EISENHOWER, DWIGHT D. 1890-1969.
IKE'S SWAGGER STICK.
Swagger stick, in figured hardwood, 22 inches long. Accompanied by: 1) sepia-toned silver print photograph of Eisenhower by Bertram Park, signed and inscribed by Eisenhower, to Major Ernest Lee, A.D.C. and dated London, September 25, 1942; 2) four small news photographs depicting Eisenhower with swagger stick, apparently in Sicily and/or North Africa (and numerous photocopies of other swagger stick photographs); and 3) typed order signed by Eisenhower awarding the bronze star to his Aide-de-camp, Ernest Lee, with embossed seal of Supreme Allied Headquarters, dated from Headquarters / European Theater of Operations, April 30, 1945.
FINE EMBLEM OF EISENHOWER'S COMMAND. Eisenhower, along with Patton, was one of a small vanguard of American WWII generals to carry a swagger stick, a powerful symbol of authority whose antecedents include the Roman fasces, Napoleonic batons, and British Army regimental sticks. Swagger sticks reached a height of popularity in the U.S. Armed Forces in the late 1950s. This stick derives from the estate of Colonel Ernest "Tex" Lee who was Ike's Executive Officer and A-D-C throughout the War. Eisenhower met Lee at Fort Sam Houston in the summer of 1941 and found him so useful that he invited him to Washington D.C. where Lee was reassigned to the War Department in December 1941. Lee was at Ike's side during the campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, and across liberated Europe. After the War, Lee was active in Eisenhower's Presidential campaign. Lee was killed in an automobile accident in 1965 and his papers were gifted to the Eisenhower Library in Abilene in 1983 by his widow. Much, however, was retained by his sons, and other Eisenhower artifacts with Lee family provenance include numerous papers, photographs and documents, his staff car flag, a leather sword cane, and his four-star general helmet. Eisenhower owned at least one other swagger stick (a gift from the Panamanian government in 1946) and the sword cane. However, the present example seems to be the one alluded to by Eisenhower's chauffeur and alleged mistress Kay Summersby as that which he used in North Africa until he abandoned it shortly before he became Supreme Allied Commander in Europe "lest [the small swagger stick] brand him as too pro-English in mannerism" (Eisenhower Was My Boss, 1948, p 156).