Harry Truman (Harry S. Truman)

Harry Truman

Harry Truman

33rd United States President. He was the third vice president under Franklin Roosevelt and was in office but two months when the Presidency was thrust upon him by the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He faced unprecedented and defining challenges. The war in Europe was nearly over and President Truman wanted a quick end to the Pacific fighting. After notifying the Japanese of his intended use and the consequences from the atomic bomb unless they surrendered, they were skeptical. Even after the first blast their defiance continued but a subsequent blast resulted in unconditional surrender. The postwar left him to deal with the difficult transition from a wartime to a peacetime economy then a second war on the Korean Peninsula with Chinese intervention. Harry S Truman was born in the little town of Lamar, Missouri growing up in Independence. He was a good student and a vivacious reader of history and literature, while learning to play the piano and desiring a music career. Financial problems prohibited him from attending college instead relegated him to work on the family farm. He became smitten with Virginia “Bess” Wallace as a child and pursued her relentlessly and finally at age 35 his marriage proposal was accepted. He was a National Guard member at the start of World War I and his unit served in France. In the postwar, he opened a haberdashery which experienced bankruptcy. He attended law school then was elected to the county court and became a presiding judge leading him to election as a US Senator. During his years in the White House he committed significant policy blunders. However: Truman achieved notable successes. Domestically, he took important steps in civil rights and presided over an economy that would enjoy two decades of unprecedented growth. In foreign affairs, he established many programs that would guide the nation in the decades ahead especially in American-Soviet relations. He chose not to run for a third term and retired to Independence. Harry Truman lived for nineteen more years spending most of his time at home supervising the construction of the Truman Library. He continued his early morning walks just as he had as president while working each day at an office in the complex until his death at a Kansas City Hospital at age 88. His funeral was held at the Truman library in Missouri. A service was conducted in the auditorium by a Baptist minister and the grand Masonic leader of Missouri with burial in the library courtyard. Independence is dominated by the Truman Legacy. From the massive Truman Library to the three standing and well maintained boyhood homes and finally the Truman House on Delaware Street where the presidential couple lived from the time of their marriage. Bess remained at the house after her husband’s passing for ten more years then joined him in the courtyard of the Library. His birth house in Lamar was purchased by the United Auto Workers who restored it and then donated the site to the Missouri State Park System with a dedication attended by President Truman. The Truman farm in Grandview where he attempted to forge a detested farming career then left to serve in France and became Captain Truman, commander of Battery D has been restored and is a State Historic Site. The Blair-Lee House in Washington DC is where the family lived while the White House was being refurbished. Here an assassination attempt was made with the President napping upstairs. An ensuing gun battle raged on the street below between the attackers, White House Police and Secret Service Agents. One attempted assassin was killed while three guards were seriously wounded. It remains today a guest house for visiting dignitaries. Finally, the little house that was built at the Key West Naval base for the base commander then became The “Little White House” when Harry Truman began using it for rest and relaxation has become a Florida Historic Site and museum although the Naval Station has closed. It is open to visitors.

More Images

  • 3134202740_d3513c79ba -

  • Funeral of Dwight Eisenhower -


  • May, 08, 1884
  • Lamar, Missouri


  • December, 26, 1972
  • Kansas City, Missouri

Cause of Death

  • lung congestion from pneumonia


  • Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
  • Independence, Missour

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