Eisenhower, Dwight D
(1890-1969) 34th President of the United States (1953-1961). Archive of 57 letters totalling 64 pages, written between 1949 and 1968 to Don Belding of the advertising agency Foote, Cone, and Belding in Los Angeles. Fifty-six are typed letters signed, one is an autograph letter signed (1964), one has a holograph postscript, and an agenda from a directors' meeting of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge has a self portrait, a mike, and other small drawings by Ike, signed with his full name. The letters encompass Eisenhower's tenure as president of Columbia University, as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, as presidential candidate, as President, and the years after the presidency. Belding was a big supporter of Eisenhower and also got him involved in the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, a non-profit education organization founded in 1949.
Sixteen typed letters are signed as President, on The White House stationery, for a total of 19 pp, cuarto, written between Feb. 17, 1953 and Oct. 7, 1958. Five are signed "Dwight D. Eisenhower," ten are signed "DE" and one is signed in type. Among the letters signed while Eisenhower was not president, nine are signed in full, two are signed "Eisenhower," one is signed "Ike," 22 are signed "D.E.," and seven are signed "D.D.E." The letters are in fine condition and many have transmittal envelopes.
There are many pleasantries exchanged in the letters, but also matters of substance. In a 1952 letter, Ike thanks Belding for "suggesting a more positive approach to the psychological warfare program." In 1953, "You propound an interesting and provocative thesis in suggesting that those tenets common to all the world's great religions be used as the basis for our psychological warfare approach." In 1954, he thanks Belding for sending "the original of General Order #16 issued by Mead Quarters Defences on June 22, 1864," and in 1955, for sending him "one of the copies of the watch believed to have been used by General Washington at Valley Forge."
In May 1958, the President writes a long, important letter detailing his plan "to secure legislation under which the Defense Department may be organized to meet modern security requirements with maximum efficiency and minimum cost." Much excellent content, including his belief that "the Secretary of Defense must, under broad policies prescribed by the Congress, make sure that the Defense establishment operates under single direction, is responsive to changing needs, and is in addition economically administered." In July 1958, he reports that "the Defense Reorganization plan has been passed…very much in the form I proposed it to the Congress." In October 1958, he lays out the reasons he hopes the 86th Congress will be "solidly Republican in character" and attaches an entire page with a list of 18 accomplishments of his administration, including the Korean war stopped, satellites launched, Social Security coverage expanded, unemployment insurance expanded, inflation braked, new interstate super highways, and numerous others. In another important letter as President (May 14, 1960), he fears that the mutual security problem is endangered, stating "At stake here are the NATO and SEATO alliance structures, and the defense postures of South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Pakistan. Also…the strivings of hundreds of millions of people who look to us…."
The post-presidential letters, written from Gettysburg or Palm Desert, include much information about his involvement as chairman of the Freedoms Foundation; one letter (Feb. 24, 1964) reports on his chat with President Johnson about the Foundation and his efforts to get LBJ involved. Ike also agrees to be Grand Master of the Tournament of Roses (1963), and in the last couple of letters in 1968, writes about his recurring health problems. He would die on March 28, 1969. Overall fine condition. Estimated Value $15,000 - 20,000