One evening in 1955, Harry Truman came home to find Bess burning her letters to him. ''What are you doing? Think of history'' he said. ''Oh, I have,'' she said and tossed in another stack. Bess Truman thought her business was hers and nobody else's, so she destroyed her half of the more than 2,600 letters she and Harry exchanged during their courtship and marriage. While making an inventory of the Truman home in the 1980s, archivists discovered 184 letters Bess had missed. Her grandson Clifton Truman Daniel shares them here, along with portions of Harry's responses, family photographs, and stories. These letters provide new insight into the lives and personalities of Bess and Harry Truman during the formative years of his political life. Despite Bess's shy and self-effacing manner, her lively correspondence offers a glimpse of a caring and witty woman who shared her concerns about family, politics, and day-to-day activities with her husband.
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Your grandparents are your grandparents, even if they've been President and First Lady. This is especially true if your grandparents were Harry and Bess Truman, for whom putting on airs was a cardinal sin. People often ask me what great words of wisdom I learned from my famous grandparents. And I always tell them, "Sit up straight," "Get your feet off the table," and "Not in here, you don't!"
They were never anyone but themselves, which is essentially what I think made one of them a great president and the other one of the best partners a president has ever had. They were honest and straightforward and concerned themselves most with what was most important family, friends, and the future of the country they both loved.
Clifton Truman Daniel
The discovery of so many of Bess Truman's letters to her husband came as a big surprise. To have them published now, after so many years is just wonderful, adding much to our understanding of the human side of the Truman story, and Clifton Daniel's clear, balanced accompanying text makes this book even more of a welcome event.
What a special treat to see inside Bess and Harry Truman's marital relationship and how it evolved. A wonderful and enlightening addition to any Truman collection!
Susan Ford BalesAbout the Author:
Clifton Truman Daniel is the oldest grandson of former U.S. President Harry S. Truman and son of the late E. Clifton Daniel Jr., former managing editor of the New York Times and best-selling mystery writer Margaret Truman. Mr. Daniel is the honorary chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Harry S. Truman Library Institute in Independence, MO. He is a frequent speaker and fundraiser and the author of the 1995 book, Growing Up with My Grandfather: Memories of Harry S. Truman.
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