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Lot 42: President Eisenhower Autograph Manuscript Fragment Announcing his 1956 Re-Election Bid
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
26 October 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: President Eisenhower Autograph Manuscript Fragment Announcing his 1956 Re-Election Bid: “The matters I have in mind are serious ones… for all of us; they affect… our present and our future” ********** EISENHOWER, DWIGHT D. (1890-1969). American general and 34th president of the United States. AMs. Unsigned with a doodle of a kite. 2/3pp. 4to. (Washington, D.C., circa September 14, 1956). Twelve lines of notes in President Eisenhower’s hand for his proposed speech announcing his re-election campaign on September 19, 1956. Written on the verso of a September 14, 1956 confidential memorandum on White House stationery from his aide and speechwriter EMMET J. HUGHES (1920-1982, “Emmet”). ********** “Tonight, I ask the privilege of coming to you have asked to come hope I may talk with quietly into your homes- to talk with you free of the distractions normal to any most meetings during a political campaign. The matters I have in mind are serious ones they are too for all of us; they affect us our present and our future. They are the problems…” ********** Hughes’ typed memorandum reads: ********** “1. You will see that this is cut considerably. And two of the present eleven pages are really half-pages. I think we can judge the need of further cutting only after you have had a chance to test your own reading-time. It may well be close to the right length now. 2. I have gone over the whole text with Secretary Dulles today. He likes it very much and specifically approves of the foreign policy sections. He is going to read a copy carefully over the weekend, then give me any minor verbal changes he may wish. 3. He has suggested a revision of the bipartisanship section. He advised omitting reference to the Congressional leaders sharing his missions – and including the UN matter. I have done so. For what it’s worth, my opinion is that this is the best way to treat the matter. Governor Adams concurs. 4. I shall of course be available anytime Monday to do whatever further you will wish… P.S. I have also attached an optional opening -- the original one -- for the speech. Some critics like one better, some the other. Obviously, whichever seems more right and logical to you is what it should be.” ********** Elected president during the tense years of the Cold War, Eisenhower’s experiences in World War II and as NATO’s commander left him convinced about the importance of military preparedness and possible use of force. Simultaneously, he used diplomacy to navigate through the perilous events of world politics and, in so doing, ended the Korean War to oversee an era of peace and prosperity not experienced by Americans since the 1920s. ********** On September 19, 1956, Eisenhower delivered a speech on television and radio kicking off his reelection campaign. The delivered address over television and radio that incorporated Eisenhower’s manuscript reads as follows: ********** “Tonight I ask the privilege of coming quietly into your homes to talk with you on some serious national subjects--without the noise and extravagance usual during a political campaign. I want to talk of one word--and of many things. The word is--Peace. And the many things are its many and momentous meanings,” (www.presidency.ucsb.edu). ********** Despite a 1955 heart attack and speculation that he would not seek a second term, Eisenhower was easily nominated at the August, 1956 Republican National Convention. The subsequent contest became a rematch of the 1952 election with former Illinois governor, Adlai Stevenson leading another failed challenge against Eisenhower. ********** Our notes were used in the opening of Eisenhower’s speech and contain numerous corrections and passages that have been struck through in his hand. The president has also added a doodle of a kite at the bottom of the page. Eisenhower, like Winston Churchill, was an amateur artist who found time to paint during his presidency, often giving the works to friends. “We imagine White House meetings to be efficient and focused on grave matters; we don’t imagine the president dithering, daydreaming, or making idle scribbles – especially during moments of national crisis. But presidents, like the rest of us, doodle. Dwight Eisenhower drew sturdy, 1950s images: tables, pencils, nuclear weapons… More than any other president, Eisenhower doodled on agendas, memos, and other official documents,” (“All the Presidents’ Doodles: A history in sketches,” The Atlantic). ********** Emmett’s memorandum about the speech mentions Llewelyn Sherman Adams (1899-1986), former congressman and governor of New Hampshire and Eisenhower’s powerful chief of staff for six years, and John Foster Dulles (1888-1959) who served as secretary of state during both of Eisenhower’s terms. ********** With nominal wear and very fine. Autograph manuscripts penned by Eisenhower during his presidency are rare.