James Hagerty

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James Hagerty
James C. Hagerty and Pierre Salinger 6 December 1960
6th White House Press Secretary
In office
January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded by Roger Tubby
Succeeded by Pierre Salinger
Personal details
Born James Campbell Hagerty
(1909-05-09)May 9, 1909
Plattsburgh, New York, U.S.
Died April 11, 1981(1981-04-11) (aged 71)
Bronxville, New York, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Marjorie Lucas
Education Columbia University (BA)

James Campbell Hagerty (May 9, 1909 – April 11, 1981) served as the sixth White House Press Secretary from 1953 to 1961 during the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower. He is the only press secretary to serve two full presidential terms. He was known for providing much more detail on the lifestyle of the president than previous press secretaries; for example, he covered in great detail Eisenhower's medical condition. Most of the time, he handled routine affairs such as daily reports on presidential activities, defending presidential policies, and assisting diplomatic visitors. He handled embarrassing episodes, such as those related to the Soviet downing of an American spy plane, the U-2 in 1960. He handled press relations on Eisenhower's international trips, sometimes taking the blame from a hostile foreign press. Eisenhower often relied upon him for advice about public opinion, and how to phrase complex issues. Hagerty had a reputation for supporting civil rights initiatives.[1]


After his Irish Catholic family moved to New York when he was 3 years old, James Hagerty attended Evander Childs High School in the Bronx, before enrolling in and graduating from Blair Academy, which he attended for his last two years in high school. He graduated from Columbia College in 1934, and work as a reporter for The New York Times. He became the press secretary to Governor Thomas E. Dewey in 1943, and handled Dewey's presidential campaigns in 1944 and in 1948.[2] He was in charge of candidate Eisenhower's press office in the 1952 campaign, leading to his appointment as Press Secretary in January 1953. He introduced television cameras to press conferences in 1955. He occasionally handled political assignments from Eisenhower, such as liaison with the Senate. After Eisenhower left office in January 1961, Hagerty became a vice president of the ABC television network, serving 1961-1975.[3]

He appeared as a mystery challenger on the March 10, 1957, and panelist on the June 23, 1957 episodes of What's My Line?[4][5]


"One day I sat thinking, almost in despair; a hand fell on my shoulder and a voice said reassuringly: cheer up, things could get worse. So I cheered up and, sure enough, things got worse."[citation needed]

"If you lose your temper at a newspaper columnist, he'll get rich or famous or both"[citation needed]


  1. ^ Eleanora W. Schoenebaum, ed., Political Profiles: The Eisenhower Years (1977) 244-245
  2. ^ McQuiston, John T. "JAMES C. HAGERTY, 71, DIES; EISENHOWER PRESS SECRETARY". Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  3. ^ Weil, Martin (1981-04-12). "James Hagerty Dies at 71 in N.Y." Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  4. ^ What's My Line? - James C. Hagerty; Charles Boyer; James Michener (panel) (Mar 10, 1957)
  5. ^ What's My Line? - Gene Kelly; Martin Gabel(panel); James C. Hagerty (panel) (Jun 23, 1957)

Further reading

  • Parry‐Giles, Shawn J. "'Camouflaged' propaganda: The Truman and Eisenhower administrations’ covert manipulation of news." Western Journal of Communication (1996) 60#2 pp: 146-167.

Primary sources

  • Hagerty, James Campbell. The diary of James C. Hagerty: Eisenhower in mid-course, 1954-1955 (Indiana University Press, 1983), A primary source.
  • Salinger, Pierre, and James Campbell Hagerty. The Press and Presidential Leadership (University of Minnesota, School of Journalism., 1961); Salinger was the Press Secretary to President Kennedy

External links

  • Papers of James C. Hagerty, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library
  • Finding aid for James C. Hagerty Oral History, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library
Political offices
Preceded by
Roger Tubby
White House Press Secretary
Succeeded by
Pierre Salinger
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