The Wayne Company
West Point had a visitor's Guide Book before 1957, but it was not really very good, or interesting.
It was only available in selected places, one of which was the small, volunteer-staffed 'Information Center' and West Point museum. The Volunteers were the Senior Chapter of the Daughters, United States Army.
Two classmates of mine - Paul Gorman, who was instructing in the Department of Social Sciences while I was in the English Department, and Bill Ward, who had resigned his commission after his obligatory 5 year post-graduation active duty, and was in the investment business in New York City, teamed up with me to create The Wayne Company (yep, named after the Revolutionary War's Mad Anthony Wayne)
The stated purpose was that "The Wayne Company is a small private organization of West Point graduates and others whose active interest in the best public relations for USMA has prompted them to turn their extra-professional talents and time to the creation of salable publications truly representative of West Point."
It recognized that official government West Point did not have the funds to create, print, and distribute freely to the hundreds of thousand visitors to the Academy, and all the family members of cadets, and that commercial firms did not possess the expertise to do really authoritative guides or were always operating in West Point's best interests.
So we undertook to create printed booklets and even a three dimensional plastic map that educated the buyer on just how, geologically West Point was formed. And had vague plans to even write and publish small histories of West Point and of the Revolutionary War periods.
The first product was that we produced was 'The West Point Guide Book,' 32 pages, printed by the same Publisher - George Moore, who printed the cadet Pointer Magazine.
It had good maps and succinct explanations about cadet life and what West Point existed for.
Proceeds over costs went to the Daughters of the American Army organization which staffed the visitors' center and sold the Guides. So they made money for their various charitable activities.
Ike at West Point
While that first venture worked, and the whole project died when both Gorman and I moved on to other military assignments and left West Point in 1959, I undertook one 'historical' booklet myself for the Wayne Company.
I took note of the fact the visitors to West Point, especially after General Eisenhower was elected President in 1953 and was still in office by 1961, were curious about his having attended West Point.
So I researched and wrote a 16 page booklet, which even included 7 rare photographs of him AS a cadet and a copy of his signed 'Registration' on arrival June 14th, 1911.
There are only a few, very rare, copies of that Booklet in existance.
You can read it online here as a 10mb PDF file by clicking on ikeatwestpoint
And here, below is a short letter from Ike's Personal Secretary to the President at the White House May 28th 1959 to Bill Ward who was our Wayne Company General Manager. So what I wrote got the attention of the President of the United States!