The Man In The Vicuna Coat – Sherman Adams – September 22, 1958 – Past Daily Reference Room
Scandals at the White House have never been anything new – they happened in just about every administration since Washington. The Eisenhower Administration in the 1950s was no different. White House Chief Assistant Sherman Adams, former governor of New Hampshire had a particularly contentious relationship with those he came in contact with. Dubbed “The Abominable No-Man” Adams was blunt spoken and rubbed just about everyone the wrong way. To his credit, Adams is acknowledged as setting the example for White House Chiefs of Staff for many administrations to come.
But when word that Adams had accepted a Vicuna coat as a gift from longtime friend Bernard Goldfine, a textile manufacturer who just happened to be seeking White House favors, as the result of having difficulties with Federal agencies in connection with the Textile industry, in which Goldfine had an interest; eyebrows raised. In addition to the rare coat, made from the silky wool of a Llama-like animal found in the Andes, it surfaced that Adams had received many other gifts and loans amounting to some $2,000 in Hotel bills and a $2,400 Oriental rug – the feeding frenzy began.
So after a series of accusations, discoveries – vehement denials and the usual Capitol Hill tit-for-tat, Adams was forced to announce his resignation and went public with his revelations.
As a reminder that, even the carefree, somewhat naive 1950s were anything but – here is that resignation from Sherman Adams, as it was broadcast to the nation on the evening of September 22, 1958.