In the waning days of his presidency, a 70-year-old Dwight D. Eisenhower fled Washington with his wife, Mamie, to their farm in Gettysburg. He was facing the impending reality of life after the Oval Office, a time marked by uncertainty.
Presidential historian Richard Norton Smith offered a peek behind the curtain at those private lives during Thursday’s morning lecture, titled “Hail and Farewell: An Exclusive Trade Union.” Smith’s talk was the penultimate lecture for Week Nine, themed “The Presidents Club.”
“Ike faced the conundrum of a retirement for which there was no retirement policy,” Smith said. “To guide him, Eisenhower had only his own instincts and the often dispiriting examples of those who had gone before.”