By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Zach AllanJuly 31, 2014
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (July 31, 2014) -- A first-of-its-kind artifact was donated to the Fort Meade Museum, Friday.
Judith L. Nowottnick, a seventh grade history teacher at Arundel Middle School in Odenton, Maryland, donated a letter written by Mamie Eisenhower, wife of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, describing the time she and her husband lived on then-Camp Meade.
During World War I, Fort Meade was established in 1917, as Camp Meade, a cantonment for troops drafted for the war.
Nowottnick's mother, Catherine L. O'Malley, penned the only existing history book focusing on Odenton. More than 40 years ago, she wrote a letter to Mamie Eisenhower requesting information on Odenton during the time she and her husband resided on post.
"This is the only primary-source document like this we have ever received about President Eisenhower's time on Meade," said Fort Meade Museum Director Robert Johnson. "Because the Eisenhower Presidential Library exists, that is where the bulk of papers concerning him go."
The letter, dated 1970, briefly recounts the Eisenhowers' time on post after World War I. "We had quarters on the part of the post known as 'Franklin,'" wrote the former first lady. "My husband was a Tank Corps officer along with General George Patton and others."
Nowottnick also donated a page from her mother's manuscript outlining how she used the information in Mamie Eisenhower's letter.
"I was going to hand this over to the Odenton Heritage Society," Nowottnick said. "But I really felt like it belonged on Fort Meade."
It was a decision Johnson was delighted she made.
"Every service member who spends time on Fort Meade is important," Johnson said. "But when you have a Soldier who goes on to be commanding general of the allied forces in World War II, and then to become president, having artifacts of their time here becomes that much more important."
Beginning at the end of August, the letter will be on display in the Fort Meade Museum, located at 4674 Griffin Ave. Hours are Wednesdays through Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.