Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Harry S. Truman Papers
Papers as Presiding Judge of the Jackson County (Missouri) Court

Dates: Date Span: 1920–1968. Bulk Date Span: 1926–1934.

Eastern District Judge, Jackson County (Missouri) Court, 1923-1925; Presiding Judge, Jackson County (Missouri) Court, 1927-1935; United States Senator from Missouri, 1935-1945; Vice President of the United States, 1945; President of the United States, 1945-1953.

The papers of Harry S. Truman as Presiding Judge of the Jackson County (Missouri) Court include: documents relating to the administration of Jackson County involving budgets, revenue projections, highway programs, and courthouse construction funding; allotments for and rules and regulations of various federal programs, such as the Civil Works Administration and the Public Works Administration, in effect during Mr. Truman’s tenure as Missouri Director of Federal Reemployment; schedules and outlines for various conferences Mr. Truman attended as Presiding Judge; Missouri State House and Senate legislation regarding county administrative issues; Mr. Truman’s transcribed “Pickwick Hotel” notes (musings regarding his life and his potential 1934 candidacy for United States Senate); and diary and appointment books kept by Mr. Truman, outlining his daily appointments as Presiding Judge and his automobile, lodging, and meal expenses, as well as trip mileages, during the 1934 senatorial race.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 1 linear feet, 4 linear inches (about 2,400 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: Mr. Truman donated his copyright interest in any of his writings in this collection to the people of the United States. In addition, documents prepared by government employees of Jackson County, a political subdivision of the State of Missouri, and the United States, in the course of their official duties are also in the public domain. Copyright interest in documents, which do not fall into the aforementioned categories, is presumed to remain with the writers of the documents or their heirs.
Processed by: Erwin J. Mueller and Dennis Bilger (1975); Cynthia G. Edwards (as part of the Truman Library Internship Program), Randy Sowell, Janice Davis, and Sharie Simon (1999); Randy Sowell and Janice Davis (2008).


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1884 (May 8)Born, Lamar, Missouri
1887Moved with family to farm near Grandview, Missouri
1890Moved with family to Independence, Missouri
1901Graduated from Independence High School
1901-1906Lived in Independence and Kansas City, Missouri; held various jobs, including clerk at two Kansas City banks
1905-1911Served in Missouri National Guard
1906-1917Worked on family farm near Grandview, Missouri
1917-1919Served in 129th Field Artillery; commanded Battery D during World War I; promoted to rank of Captain
1919 (June 28)Married Bess Wallace at Trinity Episcopal Church, Independence, Missouri
1919-1922Partner with Eddie Jacobson in Kansas City haberdashery
1923-1925Eastern District Judge, Jackson County (Missouri) Court
1924 (February 17)Daughter, Mary Margaret born
1927-1935Presiding Judge of the Jackson County (Missouri) Court
1935-1945United States Senator from Missouri
1945 (January 20-April 12) Vice President of the United States
1945 (April 12)-1953 (January 20)President of the United States
1953 (January)Left presidency and retired to Independence, Missouri
1957 (July 6)Helped dedicate the Harry S. Truman Library, Independence, Missouri
1972 (December 26)Died, Research Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri

A more detailed timeline of Harry S. Truman's life and Presidency is available on the Truman Trivia Page.

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of Harry S. Truman as Presiding Judge of the Jackson County (Missouri) Court date from his initial term as Eastern District Judge (1923-1925) through his ascension to the office of President of the United States, with the bulk of the material arising from his years as Presiding Judge and his race for United States Senator in 1934.

The Jackson County (Missouri) Court, as constituted in the mid-1920s-1930s, was comprised of three elected members, a Presiding Judge (four-year term of office) an Eastern District Judge (two-year term of office) and a Western District Judge (two-year term of office), who exercised the corporate powers of the county. These powers included: the management and control of county property, both real and personal; the authority to purchase, receive, lease, sell or convey county property, both real and personal; the appropriation of county funds for use in administering county needs; and the ability to audit and settle all demands made against the county.

Among the significant documents in this collection are copies of county financial records (such as budgets, drafts of budgets, and revenue projections), county department payroll lists, maps and printed materials on highway programs, copies of financial records regarding courthouse construction funding, photographs of Charles Keck’s Andrew Jackson statue, legal opinion letters prepared by the county counselor, outlines of conferences, copies of legislative material, correspondence, speeches and handwritten drafts of speeches, all prepared or utilized by Mr. Truman during his tenure as Presiding Judge. In addition, there are memoranda regarding county employee allotments for, and rules and regulations of, federal programs dealing with public and civil works, utilized during his stint as Missouri State Director of Reemployment. Also of interest in this collection are documents, including speeches and handwritten drafts of speeches, correspondence, business cards, newspaper clippings, adding machine tapes, auto servicing records, printed campaign literature and other items relating, primarily, to Mr. Truman’s 1934 senatorial race. Of particular interest is a copy of his transcribed notes, known as the “Pickwick Papers” because they were written on hotel stationery while he was staying at the Pickwick Hotel, in Kansas City, Missouri. These notes include his reminiscences of his life, both personal and political, on the night before the announcement of his decision to enter the 1934 senatorial race.

Other materials at the Truman Library which relate to this collection include the personal papers of James Aylward, Rufus Burrus, Fred Canfil, H. H. Halvorson, Bryce Smith, and N.T. Veatch; and the Library’s oral history interviews with Harry Abbott, James Aylward, Rufus Burrus, H. H. Halvorson, John Hulston, and N.T. Veatch.

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1-3 SUBJECT FILE, 1920-1968
Financial records, maps, printed materials, photocopies of photographs, correspondence, memoranda, legislation, speeches and speech drafts, and other items primarily relating to Harry S. Truman’s tenure as Presiding Judge of the Jackson County (Missouri) Court and his 1934 senatorial race. Arranged alphabetically.
3 DIARY AND APPOINTMENT BOOK FILE, 1926-1937
Diary and appointment books, outlining appointments and automobile, lodging and meal expenses. Arranged chronologically.

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1
  • Budget – Jackson County, Missouri
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Civil Works Administration
  • Conferences
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Contracts [2008 accretion]
  • Highways
  • Hill Park [letters and map with photographs, found in Truman’s office at the Truman Library in 1993]
  • House Bill No. 257 [and other legislation of the 57th Missouri General Assembly relating to county and state finances]
  • Jackson County – Miscellaneous Records [relating to 1934 campaign, etc.]
  • Jackson County Correspondence, Financial Records, and Legal Documents, 1927-1933, 1968 [2008 accretion]
Box 2
  • Jackson County, Missouri – Its Opportunities and Resources [and proposed bill providing for reorganization of the county government, January, 1933]
  • Kansas City Court House Construction Fund – Statement of Revenues and Expenditures, July 31, 1934 [and related documents]
  • Kansas City (Missouri) Road System and the Old Trails
  • Keck, Charles [photographs of Andrew Jackson Statute at Jackson County (Missouri) Court House]
  • Legislation – 57th General Assembly [and 56th]
      [1 of 3]
      [2 of 3]
      [3 of 3]
  • National Reemployment Service – Rules and Regulations
Box 3
  • Printed Material
  • Public Works Administration
  • Salary Check, February 19, 1934 [2008 accretion]
  • Senatorial Campaign – 1934 [with transcribed “Pickwick Papers”]
  • Speeches
  • State Highway Data
  • State Planning Board
  • Tornado Insurance [2011 accretion]
  • Veterans
  • 1926
  • 1931
  • 1932
  • 1933
  • 1934
  • 1936-1937

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]