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Alfred M. Gruenther

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“I would never presume to compete with a Virginian in a kissing contest!

Alfred Maximilian Gruenther, 18991983.  U.S. Army General; NATO Supreme Commander; President, American National Red Cross.  Typed Letter Signed, one page, 6½" x 8½", on stationery of the American National Red Cross, Washington, D.C., April 10, 1957.

Gruenther writes a playful letter to Arthur Clarendon Smith:  “I would never presume to compete with a Virginian in a kissing contest!  As you could tell from the picture in the paper I am very much of an amateur in that field.  However, it was fun but I think you, now a Washingtonian, should be ashamed of the weather you provided on that day."

During World War II, Gruenther, a brilliant staff officer, was chief of staff of the 3rd Army (19411942) before he became deputy chief of staff to General Dwight D. Eisenhower in London (1942–1943), chief of staff of the 5th Army in Italy (1943–1944), and chief of staff of the 15th Army Group under General Mark W. Clark (1944–1945). He served as chief of staff of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (19501953) before becoming NATO Supreme Commander (1953–1956).  He retired from the Army in 1956, and in 1957 he became president of the American National Red Cross, a post he held until 1964.  He also served on various governmental advisory commissions.

The letter has normal mailing folds and tape stains across the corners from prior mounting.  Smith has noted "In Book" in blue ink at the top of the page, signifying that the letter was to go into his album.  Overall the letter is in fine condition.



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