Today’s post comes from Timothy Rives, deputy director of the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. In honor of Veterans Day and those who have worn a uniform while serving their country, here’s the story behind the famous jacket now on display in our exhibit “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures.”
General Dwight D. Eisenhower considered the Army’s World War II military uniform to be restricting and poorly suited for combat. Instead he had a standard issue wool field jacket tailored to be “very short, very comfortable, and very natty looking.” The resulting “Eisenhower jacket” or “Ike jacket,” as it came to be known, was standard issue to American troops after November 1944. This “Ike jacket” was worn by Eisenhower.
Ike urged theater-wide adoption of the shorter jacket in a May 5, 1943, letter to General George C. Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff:
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I have no doubt that you have been impressed by the virtual impossibility of appearing neat and snappy in our field uniform. Given a uniform which tends to look a bit tough, and the natural proclivities of the American soldier quickly create a general impression of a disorderly mob. From this standpoint alone, the matter is bad enough; but
Still trying to think of a clever costume to wear on Halloween? We’ve listed some of our favorite suggestions below. (And if anyone actually takes us up on these suggestions, please send us a picture!)
I Like Ike!
Are you a power couple? How about combining the the upcoming election with some historic campaign fun into a matched costume?
This costume might be the easiest! You’ll just need two bathrobes and a hair ribbon to recreate a lighthearted moment on Ike and Mamie’s whistle stop campaign when their train stopped in Salisbury, NC. Mamie persuaded Ike to let the press snap their in dressing gowns. Bonus points if you make “I like Ike” buttons and hand them out at the party.
America the Beautiful
Another option for a pair of friends is to go as an unfinished Mount Rushmore.
Take a white board and sketch out a mountain side. Cut two curves in the top corner to rest your chins on. Apply white costume make up liberally to your faces. The person portraying George might need a wig. For the unfinished Jefferson, some white play dough stuck to your face should help convey a sense of unfinished stone. This costume might be … [ Read all ]
Do sideburns set your heart aflutter? It’s been 35 years since Elvis Presley died, but judging from the media coverage and chatter on Twitter with #ElvisWeek, his fan base is still enthusiastic. But the some of the most passionate fan letters about the bewhiskered singer can be found in the National Archives.
In 1958, Linda Kelly, Sherry Bane, and Mickie Mattson in Montana were beside themselves (“we will just about die!”) at the idea of Elvis having to take a razor to his sideburns as part of his patriotic duty when he was drafted into the Army in March 1958. They wrote to President Eisenhower, but unfortunately their favorite singer still had to serve—and groom himself according to Army regulations. The letter is now a part of the holdings of the Eisenhower Presidential Library.
Fans also bypassed the President and sent pleas directly to the First Lady, hoping she would be more sympathetic to their cause. But this letter to Mamie Eisenhower did not end up in the Eisenhower Presidential Library records. Instead, the First Lady’s office sent the letter to the Army, with the notation “Respectfully referred for appropriate handling.”
Posted by Hilary on August 17, 2012, under Facial Hair Fridays.
Tags: army, Eisenhower Presidential Library, Elvis, Ike, Mamie, national personnel records center, OMPF, sideburns, St. Louis
Congratulations to Andrew P, who won the approval of our guest judge Samuel Rushay, senior archivist at the Truman Presidential Library. Your caption gave us much-needed insight into the hearts of political mascots whose vote lies with other party. Check your email for a code to use for 15% in the eStore!
Sam recently appeared in our newest “Inside the Vaults” videos to talk about some unusual sketches that survived a trip through the jungle and eventually were accessioned by the Truman Library.
This photo doesn’t have any mysterious drawings, but our sharp-eyed readers did catch the writing in the corner that tells a little bit of the story of this record from 1952. The description reads: “Photo of Mrs. Nelles Olson Becker of St. Paul, Minnesota, with a donkey, entitled ‘Not for Republican Ears.’ Signed: ‘To President Truman- Best Always- Nelles Olson Becker.’ This photo was published in the St. Paul Sunday Pioneer Press.”
In today’s photo, we’ve got another special animal and human moment. Give us your funniest caption in the comments below!