Granite State Stories: The first presidential chief of staff

  • New Hampshire Gov. Sherman Adams sits in the governor’s office, 1950. Inscribed to Owen Johnson. Courtesy of the N.H. Historical Society

Monday, December 25, 2017

New Hampshire Gov. Sherman Adams spearheaded Ike Eisenhower’s campaign in the 1952 New Hampshire presidential primary and went on to serve as his campaign manager in the general election.

After Eisenhower’s landslide victory in November 1952, Adams left the Granite State to work in Eisenhower’s administration in Washington, D.C., managing the day-to-day operations of the White House.

As a career military man, Eisenhower adopted a military organization for his staff, with Adams being dubbed “Chief of Staff.” In this position, Adams exercised enormous influence over White House policy, particularly domestic affairs.

For the six years he served as chief of staff, he was the most powerful man in Washington, even reportedly more powerful than the president. Since that time, all other presidents have appointed a chief of staff using a similar model.

N.H. Historical Society