3 December 2010
CHURCHILL, Winston S. Photograph signed and inscribed TO KAY SUMMERSBY, Dwight Eisenhower's driver during World War II. 7 7/8 x 6 1/8in., mounted on card, signed and inscribed along bottom margin of mount: "To Kay Summersby from Winston S. Churchill."
A fine association linking Churchill to Dwight Eisenhower's "office wife" during his years as SHAEF commander. Summersby was Ike's chauffeur from 1943 and 1945. The two were often photographed together and rumored to be intimate. They certainly became emotionally close, with Eisenhower turning to Summersby to unburden the stresses and cares of his job; and Summersby likewise turned to him for support after the death in action of her fiance. He traveled with her along with Omar Bradley and other SHAEF female staffers on a post-VE-Day vacation to the south of France. A deferential press reported none of this at the time. But the story gained momentum when Truman told a historian in the 1960s that Eisenhower had wanted to divorce Mamie and marry Kay, but was dissuaded by George Marshall. Summersby provided two accounts of the relationship: Ike Was My Boss in 1948, which described a chaste friendship between boss and assistant; a second, posthumous memoir appeared in 1975. This time, a cash-strapped Summersby told a more sensational story in Past Forgetting: My Love Affair with Dwight Eisenhower.
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