Madge (Margaret) Gates Wallace Papers
The Madge (Margaret) Gates Wallace Papers contain bank statements, cancelled checks, receipts, correspondence, invitations, memorabilia, printed material, and other items relating to her life and family.
Size: Less than one linear foot (about 800 pages).
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The Madge (Margaret) Gates Wallace Papers contain bank statements, cancelled checks, receipts, correspondence, invitations, memorabilia, printed material, and other items relating to her life and family. Madge Gates was the first daughter of George P. and Elizabeth Gates, and the mother of Bess Wallace Truman. The collection is composed of two series.
The first series, the Financial Affairs File, contains bank statements, cancelled checks, receipts and other items belonging to Mrs. Wallace. There is nearly a complete set of bank statements and cancelled checks for the year 1923, with only February and October missing. Most of the receipts date from 1924. Included among the receipts is one for flowers for Madge’s mother’s casket, in July of 1924, and one for a child’s rocker, presumably purchased for Margaret Truman, in March of 1925. Mrs. Wallace did business with stores near her home, and the receipts and cancelled checks document many of the businesses that existed near the square in Independence, Missouri, as well as the items necessary to run an upper class home in the 1920s. Also worth noting is the fact that some of the bills for things like the electric company and telephone company are addressed to George P. Gates, Madge’s father. Following the suicide of her husband, David W. Wallace, Madge and her children moved in with her parents, George and Elizabeth Gates, at 219 North Delaware Street. George Gates died in June of 1918. The home then became the property of Mrs. Gates. When she died in 1924, the home became the joint property of Madge and her siblings. Shortly thereafter, she paid $10,000 to buy out the interests of her two sisters and surviving brother so that she could continue to live in the house. When Harry S. Truman returned from World War I and married Bess, he moved into the home, so that Bess could continue to be near her mother. A few of the receipts document purchases made for Harry S. Truman, such as telegram charges. Also included in this series is a checkbook log and checks for an account of Mrs. Wallace’s at Hamilton National Bank in Washington, D.C., where she lived in the White House with Harry and Bess during the winter.
The second series, the Subject File, contains correspondence, memorabilia, and other items belonging to Mrs. Wallace. Included in this series is genealogical information about the Wallace and Gates families. There is also material related to Mrs. Wallace’s schooling, including a program from her graduation from Independence Female College in 1881, a finishing school attended by Madge and her sisters Maude and Myra. This series also contains a poem written by Madge’s grandmother Sarah Gates to commemorate Madge’s sixteenth birthday in 1878. Another item of note is a letter from Mrs. Elizabeth Gates, Mrs. Wallace’s mother. While in Colorado with her son, Mrs. Gates wrote to Mrs. Wallace regarding the recent birth of Margaret Truman, although at the time Mrs. Gates wrote, the child had yet to be named. For a short time in 1924, there were four generations living in the home at 219 North Delaware Street – Mrs. Gates, Mrs. Wallace, Mrs. Truman, and Margaret Truman. Additional objects of note in the series are two sizeable locks of hair from Frank and George Wallace, two of Bess Wallace’s brothers. The locks of hair were removed about the time each boy turned six.
Related collections include the papers of Margaret Truman Daniel and E. Clifton Daniel, George P. Gates, David F. Wallace, David F. Wallace, Jr., Helen Wallace, and Mary (May) Wallace, and the Records of the Jackson County, Missouri Recorder’s Office. Condolences regarding the death of Mrs. Wallace can also be found in the Truman Papers: White House Office of Social Correspondence Files. Oral histories that mention Mrs. Wallace include interviews with Reathel Odum, Mary (May) Wallace and Christine and David F. Wallace, Jr.