In the fall of 1915, Mamie Doud arrived in San Antonio, Texas to spend a warm winter with her wealthy parents away from Denver’s snow and cold. Mamie was eighteen years old and had just finished up at Miss Wolcott’s finishing school.
One afternoon in October, Mamie was invited to a party at the house of her friend Lulu Harris, who was the wife of an officer at Fort Sam Houston. When Mamie arrived, she mingled for a while with the other guests on the lawn until she realized that a young second lieutenant who had just arrived was staring intently at her.
Mamie thought to herself that this was just about the handsomest man she had ever seen and stared right back. Within moments she found herself introduced to the young officer with freshly pressed uniform and polished boots.
Mamie was “a vivacious and attractive girl, smaller than average, saucy in the look about her face and in her whole attitude.” Ikey was a dashing West Point graduate who had just turned twenty-five.
He invited her to walk with him for an inspection tour of the fort’s guard posts. She didn’t think twice and they set off, laughing and chatting as they toured the post.
The next day Ikey called and asked Mamie to go dancing, but she already had a date. He called again, and again.
When she returned from dates her other beaus would find Dwight Eisenhower waiting on her parent’s porch. Four months later, on St. Valentine’s Day 1916, Dwight gave Mamie a miniature of his West Point class ring, and they were formally engaged.
Mamie’s parents liked the young officer, but Mamie had just turned nineteen and was used to a comfortable life in a big house with plenty of servants and they worried about how she would adapt to the transient life of an army wife.
Mamie didn’t care, and she didn’t care about a large society wedding with a formal gown either.
On July 1, 1916 Mamie Doud, aged 19, married Lieutenant Dwight D. Eisenhower, aged 25, in the first-floor music room of her parents’ home on Lafayette Street in Denver. The ceremony performed by Reverend William Williamson of the Central Presbyterian Church.
Following the wedding the newlyweds honeymooned a few days in Eldorado Springs, and then visited the groom’s parents in Abilene.
Then they settled into the lieutenant’s living quarters at Fort Sam Houston, the first of countless temporary homes which they would share.