Fred Wallace Papers
The papers of Fred Wallace include correspondence, financial records, printed materials, and memorabilia relating to Wallace’s personal affairs. The collection consists mostly of letters to Wallace from his friend Lillian Tannehill, from his mother Madge Gates Wallace, and from other friends and relatives.
Size: 1 linear foot, 4 linear inches (about 2,400 pages).
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The papers of Fred Wallace consist mostly of letters to Wallace from friends and members of his family. The collection also includes correspondence relating to Wallace’s activities as an inventor and architect, as well as financial records, printed materials, and memorabilia documenting his personal life and affairs.
The collection is composed of two series: a Subject File and a Lillian Tannehill File. The Subject File is alphabetically arranged, and contains a variety of materials relating to Wallace’s life and activities. Included in this series are many letters to Wallace from his mother, Madge Gates Wallace, written while he was attending the University of Missouri at Columbia, Missouri around 1919-1920. The series also contains a few letters to Wallace from his sister, Bess Wallace Truman, and from his brother-in-law, Harry S. Truman, dating from roughly the same period. In addition to personal correspondence from friends and family members, the Subject File includes many letters to Wallace from a firm in Washington, D.C. that was helping him in his efforts to obtain a patent for an improved internal combustion engine. This correspondence, dating from around 1917-1918 (when Wallace was less than twenty years of age), is accompanied by detailed descriptions and sketches of the young inventor’s project. A few messages in the Subject File pertain to Wallace’s career as an architect. The Subject File also contains Wallace’s bank statements and other financial records, mostly dating from the early 1920s; memorabilia such as his baptismal certificate, his high school diploma, and a collection of stamps; newspaper clippings; handwritten notes; and a program for the Inauguration of President Roosevelt and Vice President Truman in 1945.
The Lillian Tannehill File is chronologically arranged and contains letters, telegrams, and postcards to Wallace from Miss Tannehill, a California girl whom Wallace courted prior to his marriage to Christine Meyer in 1933. Tannehill’s letters date from 1926 to 1930, and discuss her relationship with Wallace, her experiences as a student at Mills College, her activities at her home in Los Angeles, and her vacation trips.
The papers of Fred Wallace include little information about Wallace’s life after the early 1930s, and few documents actually written by Wallace. The papers were found in Bess Wallace Truman’s home in Independence around the time of her death. It appears that they were left behind when Wallace moved to Colorado with his family around 1942-1943.
Related manuscript collections at the Truman Library include the papers of Harry S. Truman (especially the President’s Secretary’s Files and Post-Presidential Papers); the papers of David F. Wallace (Fred Wallace’s son); and the papers of Madge Gates Wallace.