33rd President. Extremely RARE Medal for Merit originally presented to Irving Geist, with accompanying signed document from President Harry S. Truman. At the time, the Medal For Merit was the highest civilian decoration presented in the United States. The medal was awarded by the President to civilians who “distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services” in the war effort “since the proclamation of an emergency by the President on September 8, 1939.” Only 401 people were presented this rare and prestigious medal.
Document signed “Harry S. Truman” AS PRESIDENT, one page, October 30, 1947, 8 x 10, headed “CITATION TO ACCOMPANY THE AWARD OF THE MEDAL FOR MERIT TO IRVING GEIST”, in full:
Irving Geist, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the United States from July, 1942 to December, 1946. Mr. Geist undertook, and carried to a successful conclusion, many difficult projects designed to lessen the suffering and to hasten the recovery of more than two hundred thousand Army, Navy and Marine Corps sick and wounded soldiers and veterans returned to the United States for treatment and rehabilitation. This task, which included the heavy contribution of his personal means, the devotion of his entire time and considerable country-wide travel, was accomplished through his indefatigable energy, and dedicated public spirit in spite of innumerable obstacles incident to wartime shortages.
The Medal for Merit presented to Geist is presented custom framed beside the cover of its original case. It is 4″ long, with its purple ribbon and pin, a gold eagle with its wings outstretched within a blue circle of stars, and a Latin quote at the bottom. The ribbon bar is present as well. Document with a slight tear at top.
Accompanied by a small selection of oversized photos of Geist with President Truman, President Eisenhower and various news clippings.
Irving Geist (1900-1970) was an industrialist whose efforts to rehabilitate veterans won him in 1947 the United States’ highest civilian decoration at the time, the Medal for Merit.
Notable recipient of the Medal For Merit include: Dean Acheson, Irving Berlin, Enrico Fermi, Leroy Grumman, J. Edgar Hoover, Bob Hope, Cordell Hull, Al Jolson, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Linus Pauling, Eddie Rickenbacker, John Snyder, Fred Vinson and Thomas Watson Sr.