Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Douglas and Mabel McKay Papers, 1905-2014

Scope and Content Note

The Douglas and Mabel McKay Papers consist of materials created and assembled by the McKays that document Doug McKay's student years at Oregon Agricultural College, military service, political career in Oregon, and service as Secretary of the Interior in the Cabinet of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The collection includes appointment calendars, artifacts, books, certificates, correspondence, diplomas, drawings, event programs, greeting cards, guest books, a map, military records, newspaper clippings, photograph albums, photographs, plaques, a poster, ribbons, scrapbooks, speeches, and ticket stubs. The bulk of the collection consists of scrapbooks with clippings and ephemera documenting the years 1949-1957. Chronological and subject files comprise another major component of the collection and include newspaper clippings, event programs, and photographs. These extend from McKay's student years at OAC to the death of Doug in 1959 and Mabel in 1970.

The Papers include approximately 850 photographs, primarily b/w prints. Portrait photographs of Doug, Mabel, the McKays' children and grandchildren, the McKays' parents, and members of the Eisenhower Cabinet are part of the collection. Many of the images document events and activities associated with McKay's political career and depict him at ceremonies, receiving visitors in Washington D.C., socializing at dinners and parties, and campaigning for office. Several of these photographs feature the McKays together. Images of Camp Adair during World War II are also available in the collection.

Artifacts within the collection reflect McKay's military service, student experience, and political career and include belt buckles, bullet casings, buttons, medals, flags, ribbons, patches, and a lawn sign.

A small addition to the collection (Accession 2014:036) consists of I Baked a Cake for Ike and Mamie: A Memoir of Douglas and Mabel McKay - Letters from Washington, D.C. (2014), written by the McKays' granddaughter, Eileen Hadley Givens. Givens draws upon letters written by Mabel McKay to describe the McKays' life in Washington, D.C. while Doug McKay served as Secretary of the Interior from 1953 to 1956. The book describes interactions between the McKays and Eisenhowers and the duties of the Secretary of the Interior as well as family history.

Another addition to the Douglas and Mabel McKay Papers (Accession 2014:051)is made up of an identification card, newspaper clippings, photographs, a radio script, speeches, and schedule notes. These materials primarily reflect the various social engagements of the McKays during Douglas' position as Secretary of the Interior from 1953 to 1956. The clippings, schedule notes, and speeches by Mabel document official trips undertaken by the McKays, ceremonies attended, and social events with First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, Patricia Nixon, and other cabinet wives. The clippings and photos also reflect the McKays as a part of public events and ceremonies during Douglas' term as governor of Oregon (1949 to 1953). Numbering 82 prints in total, the photographs depict Douglas and Mabel in portrait shots and at various events, such as the Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival, the Barcelona International Faire, a visit with members of the Blackfoot Indian tribe, and a luncheon party for Mamie Eisenhower. Others featured in these images include Jimmy Stewart, Senator Mark Hatfield, Ginger Rogers, and Pope Pius XII. Most of these items were gathered together by McKay Granddaughter Eileen Hadley Givens in the course of research and writing the book "I Baked a Cake for Ike and Mamie."

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