Previously published in Examiner
Conclusion of the first ladies series
Mamie Eisenhower the top notch administrator
Mamie single-handedly ran her office in the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington answering press inquiries and thousands of letters during her husband’s wartime absences; long before her husband was president of the United States and she continued to encourage him all the way through. Mamie knew how to run a large staff. She was married to a United States Military commander turned President of the United States. Mamie also assumed the administrative role not only for her own correspondence, but for the president’s as well after his heart attack in 1956, and again after his mild stroke in 1957.
Only once did Mamie campaign against her husband’s choice of candidates when she campaigned for Ellen Harris for congresswoman. She maintained, “We women have to have a voice in things.”
It was strange though that Mamie did not believe that women should work outside the home. Because She felt women were superior to men in finances and because of that she felt all men should hand over their paychecks to women and have them take care of the household finances. She stated her views in an article entitled, “If I Were a Bride Today”, which appeared in Today’s Woman Magazine. Yet, she could not see how these same skills could transfer over to the corporate world.
As the years moved on Mamie continued to support her husband as she felt that was her duty, and he in turn openly admitted he consulted with his Mamie who had a shrewd understanding of the issues.
After his presidency was over and even after his death Mamie Eisenhower continued to be active in the political arena. She was also very involved with charities and worked with other incumbent first lady’s such as Jackie Kennedy.
What she would not do though, was to side with the women’s liberation movement, she opposed using the title MS instead of Mrs. and she stated she had no idea what women needed to be liberated from.
Montreal’s Concordia University http://wsdb.concordia.ca/ has a wonderful women’s studies program for anyone who is interested