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The time passed swiftly as the two old friends and classmates sat in a Concord, N.H. hotel, swapping reminiscences about the old days at Dartmouth. In the three years since their graduation, class of '20, Richard Pearson had worked as a textbook salesman, saw ahead of him a promising career in book publishing. Slim young Sherman Adams was already a successful lumberman. Preparing at last to leave, Salesman Pearson grinned and said he guessed they must have talked about nearly everything. Adams agreed. Then he added matter-of-factly: "I got married today." The startled Pearson spun about. "Where's the bride?" he cried. Replied

Adams: "Out front in the car." Pearson, only half-believing, insisted that he be shown. "Sure enough," recalls Pearson, now with Macmillan Co., "there I saw the littlest thing curled up on the front seat, fast asleep. That was Rachel. She was 18." Wondrously, the marriage of Rachel and Sherman Adams did not end on that first day, or even the next. It has continued for 32 years and, although marked by a curious and continuing sort of one-upmanship (in which Rachel Adams is more than capable of holding her own), is one of unusual devotion. This is the flinty touchstone to Sherman Adams: often inconsiderate, always demanding, possessed of the disposition of a grizzly with a barked shin, Adams has in him rare strengths of loyalty, integrity and selflessness that inspire the respect and confidence—and sometimes even the fierce affection—of those closest to him. By his own dedication to work, he leads others to labor far beyond their ordinary capacities. Hard-minded and hard-muscled (5 ft. 8 in., 140 Ibs.), Sherman Adams is an ideal man for his job—and his job has been even tougher and more important since Dwight Eisenhower's heart attack.

The Closely Knit Headquarters. Adams' official title is "the Assistant to the President" of the U.S. Adams himself modestly describes his duties as the "management of the President's desk." President Eisenhower says it another way: "I think of Adams as my chief of staff, but I don't call him that because the politicians think it sounds too military."

Harry Truman was the first U.S. President to make a real start toward establishing an adequate White House staff system. Truman, who greatly improved the administration of the presidency, deemed his staff of such importance that he conducted many meetings himself—and that was probably a mistake. On paper, the White House organization under Truman appeared much the same as that under Eisenhower. But by working so directly with his staff members, Truman encouraged each to come straight to him with his problems. Thus Assistant to the President John Steelman was bypassed, decisions were made without his knowledge. Truman was constantly bothered, and the whole staff concept was often defeated.

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