Letter to Clifford Roberts Regarding the Eisenhower Cracker Barrel Presented to the Augusta National Golf Club by George Humphrey.
[ Released November 17, 1957. Dated July 25, 1957 ]
Last evening I had a farewell stag dinner for George Humphrey. Those present were members of the Cabinet and a few staff officers. In addition, we had George's successor, Bob Anderson.
During the evening there was only one man who felt impelled to "rise to his feet" to make a talk. That was George. And his effort took a strange turn. He described at some length his recent visit to the Augusta National. The incident or occasion that had impressed him most was a Sunday morning visit we had sitting in the golf shop. I do not recall the identity of those present, but George and I were sitting with three or four others scattered around the shop.
The informality of the occasion, the free exchange of views among good fellows with no pressures or exhortations marring the quality of a pleasant conversation left an indelible imprint on George's mind. As we left the golf shop that morning, I remember him remarking, "The greatest deliberative body this country has ever known was the old country store. This morning's experience was almost a replica of the thousands of such meetings that took place only a few years back, sitting around a round-bellied stove, and with a cracker barrel always handy from which a man could extract a soda cracker to nibble on while he listened."
George recited this whole experience at some length to the dinner guests and said that from the moment he had such a pleasant conversation in the golf shop, he had determined to provide a cracker barrel for the Augusta National. This he did, and he brought the result to the dinner and told the party about it.
The barrel has been made on special order. It is beautifully bound with brass hoops and has a lid which is fastened to the keg itself by a chain. On the side is a little brass plate which reads "The Eisenhower Cracker Barrel, presented to the Augusta National Golf Club by G. M. Humphrey, in 1957." George of course intends that the cracker barrel shall be actually installed in the golf shop and he says that it is your responsibility to keep it properly supplied with crackers.
Of course you would know nothing about cracker barrels and country stores. I understand you were raised as a city boy. But the glee that at least two-thirds of the dinner guests expressed upon hearing George's description of the cracker barrel, the sand box and the hot stove, provided ample evidence that most Americans are well acquainted with the old grocery store discussions.
I suggest also that on the basis of this letter you write to George, now in Cleveland, and tell him that you are looking forward to seeing his gift at the Augusta National.
Note: This letter, released at Augusta, Ga., was addressed to Mr. Roberts as Chairman of the Executive Committee, Augusta National Golf Club. At the President's suggestion Mr. Roberts wrote the following letter to Mr. Humphrey, dated July 29, 1957:
The President has informed me of the White House unveiling by you of the Eisenhower Cracker Barrel and I hasten to make appropriate response on behalf of the Augusta National. To this end I have, by making use of the telephone, risked being accused of violating the spirit of your project. But by utilizing this modern instrument to confer with Bob Jones, I am able to promptly say to you that your barrel now has a home.
Over the years the Augusta National has declined to accept golf libraries, Halls of Fame and a museum. But a Cracker Barrel is something we can enthusiastically embrace because we understand it and like it and everything it implies. May its sturdy staves and strong bindings long offer the munching material for companionable gatherings and salty observations.
In humble gratefulness I accept the role you assign to me. Henceforth my personal fortune and my best efforts shall be dedicated to measures designed to keep our Cracker Barrel well filled at all times.
I join with the President in suggesting the fall of the year as the proper season for the installation of the Cracker Barrel. Its exact location in the Golf Shop requires study by all of us.
Long live the donor of the Eisenhower Cracker Barrel.
Most sincerely yours,
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to Clifford Roberts Regarding the Eisenhower Cracker Barrel Presented to the Augusta National Golf Club by George Humphrey. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233969