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Prologue Magazine - 'Dear Harry, Love Bess'

Prologue Magazine - 'Dear Harry, Love Bess'

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Published by Prologue Magazine

What's new in the past? Find out with Prologue Magazine, the quarterly publication of the National Archives. - 'Dear Harry, Love Bess' - Available to the public for the first time, Clifton Truman Daniel reveals the letters Bess Truman wrote to her husband, President Harry S. Truman, completing the correspondence of one of the greatest love stories in the White House.

What's new in the past? Find out with Prologue Magazine, the quarterly publication of the National Archives. - 'Dear Harry, Love Bess' - Available to the public for the first time, Clifton Truman Daniel reveals the letters Bess Truman wrote to her husband, President Harry S. Truman, completing the correspondence of one of the greatest love stories in the White House.

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Published by: Prologue Magazine on Oct 07, 2009
Copyright:Public Domain

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09/17/2013

 
 
Fall
 
2009
 
M
grandparents,
 
Harry 
 
and
 
Bess
 
Truman,
 
had
 
one
 
of 
 
the
 
great
 
marriages
 
in
 
 American
 
politics,
 
 
rock-solid
 
partnership
 
based
 
on
 
shared
 
values,
 
mutual
 
respect,
 
and
 
love.
 
It
 
 was
 
the
 
foundation
 
for
 
one
 
of 
 
the
 
most
 
successful,
 
highly 
 
regarded
 
presidencies
 
in
 
United
 
States
 
history.
 
Of 
 
course,
 
you’d
 
never
 
know 
 
that
 
from
 
my 
 
grandmother.
 
Grandpa 
 
 was
 
an
 
open
 
book.
 
He’d
 
tell
 
you
 
exactly 
 
 what
 
 was
 
on
 
his
 
mind.
 
Often,
 
he
 
 wrote
 
it
 
down.
 
In
 
addition
 
to
 
his
 
public
 
papers,
 
he
 
preserved
 
scads
 
of 
 
receipts,
 
notes,
 
diaries,
 
and
 
other
 
private
 
papers,
 
including 
 
1,316
 
letters
 
that
 
he
 
 wrote
 
to
 
my 
 
grand-mother
 
between
 
1910
 
and
 
1959.
 
He
 
firmly 
 
believed
 
that
 
the
 
 American
 
public
 
had
 
the
 
right
 
to
 
know 
 
and
 
learn
 
from
 
the
 
mind
 
of 
 
their
 
President.
 
My 
 
grandmother,
 
on
 
the
 
other
 
hand,
 
had
 
not
 
been
 
the
 
 American
 
public’s
 
President.
 
She
 
thought
 
that
 
her
 
business
 
 was
 
her
 
own
 
damn
 
business
 
and
 
nobody 
 
else’s.
 
She
 
 was
 
naturally 
 
shy 
 
and
 
hated
 
having 
 
her
 
picture
 
taken.
 
In
 
most
 
of 
 
the
 
photos
 
from
 
the
 
1944
 
Democratic
 
convention
 
that
 
put
 
Grandpa 
 
on
 
the
 
ticket
 
 with
 
President
 
Franklin
 
Delano
 
Roosevelt,
 
Grandpa 
 
and
 
my 
 
mother,
 
Margaret,
 
are
 
grinning 
 
from
 
Dear 
 
Harry ...Love,Bess 
 
harry
 
truman’s
 
grandson
 
offers
 
a
 
preview
 
of 
 
yet-to-be-released
 
letters
 
to
 
his
 
grandfather
 
By 
 
Clifton
 
Truman
 
Daniel 
 
 
 
Opposite:
 
The
 
young
 
Bess
 
Truman,
 
ca.
 
1917.
 
She
 
and
 
Harry
 
exchanged
 
more
 
than
 
2,600
 
letters.
 
 Above:
 
Bess
 
Truman
 
was
 
shy
 
and
 
reserved
 
in
 
public
 
as
 
hinted
 
in
 
this
 
moment
 
at
 
the
 
1944
 
Democratic
 
convention.
 
Right:
 
 July
 
16,
 
1923,
 
Bess
 
wrote
 
that
 
having
 
to
 
kill
 
“a
 
big 
 
black 
 
bug
 
. . .
 
wasn't
 
the
 
first
 
time
 
I
 
had
 
wished
 
for
 
you.”
 
ear
 
to
 
ear,
 
 waving 
 
and
 
shaking 
 
hands
 
 with
 
everyone
 
in
 
sight.
 
My 
 
grandmother
 
is
 
 just
 
sitting 
 
there,
 
the
 
expression
 
on
 
her
 
face
 
suggesting 
 
that
 
she
 
has
 
smelled
 
something 
 
horrendous.
 
Despite
 
being 
 
born
 
at
 
the
 
top
 
of 
 
Independence,
 
Missouri,
 
society,
 
she
 
 was
 
modest
 
and
 
self-effacing.
 
 And
 
her
 
view 
 
on
 
the
 
role
 
of 
 
political
 
 wife
 
ran
 
contrary 
 
to
 
that
 
of 
 
her
 
prede-cessor,
 
the
 
gregarious
 
and
 
outspoken
 
Eleanor
 
Roosevelt.
 
 
 womans
 
place
 
in
 
public,”
 
my 
 
grandmother
 
said,
 
“is
 
to
 
sit
 
beside
 
her
 
husband,
 
be
 
silent,
 
and
 
be
 
sure
 
her
 
hat
 
is
 
on
 
straight.”
 
 As
 
First
 
Lady,
 
she
 
discontinued
 
the
 
regular
 
press
 
confer-ences
 
instituted
 
by 
 
Mrs.
 
Roosevelt
 
and
 
issued
 
only 
 
 
suc-cinct
 
biography.
 
Her
 
favorite
 
interview 
 
method
 
thereafter
 
 was
 
through
 
 written
 
questions.
 
Her
 
usual
 
answer,
 
in
 
print
 
or
 
in
 
person,
 
 was
 
“no
 
comment.”
 
 A 
 
good
 
deal
 
of 
 
this
 
reticence
 
 was
 
due
 
to
 
tragedy.
 
Her
 
father,
 
David
 
 Willock 
 
 Wallace,
 
had
 
committed
 
suicide
 
in
 
1903,
 
 when
 
my 
 
grandmother
 
 was
 
18.
 
She
 
adored
 
him,
 
and
 
his
 
death
 
 was
 
sudden,
 
unexpected,
 
heartbreaking,
 
and
 
in
 
that
 
day 
 
and
 
age,
 
shameful.
 
She
 
never
 
spoke
 
of 
 
him.
 
 What
 
thoughts
 
and
 
feelings
 
she
 
had
 
 were
 
reserved
 
for
 
family 
 
and
 
close
 
friends,
 
and
 
she
 
 was
 
determined
 
to
 
keep
 
it
 
that
 
 way.
 
During 
 
their
 
courtship
 
and
 
most
 
of 
 
their
 
marriage,
 
my 
 
grandparents
 
must
 
have
 
exchanged
 
more
 
than
 
2,600
 
letters.
 
That’s
 
 
guess
 
since
 
the
 
Truman
 
Library 
 
has
 
only 
 
about
 
half 
 
the
 
correspondence,
 
Grandpa’s
 
half.
 
Most
 
of 
 
her
 
half 
 
is
 
gone.
 
One
 
evening 
 
close
 
to
 
Christmas
 
in
 
1955,
 
Grandpa 
 
came
 
home
 
from
 
his
 
office
 
in
 
Kansas
 
City 
 
and
 
found
 
my 
 
grand-mother
 
sitting 
 
in
 
the
 
living 
 
room,
 
burning 
 
stacks
 
of 
 
those
 
letters
 
in
 
the
 
hearth.
 
“Bess!”
 
he
 
said
 
in
 
alarm.
 
“What
 
are
 
you
 
doing?
 
Think 
 
of 
 
history!”
 
“Oh,
 
I
 
have,”
 
she
 
said
 
and
 
tossed
 
in
 
another
 
stack.
 
Fortunately,
 
she
 
did
 
not
 
pitch
 
them
 
all
 
into
 
the
 
fire.
 
Thanks
 
to
 
 what
 
Ray 
 
Geselbracht,
 
special
 
assistant
 
to
 
the
 
director
 
of 
 
the
 
Truman
 
Library,
 
called
 
an
 
act
 
of 
 
“poor
 
housekeeping,”
 
 we
 
know 
 
that
 
at
 
10:20
 
p.m.
 
on
 
the
 
evening 
 
of 
 
 July 
 
16,
 
1923,
 
my 
 
38-year-old
 
grandmother
 
 was
 
in
 
bed,
 
lonely 
 
and
 
unprotected,
 
 waging 
 
 war
 
on
 
the
 
local
 
insect
 
population,
 
species
 
undetermined.
 
“There
 
 was
 
 
big 
 
black 
 
bug 
 
on
 
my 
 
bed
 
 when
 
I
 
turned
 
the
 
sheet
 
down
 
and
 
I
 
had
 
to
 
kill
 
it
 
myself,”
 
she
 
 wrote
 
indignant-ly.
 
“But
 
that
 
 wasnt
 
the
 
first
 
time
 
I
 
had
 
 wished
 
for
 
you.”
 
That
 
morning,
 
my 
 
grandfather
 
had
 
taken
 
off 
 
for
 
Missouri
 
National
 
Guard
 
training 
 
camp
 
at
 
Fort
 
Leavenworth,
 
Kansas,
 
something 
 
he
 
did
 
every 
 
 July.
 
He
 
 would
 
stay 
 
for
 
two
 
 weeks.
 
Despite
 
this
 
abandonment—and
 
the
 
bug 
 
attack—in
 
the
 
same
 
letter
 
she
 
addressed
 
him
 
affec-tionately 
 
as
 
“Pettie”
 
and
 
inquired
 
about
 
his
 
trip.
 
“I
 
hope
 
you
 
didn’t
 
run
 
into
 
the
 
rain
 
we 
 
had
 
about
 
five-thirty—It
 
didn’t
 
last
 
long 
 
but
 
it
 
 was
 
good
 
and
 
 wet
 
 while
 
it
 
did
 
last
 
.
 
.
 
.
 
I
 
 would
 
love
 
to
 
know 
 
how 
 
you
 
are
 
settled
 
for
 
the
 
night
 
etc.
 
.
 
.
 
.
 
Did
 
you
 
have
 
 
good
 
dinner
 
at
 
Tonganoxie?
 
I
 
could
 
see
 
you
 
 werent
 
going 
 
to
 
get
 
out
 
of 
 
going 
 
there
 
first.”
 
Indeed,
 
Grandpa 
 
did
 
not
 
get
 
out
 
of 
 
dinner
 
at
 
Tonganoxie,
 
Kansas.
 
The
 
friend
 
driving 
 
him,
 
Bill
 
Kirby,
 
 wouldnt
 
drop
 
him
 
off 
 
until
 
he’d
 
delivered
 
 
second
 
passen-ger,
 
 Jean
 
Settle,
 
to
 
her
 
destination
 
in
 
nearby 
 
Lawrence.
 
Not
 
that
 
Grandpa 
 
minded.
 
The
 
dinner
 
 was
 
 worth
 
it.
 
“We
 
had
 
cold
 
roast
 
country 
 
ham,
 
cold
 
roast
 
veal,
 
old
 
fashioned
 
country 
 
fried
 
potatoes,
 
three
 
kinds
 
of 
 
salad,
 
pickled
 
beets,
 
oranges,
 
four
 
kinds
 
of 
 
preserves
 
and
 
 jam
 
 with
 
ice
 
tea 
 
and
 
angle
 
[his
 
spelling]
 
food
 
orange
 
cake
 
 with
 
Dear
 
Harry
 
.
 
.
 
.
 
Love,
 
Bess
 
Prologue
 
13
 
 
 
 Above:
 
Bess
 
 jokingly
 
wrote
 
Harry
 
on
 
March
 
16,
 
1919,
 
that
 
he
 
“may
 
invite
 
the
 
entire
 
35th
 
Division
 
to
 
our
 
wed-ding.”
 
Right:
 
Harry
 
Truman
 
in
 
his
 
National
 
Guard
 
uniform.
 
Opposite:
 
Bess’s
 
letter
 
of 
 
 July
 
8,
 
1925,
 
stressed
 
her
 
strong
 
desire
 
for
 
a
 
haircut,
 
provided
 
news
 
of 
 
their
 
daughter,
 
and
 
urged
 
him
 
to
 
avoid
 
“deep
 
water
 
swimming.”
 
preserves
 
or
 
peaches
 
for
 
desert
 
[his
 
spelling 
 
again],”
 
he
 
 wrote
 
the
 
next
 
day.
 
“It
 
 was
 
 
good
 
dinner
 
and
 
 worth
 
twice
 
the
 
money.”
 
 Apparently 
 
the
 
food
 
kept
 
coming.
 
For
 
breakfast
 
at
 
camp
 
the
 
next
 
morning,
 
he
 
reported,
 
“we
 
had
 
 
half 
 
grape
 
fruit,
 
cream
 
of 
 
 wheat,
 
ham,
 
two
 
eggs,
 
two
 
hot
 
cakes
 
and
 
coffee,
 
and 
 
 
ate 
 
it 
 
all 
.
” 
 
“That
 
 was
 
some
 
breakfast!”
 
my 
 
grand-mother
 
 wrote
 
back.
 
“You’ll
 
have
 
to
 
be
 
pretty 
 
strenuous
 
to
 
keep
 
that
 
 front 
 
down
.
” 
 
This
 
and
 
the
 
179
 
other
 
letters
 
my 
 
grand-mother
 
overlooked
 
 were
 
not
 
tied
 
in
 
neat
 
bun-dles
 
and
 
squirreled
 
away 
 
in
 
 
trunk 
 
or
 
box.
 
Most
 
had
 
been
 
pushed
 
to
 
the
 
backs
 
of 
 
desk 
 
drawers
 
or
 
tucked
 
into
 
the
 
pages
 
of 
 
books
 
as
 
bookmarks.
 
Truman
 
Library 
 
archivists
 
found
 
them
 
in
 
the
 
early 
 
1980s
 
 while
 
carrying 
 
out
 
an
 
inventory 
 
of 
 
the
 
home’s
 
contents.
 
Liz
 
Safly,
 
the
 
library’s
 
recently 
 
retired
 
research
 
room
 
supervisor,
 
took 
 
them
 
to
 
the
 
library 
 
in
 
the
 
trunk 
 
of 
 
her
 
car.
 
“Just
 
think 
 
 what
 
 would
 
have
 
happened
 
if 
 
I’d
 
had
 
an
 
accident,”
 
she
 
said.
 
My 
 
mother,
 
 who
 
owned
 
the
 
letters
 
and
 
 who
 
died
 
last
 
year,
 
used
 
some
 
of 
 
them
 
in
 
her
 
1985
 
biography 
 
of 
 
my 
 
grandmother,
 
and
 
15
 
 were
 
put
 
on
 
display 
 
at
 
the
 
library 
 
in
 
1998.
 
But
 
she
 
chose
 
not
 
to
 
release
 
the
 
rest
 
of 
 
them,
 
probably 
 
respecting 
 
grandmother’s
 
 wishes.
 
The
 
letters
 
 will
 
remain
 
closed
 
to
 
the
 
public
 
for
 
another
 
four
 
years.
 
The
 
letters
 
span
 
20
 
years
 
from
 
1923,
 
 when
 
my 
 
grandparents
 
 were
 
newly 
 
married
 
and
 
my 
 
grandfather
 
 was
 
beginning 
 
his
 
political
 
career
 
as
 
eastern
 
 judge
 
of 
 
 Jackson
 
County,
 
Missouri
 
(county 
 
 judges
 
are
 
actually 
 
county 
 
administrators
 
in
 
Missouri)
 
to
 
1943,
 
 when
 
he
 
 was
 
 
U.S.
 
senator
 
 
year
 
away 
 
from
 
being 
 
nominated
 
for
 
Vice
 
President.
 
There
 
is
 
also
 
 
single
 
letter
 
from
 
March
 
16,
 
1919,
 
 written
 
to
 
Grandpa 
 
 while
 
he
 
 was
 
still
 
over-seas
 
following 
 
the
 
end
 
of 
 
 World
 
 War
 
I.
 
The
 
previous
 
month,
 
Grandpa 
 
had
 
 written:
 
“Please
 
get
 
ready 
 
to
 
march
 
down
 
the
 
aisle
 
 with
 
me
 
 just
 
as
 
soon
 
as
 
you
 
decently 
 
can
 
 when
 
I
 
get
 
back,”
 
Grandpa 
 
 wrote
 
to
 
her
 
from
 
Rosières,
 
France,
 
on
 
February 
 
18,
 
1919.
 
“I
 
haven’t
 
any 
 
place
 
to
 
go
 
but
 
home
 
and
 
I’m
 
busted
 
financially 
 
but
 
I
 
love
 
you
 
as
 
madly 
 
as
 
 
man
 
can
 
and
 
I’ll
 
find
 
all
 
the
 
other
 
things.
 
 We’ll
 
be
 
married
 
anywhere
 
you
 
say 
 
at
 
any 
 
time
 
you
 
mention
 
and
 
if 
 
you
 
 want
 
only 
 
one
 
person
 
or
 
the
 
 whole
 
town
 
I
 
don’t
 
care
 
as
 
long 
 
as
 
you
 
make
 
it
 
quickly 
 
after
 
my 
 
arrival.
 
I
 
have
 
some
 
army 
 
friends
 
I’d
 
like
 
to
 
ask 
 
and
 
my 
 
own
 
family 
 
and
 
that’s
 
all
 
I
 
care
 
about,
 
and
 
the
 
army 
 
friends
 
can
 
go
 
hang 
 
if 
 
you
 
don’t
 
 want
 
’em.
 
I
 
have
 
enough
 
money 
 
to
 
buy 
 
 
Ford
 
and
 
 we
 
can
 
set
 
sail
 
in
 
that
 
and
 
arrive
 
in
 
Happyland
 
at
 
once
 
and
 
quickly.”
 
“You
 
may 
 
invite
 
the
 
entire
 
35th
 
Division
 
to
 
our
 
 wedding 
 
if 
 
you
 
 want
 
to,”
 
she
 
 wrote
 
back 
 
on
 
March
 
16,
 
having 
 
finally 
 
received
 
his
 
letter
 
through
 
the
 
tortured
 
military 
 
mail
 
system.
 
“I
 
guess
 
it’s
 
going 
 
to
 
be
 
 yours 
 
as
 
 well
 
as
 
mine 
.
 
I
 
guess
 
 we
 
might
 
as
 
 well
 
have
 
the
 
church
 
 full 
 
 while
 
 we
 
are
 
at
 
it.
 
.
 
.
 
.
 
Hold
 
on
 
to
 
the
 
money 
 
for
 
the
 
car!
 
 We’ll
 
surely 
 
need
 
one.
 
Most
 
anything 
 
that
 
 will
 
run
 
on
 
four
 
 wheels.
 
I’ve
 
been
 
looking 
 
at
 
used
 
car
 
bar-gains
 
today.
 
I’ll
 
frankly 
 
confess
 
I’m
 
scared
 
to
 
death
 
of 
 
Fords.”
 
Many 
 
of 
 
the
 
other
 
letters
 
 were
 
 written
 
dur-ing 
 
my 
 
grandfather’s
 
annual
 
National
 
Guard
 
encampments,
 
 which
 
my 
 
grandmother
 
viewed
 
as
 
rests.
 
Even
 
 with
 
the
 
drills,
 
exercises,
 
cold
 
showers
 
they 
 
 were
 
 
 welcome
 
break 
 
from
 
his
 
regular,
 
stressful
 
routine
 
as
 
 judge.
 
“Well,
 
it’s
 
awfully 
 
darned
 
lonesome
 
but
 
I
 
know 
 
you
 
are
 
going 
 
to
 
get
 
lots
 
of 
 
good
 
out
 
of 
 
the
 
trip
 
and
 
I’m
 
glad
 
too
 
that
 
you
 
are
 
tak-ing 
 
it
 
by 
 
yourself 
 
for
 
I
 
am
 
sure
 
you
 
needed
 
to
 
get
 
away 
 
from
 
everything 
 
and
 
every-body,”
 
she
 
 wrote
 
on
 
 July 
 
17,
 
1923.
 
She
 
 worried
 
about
 
his
 
health,
 
 which
 
may 
 
come
 
as
 
 
surprise
 
to
 
people
 
used
 
to
 
the
 
image
 
of 
 
my 
 
grandfather
 
striding 
 
around
 
 Washington,
 
leaving 
 
exhausted
 
reporters
 
and
 
Secret
 
Service
 
agents
 
in
 
his
 
 wake.
 
But
 
really,
 
he
 
often
 
pushed
 
himself 
 
to
 
the
 
point
 
of 
 
exhaustion.
 
 When
 
asked
 
once
 
 what
 
he
 
did
 
to
 
relax,
 
he
 
said,
 
“work.”
 
14
 
Prologue
 
Fall
 
2009
 

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