Morgan L. Gies Presidential Vehicles Photographs Collection

Biographical / Historical Note

Morgan Gies, who assembled this collection, was born in 1908. As a young man he served in the Merchant Marine and operated a service station before becoming a member of the United States Secret Service in 1940. Almost immediately he was placed in

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Morgan Gies, who assembled this collection, was born in 1908. As a young man he served in the Merchant Marine and operated a service station before becoming a member of the United States Secret Service in 1940. Almost immediately he was placed in charge of the White House vehicles, a position he held for 27 years serving five presidents. In addition to overseeing the White House fleet, he was often the driver of the presidential vehicle or as the driver of the back up car. He retired in 1967. During his service he contributed to the design of the "bubble top" and conceived a method of rapidly loading and unloading special limousines from railroad cars and later from Air Force cargo planes. When asked if Mr. Gies ever talked about his job, his son said that his father was proud to be a member of the Secret Service but he refused to talk about anything that happened while in the Service.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection is divided into three series. The Photograph Series (74 photographs) consists of photographs of presidential vehicles from 1939 to 1961, with many that feature the then sitting president and other luminaries in the car. Also included...

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The collection is divided into three series. The Photograph Series (74 photographs) consists of photographs of presidential vehicles from 1939 to 1961, with many that feature the then sitting president and other luminaries in the car. Also included are photographs of presidential vehicles being transported by air and sea and photographs of the special access provided by Franklin Roosevelt’s private railcar, the Ferdinand Magellan.

The Ephemera Series includes a press kit and press releases relating to the 1961 Presidential Lincoln.

The Flags Series contains three American flags and two ceremonial flags flown on the front of presidential vehicles: Franklin Delano Roosevelt's (1882-1945) Sunshine Special, Dwight David Eisenhower's (1890-1969) Bubbletop, and John Fitzgerald Kennedy's (1917-1963) 1961 Lincoln. These vehicles are in the collections of The Henry Ford. Other special flags include one for Princess Elizabeth before she was Queen flown on the Bubbletop and a special flag for Pakistan that was flown on the Bubbletop when President Eisenhower visited that country while on an eleven nation trip through Europe, Africa and Asia.

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Collection Details

Object ID: 2011.241.0
Creator: Gies, Morgan L. 
Creator Notes: The collection was assembled by Morgan L. Gies.
Inclusive Dates: 1939-1966
Size: 0.8 cubic ft. and 1 oversize box
Language: English

Collection Access & Use

Item Location: Benson Ford Research Center

Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.

Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Edward L. Gies in Memory of Morgan L. Gies.

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Digitized Artifacts From This Collection

In many cases, not all artifacts have been digitized.
Contact us for more information about this collection.

1939 Lincoln Presidential Automobile "Sunshine Special" Aboard Military Transport Ship, September 1947

  Details

1939 Lincoln Presidential Automobile "Sunshine Special" Aboard Military Transport Ship, September 1947

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Photographic print

Summary

When the President travels abroad, United States Secret Service agents ensure that state cars arrive ahead of him. This military transport ship carried the "Sunshine Special" limousine overseas for one of President Harry S. Truman's international visits in 1947. Around 1960, the Secret Service began using transport aircraft to carry presidential vehicles.

Creators

Unknown 

Object ID

2011.241.14.81

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Edward L. Gies in Memory of Morgan L. Gies.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Related Objects

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

1939 Lincoln Presidential Automobile "Sunshine Special" Aboard Military Transport Ship, September 1947

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

1939 Lincoln Presidential Limousine, "Sunshine Special" at Andrews Air Force Base, circa 1942

  Details

1939 Lincoln Presidential Limousine, "Sunshine Special" at Andrews Air Force Base, circa 1942

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Photographic print

Summary

White House staff ordered this limousine for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A world war was looming, so added security was crucial. Custom features made it easier to lift the president -- paralyzed below the waist from an earlier illness -- in and out. And the convertible top allowed the president to greet crowds when he rode out in public.

Creators

Unknown 

Object ID

2011.241.14.12

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Edward L. Gies in Memory of Morgan L. Gies.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

1939 Lincoln Presidential Limousine, "Sunshine Special" at Andrews Air Force Base, circa 1942

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

1939 Lincoln "Sunshine Special" at Andrews Air Force Base, outside Washington, D.C., circa 1942

  Details

1939 Lincoln "Sunshine Special" at Andrews Air Force Base, outside Washington, D.C., circa 1942

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Photographic print

Summary

White House staff ordered this limousine for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A world war was looming, so added security was crucial. Custom features made it easier to lift the president -- paralyzed below the waist from an earlier illness -- in and out. And the convertible top allowed the president to greet crowds when he rode out in public.

Creators

Unknown 

Object ID

2011.241.14.10

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Edward L. Gies in Memory of Morgan L. Gies.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

1939 Lincoln "Sunshine Special" at Andrews Air Force Base, outside Washington, D.C., circa 1942

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

1950 Lincoln "Bubble-Top" Presidential Automobile Hoisted onto USS Taconic, March 1957

  Details

1950 Lincoln "Bubble-Top" Presidential Automobile Hoisted onto USS Taconic, March 1957

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Photographic print

Summary

When the President travels abroad, United States Secret Service agents ensure that state cars arrive ahead of him. In this photograph, USS Taconic takes on President Dwight D. Eisenhower's "Bubble-top" limousine for a visit in Bermuda with British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan. The Secret Service began using transport aircraft to carry presidential vehicles around 1960.

Creators

Unknown 

Object ID

2011.241.14.78

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Edward L. Gies in Memory of Morgan L. Gies.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Related Objects

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

1950 Lincoln "Bubble-Top" Presidential Automobile Hoisted onto USS Taconic, March 1957

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

1956 Cadillac Presidential Limousine at Andrews Air Force Base, 1966

  Details

1956 Cadillac Presidential Limousine at Andrews Air Force Base, 1966

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Photographic print

Summary

United States Secret Service agent Morgan L. Gies was responsible for White House vehicles from 1941 to 1967, serving five presidents. This photograph from his personal collection shows a 1956 Cadillac. Ohio company O'Gara-Hess and Eisenhardt custom-built two of these convertibles -- Queen Mary II and Queen Elizabeth II -- for presidential motorcade duty. They served Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson.

Creators

Unknown 

Object ID

2011.241.14.28

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Edward L. Gies in Memory of Morgan L. Gies.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

1956 Cadillac Presidential Limousine at Andrews Air Force Base, 1966

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

1956 Cadillac Presidential Limousine in Front of South Lawn of White House, 1957

  Details

1956 Cadillac Presidential Limousine in Front of South Lawn of White House, 1957

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Photographic print

Summary

United States Secret Service agent Morgan L. Gies was responsible for White House vehicles from 1941 to 1967, serving five presidents. This photograph from his personal collection shows a 1956 Cadillac. Ohio company O'Gara-Hess and Eisenhardt custom-built two of these convertibles -- Queen Mary II and Queen Elizabeth II -- for presidential motorcade duty. They served Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson.

Creators

Unknown 

Object ID

2011.241.14.30

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Edward L. Gies in Memory of Morgan L. Gies.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

1956 Cadillac Presidential Limousine in Front of South Lawn of White House, 1957

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

1956 Cadillac Presidential Limousine in Front of White House, circa 1960

  Details

1956 Cadillac Presidential Limousine in Front of White House, circa 1960

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Photographic print

Summary

United States Secret Service agent Morgan L. Gies was responsible for White House vehicles from 1941 to 1967, serving five presidents. This photograph from his personal collection shows a 1956 Cadillac. Ohio company O'Gara-Hess and Eisenhardt custom-built two of these convertibles -- Queen Mary II and Queen Elizabeth II -- for presidential motorcade duty. They served Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson.

Creators

Unknown 

Object ID

2011.241.14.29

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Edward L. Gies in Memory of Morgan L. Gies.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

1956 Cadillac Presidential Limousine in Front of White House, circa 1960

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

1961 Lincoln Continental Presidential Limousine at the South Portico of the White House, 1964

  Details

1961 Lincoln Continental Presidential Limousine at the South Portico of the White House, 1964

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Photographic print

Summary

A radically changed 1961 Lincoln Continental Presidential Limousine waits outside the White House in October 1964. Nearly a year before, President Kennedy was riding in the midnight-blue, unarmored, open convertible when he was assassinated. The vehicle was updated with a permanent roof, bullet-proof glass, and extensive armor-plating. It continued to serve Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon as front line transportation.

Creators

Unknown 

Object ID

2011.241.14.45

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Edward L. Gies in Memory of Morgan L. Gies.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

1961 Lincoln Continental Presidential Limousine at the South Portico of the White House, 1964

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

1961 Presidential Lincoln Limousine at the South Portico of the White House, October 5, 1964

  Details

1961 Presidential Lincoln Limousine at the South Portico of the White House, October 5, 1964

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Photographic print

Summary

A radically changed 1961 Lincoln Continental Presidential Limousine waits outside the White House in October 1964. Nearly a year before, President Kennedy was riding in the midnight-blue, unarmored, open convertible when he was assassinated. The vehicle was updated with a permanent roof, bullet-proof glass, and extensive armor-plating. It continued to serve Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon as front line transportation.

Creators

Unknown 

Object ID

2011.241.14.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Edward L. Gies in Memory of Morgan L. Gies.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

1961 Presidential Lincoln Limousine at the South Portico of the White House, October 5, 1964

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details