Previously published in Examiner
Part 2 of the first lady series
Maimie Eisenhower, First Lady of the 1950’s continued
Maimie Eisenhower, the devoted wife
Mamie never questioned her husband’s decisions. Her concern was that of women’s issues within the home. She was one of the best-dressed women of her time and she was an immaculate housekeeper. Mamie continued to support her husband through his presidential campaigns in later years.
Here was one time in history, when the campaign efforts focused on the women’s vote. Getting the voting housewives on board was crucial for the success of Eisenhower’s election. Mamie helped edit the speeches for her husband so they he could reach the level of the average American citizen.
Mamie was always visible on his election docket and she was very popular. Everyone wanted to see Mamie. Yet, she was a product of the 1950’s and believed a woman’s place was in the home. Mamie Eisenhower disproved of women working outside the home. She maintained a nice white middle class view of women, though this examiner is not sure how she felt about poor women who had to work, or single women who had to work. Did she think about all strata of society or merely thought of her own?
The first lady was in some respects traditional but in other respects forward looking.
Mamie Eisenhower invited The African American singer Marion Anderson to sing at her husband’s 1957 inaugural ceremony. She also invited black African American maids to remain in Washington for the duration of the inaugural events. Now, this may not sound like anything special in today’s times; but, we must remember Washington was still segregated during those times and this gesture in fact, was a forward looking barrier-breaking invitation.
Mamie Eisenhower, just an average housewife
Perhaps Mamie did not see, or ignored her celebrity status for here is the first lady of the United States stating that she was just a wife and a hostess for her husband. We women can all see that she was much more than that even if she couldn’t see it herself.
To be continued
Montreal’s Concordia University has a wonderful women’s studies program for anyone who is interested