|Mamie Doud married Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower when she was all of nineteen. Over the ensuing thirty-eight years, the couple lived in twenty-seven homes on army bases throughout the world. It was said that what made Mamie happiest about moving into the White House was that it came with a four-year lease. During her husband's illustrious military career, Mamie was content to be "looking after Ike," the only role she ever wanted. But, Mamie was also a political asset for Ike, radiating warmth and friendliness whenever she appeared with him. Although she said little in public, she helped generate the tremendous grass-roots support enjoyed by her husband.
As First Lady, Mamie took an active interest in planning state dinners both in terms of the menus and the decor. Her love of flowers manifested itself in beautiful arrangements and centerpieces. These were later sent to local hospitals at the express wishes of the First Lady. She continued the cataloging of the White House china collection, an effort which had fallen into some obscurity even before the renovations of the Truman era. Known for her "white-glove" inspection tours of the White House, Mamie was nevertheless considered "very jolly" by the staff. She loved expensive gowns, television (especially the soap operas) and the color pink: paint, carpets, and linens. The color became her trademark. Although she adopted no particular cause, she was well-known for answering every letter that was sent to her, even acknowledging the thousands of get-well cards sent during Ike's illnesses.
One of the few sorrows in the Eisenhowers' life, however, was the death of their three-year-old son Doud Dwight, from scarlet fever in 1921. Years later, Mamie recalled her suffering at the time of her son's death as the most terrible night of her life. Their second son John, born a year and a half later, helped console the grieving couple.
Mamie Eisenhower was named the most admired woman in the world in a 1969 Gallup Poll. Until her death in 1979, she remained loved and respected by the American public.