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ARTHUR MacARTHUR LIVES
IN 'RELATIVE' OBSCURITY

By JERRY SHACKLE, formerly Staff-Sergeant E. F. Germaine,
of the Australian Women's Army Service in World War II.

Eager collectors paid $50 for each of a dozen pairs of silk pyjamas bearing the MacArthur  monogram when Miss Pixie's Furnishing and Whatnot of Washington DC offered them for sale in 1999. They mistakenly believed the PJs had belonged to General  Douglas MacArthur's son, Arthur MacArthur IV.

Jerry Shackle 1942We read about the pyjamas during a long search of the internet in a bid to discover what had become of  Arthur MacArthur since he disappeared from the world spotlight many years ago. I'd met him in 1942, when he was a small boy with his mother in Brisbane, Australia,  where his father was Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the South-West Pacific in World War II.

We thought we were hot on Arthur's trail when we discovered a story about Pixie Windsor, owner of Miss Pixie's Furnishing and Whatnot in the May-June1999 issue of The Washington Flyer, the official magazine of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority:

"At the bottom of a box of shirts Miss Pixie bought at Douglas MacArthur's son's estate sale, she found a dozen pairs of silk pyjamas emblazoned with the monogram he shared with his father. Seizing upon this serendipity, she sold them for $50 apiece.

"Since she already had his stationery, each pair of PJs came with a business card in the pocket. So too went his martini pitchers along with programs from the presidential inaugurals."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pixie Windsor's store features dressers, marble end tables, upholstered club chairs, giant cognac snifters, and vintage phones - whatever she's picked up at auctions. Devotees show up on Thursdays, when she unloads the week's haul. - Extract from Miss Pixie's website.

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But that story proved to be a red herring. We checked it out with MacArthur Memorial archivist James Zobel, in Richmond, Virginia. Was it true, we asked. Had Arthur died in Washington four years ago?

"No," he replied. "This was the estate sale of one of MacArthur's nephews. Included in the estate were the items belonging to his brother, Captain Arthur MacArthur USN."

Miss Pixie told us: "I was misquoted in that article. The items (and I got a lot!) were from the estate of the nephew of Douglas MacArthur, who served as Ambassador to Belgium."

We hit pay dirt when we emailed an inquiry to Colonel William J. Davis, USMC (Retired), Executive Director of the General Douglas MacArthur Foundation and The MacArthur Memorial. We asked him what he could tell us about the General's son.

"Arthur lives in New York City and I will send him a copy of your email," he told us.

Finally, we discovered the existence of a worldwide Arthur clan, which traces its origins back to King Arthur, and embraces hundreds of MacArthurs, spelt in various ways.

The Clan MacArthur Society was founded in 1974 in the United States. In 1986 independent Societies were established in Great Britain and Canada, and later similar bodies were formed in Australia, New Zealand and Southern Africa. It issues a quarterly newsletter called The Round Table.

So we emailed the newsletter's editor, Bob McArtor, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia. He replied, "I congratulate you on a well-written and documented story. You have as much information on the subject as anyone.

"I wrote to Jean MacArthur on two occasions during the General's illness and am aware of her graciousness. Her son used to visit her in the Astoria Towers in New York which she called home.

"It would appear he truly did hear a different drummer as he changed his name and literally buried the past. It is a good thing, in my opinion, to keep the subject alive, as one day he may change his mind and resurface. He had much to add to history."

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Copyright 2003

Jerry Shackle

Story first posted August 2003

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