Mamie Eisenhower Biography

(First Lady of the United States as the Wife of President Dwight D. Eisenhower)

Birthday: November 14, 1896 (Scorpio)

Born In: Boone, Iowa, United States

Mamie Geneva Eisenhower was the wife of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and thus served as the First Lady of the United States from 1953 to 1961. Even though she was born into an affluent family, she always valued money and never displayed any extravagance. Mamie was married young to Dwight Eisenhower when he was a lieutenant. Thus, she began her life as a typical army wife. Eisenhower's promotions led her to move with the family several times. It is believed that Mamie and her family had moved 28 times until Eisenhower's retirement. As the First Lady, Mamie was known for hosting parties for the president's foreign dignitaries and other guests. She also celebrated the birthdays of the domestic staff of the ‘White House,’ while maintaining her hold over them. Her charm and grace won the hearts of many American women. She was a fashion icon and symbolized an ideal life partner. A highly opinionated lady, Mamie supported Eisenhower in his political matters, too. She was known for showering her affection and support on those she liked but also for her indifference toward those she did not. Even during her retirement and widowhood, Mamie maintained the same attitude and gesture toward her close associates.
Quick Facts

Nick Name: Pink Mamie, Mamie

Also Known As: Mary Geneva Eisenhower, Mary Geneva Doud

Died At Age: 82


Spouse/Ex-: Dwight D. Eisenhower (m. 1916–1969)

father: John Sheldon Doud (1870–1951)

mother: Elivera Mathilda Carlson (1878–1960)

siblings: Eda Mae Doud, Eleanor Carlson Doud, Mabel Frances, Mabel Frances "Mike" Doud

children: Doud Eisenhower, John Eisenhower

Born Country: United States

First Ladies American Women

political ideology: Republican

Died on: November 1, 1979

place of death: Bethesda, United States

Cause of Death: Stroke

Ancestry: Swedish American

U.S. State: Iowa

  • 1

    When did Mamie Eisenhower serve as the First Lady of the United States?

    Mamie Eisenhower served as the First Lady of the United States from 1953 to 1961 during President Dwight D. Eisenhower's two terms in office.

  • 2

    What was Mamie Eisenhower known for during her time as First Lady?

    Mamie Eisenhower was known for her signature bangs hairstyle, her support for military families, and her popularization of the color "Mamie pink."

  • 3

    What impact did Mamie Eisenhower have on fashion during her time as First Lady?

    Mamie Eisenhower's fashion choices, including her love for pearls and tailored suits, influenced women's fashion trends in the 1950s and early 1960s.

  • 4

    How did Mamie Eisenhower contribute to the cultural and social landscape of America during her time as First Lady?

    Mamie Eisenhower played a role in promoting cultural exchange and diplomacy through her international travels and support for various cultural initiatives.

  • 5

    What was Mamie Eisenhower's role in advocating for important social causes during her time as First Lady?

    Mamie Eisenhower was an advocate for mental health awareness and worked to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness by sharing her own experiences and promoting initiatives to support mental health care.

Childhood & Early Life
Born Mamie Doud on November 14, 1896, in Boone, Iowa, she was the second of the five children of John Sheldon Doud (1870–1951) and Elivera Mathilda Carlson (1878–1960). Her father was the owner of the meatpacking company 'Doud & Montgomery' ("Buyers of Live Hogs"). She got her middle name, “Geneva,” from the famous song 'Lovely Lake Geneva.'
Mamie had three sisters, Eleanor Carlson Doud, Eda Mae Doud, and Mabel Frances "Mike" Doud, and one younger brother. One of her sisters died in 1918.
Mamie was educated at 'East Denver High School' and 'The Mulholland School' in San Antonio, Texas. She had also attended 'Miss Wolcott School for Girls' in Denver.
Even though Mamie was from an affluent family, she knew the value of money and had great budgeting and financial skills that had been passed on to her by her father.
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In October 1915, after completing her studies at 'Wolcott School,' Mamie met Dwight Eisenhower in San Antonio and soon began a relationship. He often invited young Mamie to accompany him on his rounds.
On St. Valentine's Day the following year, Eisenhower presented Mamie with a miniature of his ‘West Point’ class ring, and they were engaged. Reverend Williamson of the 'Central Presbyterian Church' in Denver officiated the wedding on July 1, 1916, at Mamie's parental home in Denver, Colorado. She was just 19 then, while Eisenhower was 25.
The two had their honeymoon at the ‘Eldorado Springs’ resort in Colorado. Their first child, Doud Dwight "Icky," born on September 24, 1917, died of scarlet fever on January 2, 1921.
Mamie's second son, John Sheldon Doud, born on August 3, 1922, was a ‘U.S. Army’ soldier, an author, and an ambassador to Belgium.
Life as an Army Officer�
Eisenhower's promotions led them to live in places across the United States, the Panama Canal Zone, France, and the Philippine Islands. Mamie, who had grown up enjoying luxuries, readily adjusted with the frugal facilities of military posts.
During World War II, Eisenhower was stationed in Europe, while Mamie lived at the 'Wardman Park Hotel,' Washington, D.C. The two lived apart for almost 3 years and communicated only through letters. It was Mamie's first experience of being isolated.
While in Washington, D.C., Mamie and the other army wives worked at the 'Red Cross' canteen.
After Eisenhower returned from the war in 1948, he became the president of 'Columbia University' and purchased their first home at a farm (presently the 'Eisenhower National Historic Site') of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.
However, Mamie and her husband's dream home was completed in 1955, because his duties as the supreme commander of the 'North Atlantic Treaty Organization' (NATO) force (in 1950) and hers as the hostess at their little chateau outside Paris, France, had delayed the work.
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Life as the First Lady
In 1953, Eisenhower took over as the U.S. president. Mamie regularly accompanied him on his campaign trips. As the First Lady, she projected herself as the president's partner and even appealed to the voters.
As the couple moved to the ‘White House,’ the domestic staff working under Mamie dubbed her the "Hostess in Chief." She turned out to be an amicable in-charge who often sent birthday cards and gifts to the crew.
Mamie was an efficient household runner, who even collected grocery coupons from the paper. She displayed her remarkable hosting skills whenever Eisenhower had any domestic or foreign political guests.
Mamie always maintained her individuality. When in public, she was a great hostess and a perfect First Lady. However, in private, she shared political opinions with her husband.
Eisenhower trusted Mamie's judgments and considered her advice. She was also his biggest confidante. She managed Eisenhower's schedule and ensured his excellent health, too.
Mamie disliked Senator Joseph McCarthy and ensured he did not attend any of the ‘White House’ events. She was a massive supporter of ‘Republican’ candidate Ellen Harris's run for a ‘Congress’ seat.
As an honorary member of the 'National Council of Negro Women,' Mamie invited African–American children to the annual ‘Easter Egg Roll’ and arranged the '4-H Club Camp for Negro Boys and Girls' as part of the ‘White House’ tour.
Mamie was the first honorary chairperson of the 'Girls Clubs of America' (now 'Girls Inc.').
Apart from her hosting skills, Mamie was known for her impeccable dress sense. Scaasi designed most of her dresses.
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Throughout her tenure as the First Lady, the 'New York Dress Institute' considered Mamie one of the 12 best-dressed women in the U.S. Her dress sense inspired the "Mamie Look" that consisted of a full-length dress, delicate jewelry, little hats, and her trademark hairstyle.
Some of Mamie's other designers were Mollie Parnis, Trifari, and Sally Victor.
Mamie loved a specific shade of pink, which was often known as "First Lady Pink" or "Mamie Pink." It made pink clothing, housewares, and bathrooms a trend back then.
She was a great cook, too. "Mamie's million dollar fudge" was a highly popular recipe among housewives back then and was also printed in many journals.
Reportedly, in 1958, Mamie became the first First Lady to initiate the trend of Halloween decorations at the ‘White House.’
A gracious hostess, Mamie was a private person. She had Ménière's disease, causing uneasiness on her feet. This gave rise to rumors that she had a drinking problem.
According to many biographies, such as J. B. West's 'Upstairs at the White House,' Mamie was discontented with the idea of John F. Kennedy succeeding her husband. The new First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, had had a caesarean section delivery just 2 weeks before the new president entered the ‘White House.’ While showing the ‘White House’ to the Kennedys, Mamie neither offered Jacqueline the available wheelchair nor informed Kennedy about it.
Kennedy confronted Mamie in Eisenhower's absence, to which she bluntly replied: "because she never asked."
Later Life & Death
The Eisenhowers left the ‘White House’ in 1961 and moved to their Gettysburg home. Eisenhower died in 1969, and Mamie devoted all her time to her family and friends.
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The Eisenhowers also owned a retirement home in Palm Desert, California. In the late 1970s, Mamie bought an apartment in Washington, D.C. In 1972, she was featured in a commercial for the political campaign of Eisenhower's former vice president, Richard Nixon.
The marriage of Mamie's grandson, David Eisenhower, with Richard Nixon's daughter, Julie, strengthened the bond between the two families.
On September 25, 1979, Mamie suffered a stroke and was admitted to the 'Walter Reed Army Medical Center.' On October 31, she told her granddaughter, Mary Jean, that she would die the following day.
Mamie died peacefully in her sleep on November 1, 1979.
In 1980, her birthplace was declared a historic site. The fourth east-west street in Boone has been named after her.
Facts About Mamie Eisenhower

Mamie Eisenhower was known for her love of pink, and she famously decorated the White House in various shades of color during her husband's presidency.

She was an avid golfer and often played with her husband, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, on the White House putting green.

Mamie had a pet parakeet named "Gabby" that she would often carry around on her shoulder while going about her daily activities.

She was a skilled cook and enjoyed hosting elaborate dinner parties for guests at the White House, showcasing her culinary talents.

Mamie Eisenhower was a fashion icon of her time, known for her signature bangs hairstyle and elegant wardrobe choices that often featured pearls and tailored suits.

See the events in life of Mamie Eisenhower in Chronological Order

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