MS-111: Papers of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Society
MS – 111: Papers of The Dwight D. Eisenhower Society
(10 boxes, 7.3 cubic feet)
Inclusive Dates: 1986-1999
Processed by: Ronald Couchman
Deed of Gift directly from The Dwight D. Eisenhower Society
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Society was founded on October 14, 1969, as a perpetual memorial to the General and to his legacy as a leader. The stated purpose of the Society was “to promote knowledge and understanding of the accomplishments of the 34th President of the United States and General of the Army; the code by which he lived; and the signal qualities that made him in his time the world’s most trusted figure.” To this end, the Society, in cooperation with Gettysburg College, sponsored an annual observance of his birth with guest speakers and other programming to examine the many facets of General Eisenhower’s life and career with special emphasis on the lessons which his leadership example hold for the present and the future. Speakers have included: former President Gerald Ford, General John W. Vessey, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, William Scranton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Richard L. Thornburgh, Governor of Pennsylvania. The Society played an active role in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Centennial Commission, chaired by Robert Dole, then the Minority Leader of the U.S. Senate, to mark the centennial of the General’s birth with a series of programs in Washington D.C., in Abilene, Kansas and at Gettysburg College. In addition, the Society carried out its mission by establishing an endowed scholarship fund at Gettysburg College to support needy students who exemplify some of the same qualities of honesty, integrity and leadership as exhibited in the General’s life; by supporting the preservation of the Eisenhower legacy through research grants and commissions of works of art; and by celebrating the Eisenhowers’ role as friends and neighbors to Gettysburg College and the citizens of the Gettysburg area.
Scope and Content Notes:
The collection contains The Eisenhower Society correspondence, administrative and program materials covering the period 1986-1999, including the Society’s increased activity and involvement in connection with the October, 1990 centennial celebration of Eisenhower’s birth. The collection is arranged into five series, I. Correspondence, II. Subject, III. Centennial Celebration 1990, IV. Eisenhower Legacy, V. Mamie Doud Eisenhower.
The correspondence in Series I is fairly routine including letters of inquiry and support for the Society, administrative attempts to expand membership and letters from members and others to various Society officials with suggestions for possible programs and activities. The letters hint at a number of internal conflicts between members and some Society officials regarding the activities and direction of the Society. Most original letters from prominent individuals and former U.S. Presidents had been removed from the collection and replaced with copies before being presented to Gettysburg College.
The subject series II includes material covering Board Meetings 1987-1999, committee activity, D-Day observances, Eisenhower Convocations for Adams County High School seniors 1987-1996, agreements between the Society and Gettysburg College for joint sponsored programs, and other programming activity of the Society during the years included in this collection
Series III, the Eisenhower Centennial Celebration, records what served as a high point of Society activity during the period through the group’s active involvement in the national centennial celebration of Eisenhower’s birth. The material in this series covers the activities of the National Dwight D. Eisenhower Centennial Commission, the state commissions in Pennsylvania and Kansas, and offers a detailed look into the planning and execution of the Centennial Celebration at Gettysburg on October 14, 1990, chaired by Bob Hope with former U.S. President Gerald Ford as honorary chair. Jointly sponsored with Gettysburg College, the Gettysburg event included a celebratory convocation and a symposium of presentations and panel discussions highlighting Eisenhower’s accomplishments and leadership style as Supreme Allied Commander during World War II and as U.S. President with particular emphasis on lessons to be learned from his legacy. Also, this series contains copies of invitation and response letters to and from prominent individuals in connection with the Society’s creation of a listing of Centennial Honorary Trustees for the occasion and also a report of the Society’s attempt to spearhead efforts to pass legislation to establish an Eisenhower Memorial Scholarship program similar to the Truman Scholarship program at the national level.
Series IV includes material collected by the Society in its mission to preserve the Eisenhower legacy and includes newspaper clippings and other published articles about the Former President, copies of speeches giving to honor Eisenhower and to explain his legacy, and also references to the Eisenhowers as residences of Gettysburg, the Farm, and the Eisenhower family, specifically D. David and Julie Nixon Eisenhower.
Of special interest in this series is a collection of 120 letters send to the Society in response to a general solicitation through a letter to the editor appeal to newspapers in the United States and the United Kingdom by LeRoy E. Smith in 1985 and John Bex in 1989, as Presidents of the Society, enlisting the help of readers by asking them to send to the Society any personal stories, recollections, or anecdotes that they may have of Eisenhower. Most of the responses are from England or other parts of the UK. Many are wonderfully personal, sharing clear and lasting remembrances of personal or group encounters with Eisenhower during World War II and the years immediately following the armistice. A few reference incidents during and following the Eisenhower presidency.
Series V contains material from The Eisenhower Society papers that is most clearly identified with Mamie Eisenhower, including a copy of her Last Will and Testament, her personal address directory, and correspondence with Charles Wolf, her personal lawyer.