In 1953, shortly
after taking office as Treasurer of the United States, Ivy Baker Priest
was asked by President Eisenhower how she was enjoying her new job.
She responded, "'I'm enjoying it immensely, Mr. President . . . but
at the moment I'm just so overwhelmed to be here . . . I never expected
to get anywhere near the White House.'" Eisenhower's face broke into
a familiar grin, "'I know just how you feel,' he said. 'Neither did
I.'" During her eight years as treasurer Priest dined with queens and
princes, cabinet members and ambassadors, captains of industry and leaders
of world thought, but through it all she never lost sight of her humble
beginnings as the daughter of a poor Utah miner growing up in Bingham.
On one occasion Priest was seated next to Norman Vincent Peale at a
Washington, D.C., luncheon. The famous minister turned to her and said:
"'Mrs. Priest, the people I have known in this world who have achieved
things have all overcome some great handicap to reach their goal. I
hope you won't mind my asking you . . . what was yours?'" Without hesitation
she responded, "'Poverty.'" "'And now you are in charge of all that
money,'" Peale said and laughed heartily.