Archive of autograph letters signed to his wife Mamie Doud Eisenhower, London, Versailles, Frankfurt and elsewhere, many undated or partially dated, 1940-1952 (but with three from 1917)
114 autograph and 3 typed letters signed ("Ike"), various sizes of 4to and 8vo, 240 pages written, 49 with accompanying envelopes, 25 September 1917 - 1952, many with place and year left blank for reasons of security; formerly folded, some lightly browned. In 5 loose-leaf binders, with typed transcriptions and inventories in each volume, plus 27 miscellaneous items (War Department memos, telegrams, gift cards). Housed in mylar sleeves in a green cloth binder, white linen slipcase.
A rich archive showing the personal side of the Supreme Allied Commander suffering the pressures of command.
Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969) met Mamie Geneva Doud (1896-1979) of Boone, Iowa, while stationed in Texas, and they were married in 1916. He served with the infantry at various camps in Texas and Georgia training tank crews, and the earliest letters in this collection date from his time at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. The collection then jumps to 1940 when he held staff positions in Washington, DC, and then to 1942 when he was stationed in London as Commanding General of the European Theater of Operations. Such was his devotion that he maintained a regular correspondence with his wife during some of the most grievous trials a man has had to face, more grievous than during his eight years as president, and while rumors spread of his relationship with his driver Kay Summersby. The security concerns of his post (shared by all in the service) had the delightful effect of restricting the contents of his letters to his personal and emotional life, his concerns for his wife and children, and his impressions of people he met.
A few excerpts of these follow. (25 September 1917:) "I arrived Sunday, and was sent immediately to the trenches ... it was wet, cold, and rained the whole time. To complicate matters, my baggage has not yet arrived, so I had nothing except what I had on when I left home." (11 March 1944:) "I think that all these trials and tribulations must come upon the world because of some great wickedness; yet one would feel that man's mere intelligence, to say nothing of his spiritual perceptions, would find some way of eliminating war. But man has been trying to do so for many hundreds of years, and his failure just adds more reason for pessimism when a man gets really low!" (3 June 1944:) "This note will probably reach you soon after you return to Washington. There's nothing I would not have given to have been with you and John on June 6, but c'est la guerre!" (undated:) "Naturally I never talk business in letters to you—On the other hand I've always had the feeling that I could say anything that popped into my head. Now—with everything so very secret, I take my pen in hand with a feeling of 'what can I say except to tell her I'm well & just as much in love with her as ever?'"
A complete inventory of the collection will be provided on application to the department.
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