Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Harry S. Truman Papers
Staff Member and Office Files:
White House Chief Usher Files

Dates: 1945-1952

The Usher Files consist of bound diary books that track the movements of the President and First Lady, along with the arrivals and departures of any guests.

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


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 1 linear feet, 4 linear inches.
Access: Open
Copyright: The donors donated their copyright interest in writings in these files to the United States Government. Documents created by U.S. Government officials in the course of their official duties are likewise in the public domain. Copyright interest in any other writings in these files is assumed to remain with the authors of the documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Tammy Kelly, Kamera Moore, and Sharie Simon (2010).


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


ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY NOTE

During the Truman administration, the White House Chief Usher was Howell G. Crim. The assistant to the Chief Usher was J. B. West. The Chief Usher acts as the “general manager” of the Executive Mansion and is responsible for directing the administrative, fiscal, and personnel functions involved in the management and operation of the Executive Mansion. In addition, the Chief Usher (or his assistant) has the responsibility for receiving and caring for all personal and official guests calling on the First Family. The Chief Usher also takes care of accommodations for overnight guests, both official and personal.

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


COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The White House Chief Usher Files consist of bound diary books that track the movements of the President and First Lady, along with the arrivals and departures of any guests. The Files for the Truman Administration were maintained by the Chief Usher, Howell G. Crim, or one of his designees.

The Chief Usher Files kept track of the comings and goings of the Trumans from the family quarters of the White House. Usually, there is a note at the beginning of the day, stating Truman left for the office, then returned for lunch or returned at the end of the day. Taped on top of each page is Truman’s appointment calendar for the day. It appears that the appointment calendar included in the Usher Files only recorded the on-the-record appointments. The separate appointment calendar kept by Matthew Connelly, Truman’s secretary, usually contains more appointments, including some that were “off the record.” However, there is evidence in the Chief Usher Files of appointments of Truman at the White House that are not listed in his official appointment calendar. Researchers should consult both the Matthew Connelly Files and the Chief Usher Files to gain a complete record of Truman’s appointments. If there was a large social event occurring at the White House, guests are usually not listed. This information can be found in the White House Social Office Files.

The sheets containing Truman’s appointments were attached to the pages of the diary in such a way that they sometimes obscure the writing on the page. The best possible photocopies of these pages have been made. Only pages with handwriting on them were photocopied.

The Chief Usher Files help provide a more detailed view of Truman and his presidency. Truman was famous for his habit of a morning walk. According to the Chief Usher Files, the first time they record him going for a walk in the morning is during the spring of 1946. Sometimes, especially during the winter, he would walk in the evening before returning for dinner, or would return home “via the pool” and would take a swim instead. While the Chief Usher also recorded Mrs. Truman’s comings and goings, the records for her are often sparse. Sometimes, all that is written are the times of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a “see above” note. Starting in late 1945, notations appear at the top of the pages, indicating the number of people attending breakfast, lunch, dinner, teas or social events. Sometimes “HH only” appears with these notations, indicating only members of the household attended meals, with no special guests. Anyone staying in the White House, family members and guests who were unrelated to the Trumans, was considered a member of the household.

Related collections include the Harry S. Truman Papers: Matthew Connelly Files, for President Truman’s appointment calendar; the Harry S. Truman Papers: White House Social Office Files, for lists of event attendees; and the Bess W. Truman Papers, which have not yet been opened for research, for records of Mrs. Truman’s appointments. When these three collections are combined with the Chief Usher Files, researchers can construct a fairly complete record of the lives of Harry and Bess Truman in the White House.

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


SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1-3 APPOINTMENT BOOKS FILE, 1945-1952
Bound daily logs tracking the movements of President Harry S. Truman and First Lady Bess W. Truman through the family quarters of the White House. Arranged chronologically.

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


FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1
  • 1945
  • 1946
      [1 of 3]
      [2 of 3]
      [3 of 3]
  • 1947
      [1 of 3]
      [2 of 3]
      [3 of 3]
Box 2
  • 1948
      [1 of 3]
      [2 of 3]
      [3 of 3]
  • 1949
      [1 of 3]
      [2 of 3]
      [3 of 3]
  • 1950
      [1 of 3]
      [2 of 3]
      [3 of 3]
Box 3
  • 1951
      [1 of 3]
      [2 of 3]
      [3 of 3]
  • 1952
      [1 of 3]
      [2 of 3]
      [3 of 3]

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