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To Mrs. Robert M. Nolan
January 1, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]
Dear Mrs. Nolan:
I appreciated very much your note of Christmas greetings but was sorry to learn that Nolan had not been feeling well and that you had had such an unfortunate accident.1 However, your morale seems to be excellent, with a triumphant spirit over misfortune.
You will be interested to know that we had a coach dog, or Dalmatian as they now call them, who looked very much like Duke. He had quite a pedigree, was the grandson of a national champion. Stettinius, the present Secretary of State, gave him to me. However, he proved to be somewhat of a traveling man and made a specialty of killing chickens, so after infuriating three neighbors of ours at Leesburg in one day while I was in Cairo and Teheran, Mrs. Marshall enlisted him in the Army down at Front Royal.2 My stepdaughter Molly saw him there not so long ago and he had not proved to be a very valiant soldier, was gun-shy, and delighted to see anyone, friend or enemy. In a movie of the Army dogs the other day they had him sitting on top of his kennel, so if you see that picture you may know who this replica of Duke really is.
With my warmest regards to you both,
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Retired Colonel Nolan, a career soldier who had served in the Spanish-American War and the Great War, was suffering with arthritis, and Mrs. Nolan had broken her arm. The Nolans were longtime friends from when Marshall served at Fort Clark, Texas, in 1905 on a mapping expedition. (Viola B. Nolan to Marshall, December 22, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General]. For information on Marshall’s mapping expedition, see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #1-024 [1: 28-34].)
2. Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., had given a dalmatian named Fleet to the Marshalls. Mrs. Marshall characterized Fleet as “beautiful but dumb” and frequently getting into mischief. They took him to the Front Royal, Virginia, K-9 School, where “he turned out to be the worst coward in the K-9 Army. . . . In a newsreel that George and I saw of the K-9 School, Fleet made his appearance as the dunce of the school.” (Katherine Tupper Marshall, Together: Annals of an Army Wife [New York: Tupper and Love, 1946], pp. 137-39.) For further information about Fleet, see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-442 [2: 495-96]. George and Lily Marshall are pictured with a dog named Duke at Fort Leavenworth in 1908. (George C. Marshall Interviews and Reminiscences for Forrest C. Pogue, 3d ed. [Lexington, Va.: George C. Marshall Research Foundation, 1996], p. 208 [#16].)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 4-5.