Sometimes an “S” is just an “S”
When Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884, his parents decided to name him Harry, after his mother’s brother Harrison Young. But what about a middle name? Should it be Shipp, in honor of his paternal grandfather, Anderson Shipp Truman? Or should it be Solomon, in honor of his maternal grandfather, Solomon Young?
In the end, they entered his middle name as simply S, which led to a never-ending controversy about Harry S. Truman’s middle name. Read more.
Here’s President Truman behind his Oval Office desk sign - “The Buck Stops Here.”
Seventy years ago today on April 13, 1943, the Jefferson Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC, on the 200th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth (4/13/1743).
Truman to MacArthur: “You’re Fired”
Proposed Orders and Statement on Dismissal of General Douglas MacArthur.
On April 11, 1951, President Truman dismissed General Douglas MacArthur as commander of United Nations forces in Korea due to insubordination, following several incidents in which MacArthur publicly criticized the Commander-in-Chief.
Formerly classified “Top Secret,” this document consists of orders from President Truman relieving General MacArthur of his commands and designating General Matthew Ridgway as his successor, along with a statement explaining MacArthur’s dismissal.
Read more at Prologue: You’re Fired
Harry S. Truman at a Surprise Poker Party
Photo: Surprise poker party at the home of A. J. & Mildred Granoff, on the occasion of A. J. Granoff’s 60th birthday. Seated at the poker table in the lower left hand corner are: Frank Rope, A. D. “Doc” Jacobson, former President Harry S. Truman, Hy Vile (standing), A. J. Granoff, and Harry Small. 2/22/56.
-from the Truman Library
Happy Presidents Day! This quiz about various U.S. Presidents was sent to Truman by one of his friends, Max Lowenthal, who was on a cruise to Europe on the RMS Queen Mary in 1964. He thought Mr. Truman might be interested in it. Mr. Truman wrote him back, saying he thought most of them were “catch” questions, and rather insignificant. How many can you get right without looking up the answers?
Inauguration Fact: Presidents do not need to be inaugurated. In case of the death of a President, the oath of office can be administered by a nearby official.
Vice Presidents John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, and Chester A. Arthur were all sworn in after the death of a President (and none of them were reelected).
Theodore Roosevelt took the oath in Buffalo, NY, after the assassination of William McKinley. In 1923, Calvin Coolidge was at home in Vermont when Warren Harding died and had to be sworn in by his father, a notary public and justice of the peace. Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in on board Air Force One after President Kennedy’s death.
And Gerald Ford took the oath of office in the East Room of the White House after President Nixon resigned.
Image: Harry S. Truman taking the oath of office as President of the United States in the Cabinet Room of the White House, following the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, 04/12/1945 (ARC 199062), Truman Presidential Library.
Photograph of President Truman with Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes and others, standing inside the Jefferson Memorial looking up at a statue of Thomas Jefferson., 01/14/1946
“On the eighth day of Archives an archivist brought to me:
Eight Navy officers
seven of Mrs. Hicks’s eight children,
six tiny thorn carvings,
five sisters from Alaska,
four boys hanging out at the Fletcher aircraft school,
three happy girls at a West Virginian celebration,
two San Francisco children painting,
and one astronaut in space.”
Image: Photograph of President Truman posing on the White House lawn with officers from eight U.S. Navy aircraft carriers that received Presidential Unit Citations for heroic service during World War II., 07/16/1946, ARC Identifier 199399
Menorah with small removable pitcher to pour oil into the lamps for each night - President Harry S. Truman received this menorah from Brotherhood Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1949.
This is one of several menorahs that are in the museum collection of the Truman Presidential Library.
-from the Truman Library
President Harry S. Truman voting, November 2, 1948:
“It has been my experience in public life that there are few problems which cannot be worked out, if we make a real effort to understand the other fellow’s point of view, and if we try to find a solution on the basis of give-and-take, of fairness to both sides.”
-Harry S. Truman
President Truman at the polls, from the Truman Library.
Before my campaign begins, I would like to talk to you about my candidacy for President and about the future of the Democratic Party. Certainly, just meeting with you and reminiscing about the spirit that led to your upset victory over Thomas Dewey in 1948 would be an inspiration to Sargent Shriver and myself in the months ahead.”
-George McGovern letter to Harry S. Truman, 8/19/72
We were saddened to learn of the passing over the weekend of George McGovern, former South Dakota Senator and the Democratic presidential nominee in 1972.
McGovern wrote this letter to Harry S. Truman after the Democratic National Convention in 1972, hoping to get to come out and visit the former President. The handwriting in the upper right corner is Bess Truman’s note to Mr. Truman’s secretary, Rose Conway.
-from the Truman Library
On This Day: The Medicare Bill
On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Amendments of 1965 which created the Medicare program of health care benefits for those over the age of 65.
LBJ signed the Act at the Truman Library in Independence, MO. Former President Harry S. Truman had long worked towards the goals of the Act, and he participated in the ceremony.
The Trumans were of modest means, and Harry Truman described the event as a “profound personal experience for me.” Harry and Bess received Medicare registration card numbers 1 and 2 in January, 1966.