Mamie Eisenhower

Mamie Doud Eisenhower, born to a prosperous Denver family, had a quite different background than her husband who had been born in a small town to parents of modest means. After her marriage to Eisenhower in 1916, the former Denver debutante had to adjust to the relatively harsh conditions found on the military posts where young commissioned officers began their military careers. Eventually, though, she and her husband lived the more comfortable lifestyle earned by officers who had reached the ranks of colonel and general. In 1942, when General Eisenhower assumed command of US forces in the European Theater of World War II, Mamie began to assume a role in the national spotlight. 

As First Lady from 1953 to1961, Mamie became one of the most loved individuals in America. She was the hostess par excellence, a partner to the President who defined her role as helpmate, not policy-maker. To Mamie making visitors to the White House welcome and comfortable, whether Campfire Girls leaders or European royalty, was her central role. She was a charming woman who could talk easily with the high and the mighty and also use a “common touch” with someone from Main Street, America.

Mamie Eisenhower also contributed to national fashion preferences. Her clothes and entire ensemble were carefully matched, and her Elizabeth Arden-styled hair with its distinctive “bangs” was widely imitated by American women. She was conservative about fashion, though, preferring tried-and-true classic designs rather than the “trendy.” Her many years of managing to look stylish on the modest income of a junior commissioned officer taught her many lessons about how to buy fashions that endured while always dressing stylishly.

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