One-of-a-kind original drawing by Earle D. Chesney presented to Robert E. Merriam, the Deputy Assistant to the President, in commemoration of Hawaii’s admission into the United States of America, signed in the lower border in fountain pen by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and in various ink types by 46 members of his White House staff. Accomplished in pencil, ink, and watercolor on an off-white 14.5 x 21.75 sheet, the artwork depicts Merriam with two books and holding an American flag as he daydreams of a hula-dancing elephant with quote above: “By Golly, I Didn’t Think I Could Swing It.” A handwritten caption to the upper left reads: “When the President signed the Proclamation admitting Hawaii into the State of the Union, (4:00 P.M. Friday, Aug. 21, 1959) it was of great historic significance—for the first time in 158 years there would not be a delegate in the membership of the Congress of the United States.” Signed by the artist, who dates the drawing to December 14, 1959.
Staff signatures include: Jack Z. Anderson, Phillip Areeda, Earle D. Chesney, James S. Cook, Jr., William Draper, John Eisenhower, Frederic Fox, Andrew J. Goodpaste, Robert Keith Gray, Homer Gruenther, Bob Hampton, Karl Harr, Marjorie Hein, Stephen Hess, William Hopkins, George Kistiakowsky, James Lambie, Eugene J. Lyons, Edward A. McCabe, Henry R. McPhee, Jr., L. Arthur Minnich, Malcolm Moos, Don Paarlberg, Bradley H. Patterson, Wilton Persons, Doug Price, Christopher H. Russell, Howard McCrum Snyder, Thomas E. Stephens, Richard W. Streiff, Anne Wheaton, Clyde Wheeler, Ann Whitman, and more. Framed to a slightly larger size and in fine condition.
Chesney (1900-1966) served with the Veterans Administration before joining the Eisenhower White House staff on March 4, 1954. During his naval service in WW2 he became rather famous as the cartoonist who invented the naval character, 'Eggburt of the Navy,' who, like the Army's 'Sad Sack,' entertained service men and women around the world. In addition to his cartoons, he drew thousands of portraits, with many members of Congress and high-ranking officers of the Armed Forces among his subjects. The originals of many of his White House cartoons are on collection at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.