She had the most vulgar first name for a first lady since the surprisingly butch "Lou" Hoover (and not really fair to say, since there were only Eleanor and Bess, such prissy names, in between). There's something distinctly downmarket about "Mamie," as opposed to the more flamboyant Mame; the former calls to mind Mamie Van Doren, and the latter, of course, Mame Dennis.
It's no accident that Claude and Doris Upson, the odious stand-ins for all things babbitty and dreadful, insist on calling Mame Dennis "Mamie" - it sets them apart, immediately, as the middle-class drones they are.
Still, she had a little more style than legend has it:
Even if her trademark bangs weren't uniformly successful:
And she kept rather good company:
Is it possible that the two gentleman who have chosen to accompany the ladies over to the Smithsonian are J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson? What a party that must have made...
I suppose it should have been a hint to my poor beleaguered parents that when we went to Washington when I nine, the only thing I wanted to see in the whole city was the Smithsonian's exhibition of First Ladies Gowns. Mamie's is there, of course; and of course, it's pink - Mamie Pink.