952, Ike ran for the U.S. presidency and Mamie traveled with him on his campaign trips, presenting herself as a partner with her husband and appealing to both male and female voters. When the couple entered the White House, Mamie quickly took charge of the domestic staff, who dubbed her "Hostess in Chief." At the same time, she took a personal interest in the White House domestic staff, often sending them birthday cards and gifts. The Eisenhowers entertained an unprecedented number of domestic and foreign leaders, and Mamie efficiently ran the household, even going so far as to collect grocery coupons from the paper.
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When the 19th Amendment was ratified, women were finally given the right to vote, and over the years many courageous women have stepped onto the national political stage as well. In 1916, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress and almost a century later Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina woman to serve on the Supreme Court. And within the last two decades, the esteemable Hillary Clinton has served as First Lady, a New York senator and Secretary of State. These women, and many more, are setting the stage for the future of female leaders in Washington.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women."
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