Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


World War One

ARCHIVAL MATERIALS AT THE LIBRARY

Prepared by Catherine Shelley and Randy Sowell

Truman's WWI identity card.

[ Truman Papers | Other Personal Papers | Federal Records | Oral Histories]


This list summarizes the archival materials relating to World War I at the Harry S. Truman Library. Many of these personal papers, federal records, and oral histories document the activities of Battery D of the 129th Field Artillery Regiment. Captain Harry S. Truman commanded Battery D from July 11, 1918 through the end of the war on November 11, 1918. The library has training manuals, field orders, personnel records, and personal correspondence from the war as well as correspondence and printed materials relating to postwar reunions of Battery D members and other World War I veterans.

The page numbers in brackets represent an estimate of the relevant materials in each collection.

The Truman Library has other resources relating to World War I in addition to the materials identified in this subject guide.


HARRY S. TRUMAN PAPERS

PAPERS PERTAINING TO FAMILY, BUSINESS AND PERSONAL AFFAIRS—The Family Correspondence File contains more than one hundred letters from Truman to his fiancée Bess Wallace describing his experiences during and immediately after the war. The Military File includes a notebook in which Truman recorded his personal evaluations of the men who served under him in Battery D, other handwritten notes by Truman regarding his military service, maps of the front lines, field orders, and ammunition reports. [3200 pages]

PAPERS AS U.S. SENATOR AND VICE PRESIDENT—These papers include correspondence with Senator Truman concerning the claims of World War I veterans, usually involving requests for increased pensions or disability payments, and sometimes supported by detailed accounts of military actions in which they were involved. [6400 pages]

Truman, John Snyder, and Harry Vaughan at camp.

PRESIDENT’S PERSONAL FILE—Correspondence between President Truman and Battery D veterans such as Edward Meisburger, Vere Leigh, and Vic Housholder is included in this file, along with information on reunions of the 35th Division Association and the Battery D Association. [1000 pages]

POST-PRESIDENTIAL PAPERS—Included among these papers is correspondence between the former President and various Battery D veterans, mostly sharing recollections of the war and information concerning reunions and the deaths of old comrades. Notebooks that were found in Truman’s desk after his death contain detailed information about the men who served under him in Battery D, including their vaccinations, shoe sizes, and enlistment dates. [1000 pages]

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OTHER PERSONAL PAPERS

VERNE E. CHANEY—Contains handwritten and typed drafts of a World War I memoir focusing on Chaney’s experiences as a sergeant in Battery D, and including accounts of troop movements, daily events, and personal experiences. [125 pages]

EDWARD V. CONDON—Features postwar correspondence between Harry S. Truman and Condon, a private in Battery D, regarding their wartime experiences. [5 pages]

LORAIN H. CUNNINGHAM—Includes a diary and photographs from the war, a map of German artillery positions, and information about the Battery D Association’s postwar gatherings. [400 pages]

VIC H. HOUSHOLDER—Contains training manuals, Housholder’s handwritten account of his service in Battery D, and postwar correspondence between Housholder and Truman. [400 pages]

EDWARD JACOBSON—The World War I File contains materials collected by Jacobson that pertain to his service in the 129th Field Artillery: a book of scripture readings and a prayer book for Jewish servicemen, a pictorial history of the 35th Division, and a songbook for soldiers. [150 pages]

Truman with soldiers in France, World War I.

EDWARD P. MEISBURGER—Includes a brief history of Battery D, an official record of the 129th Field Artillery, correspondence between Meisburger and Truman, and printed materials regarding the postwar activities of Battery D veterans, their reunions, and their attendance at such events as Truman’s 1949 Inaugural and his funeral in 1972. [200 pages]

JOHN H. THACHER—Includes letters from Thacher to his law partners in Kansas City describing his experiences as an officer in the 129th Field Artillery; excerpts from the letters that were published in the Kansas City Star; and humorous cartoons depicting Captain Truman and other officers in the regiment. [50 pages]

35th DIVISION ASSOCIATION—Includes various items collected by World War I veterans: correspondence, unit histories, training manuals, rosters, maps, and printed materials. [12,000 pages]

L. CURTIS TIERNAN—Features Father Tiernan’s identity card as an Army chaplain during World War I, and his military decorations. [5 pages]

MARY JANE TRUMAN—Mary Jane Truman kept many of her brother’s World War I papers, including his commission as an officer in the U.S. Army in 1917 and military orders from the war. [100 pages]

ARTHUR W. WILSON—Includes postwar correspondence between Wilson and Truman relating to their service as officers in the 129th Field Artillery. [10 pages]

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FEDERAL RECORDS

RECORD GROUP 391: RECORDS OF U.S. REGULAR ARMY MOBILE UNITS: RECORDS OF BATTERY D, 129TH FIELD ARTILLERY REGIMENT—These records include official correspondence from Captain Truman and others regarding Battery D, equipment lists, and personnel information concerning furloughs, passes, disciplinary actions, pay, and insurance. These are photocopies of original documents in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration. [800 pages]

RECORD GROUP 407: RECORDS OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL’S OFFICE: MILITARY PERSONNEL FILE OF HARRY S. TRUMAN—Truman’s personnel records include information regarding his medical evaluations, promotions, and decorations during his service in World War I and his subsequent career as a reserve officer. [50 pages]

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ORAL HISTORIES

FREDERICK J. BOWMAN—Member of Battery D, 129th Field Artillery during World War I.

L. L. BUCKLEW—Associate of Harry S. Truman during World War I.

LORAIN H. CUNNINGHAM—1st Lieutenant, 129th Field Artillery during World War I.

EUGENE DONNELLY and EDWARD P. MEISBURGER—Members of Battery D, 129th Field Artillery during World War I.

EDGAR G. HINDE—Friend of Harry S. Truman, fellow officer in the 129th Field Artillery in World War I during World War I, and former postmaster of Independence, Missouri.

VERE C. LEIGH—Member of Battery D, 129th Field Artillery during World War I.

World War I Color Guard marching down a street in Kansas City, MO.

EDWARD D. McKIM—Served under Capt. Harry S. Truman, Battery D, 129th Field Artillery Regiment, 1917-19, and, subsequently in the U.S. Army Reserve with Mr. Truman.

Truman in his World War I Army uniform.

TED MARKS—Friend and associate of Harry S. Truman in the Missouri National Guard, 1906-11; Captain of Battery C, 129th Field Artillery in World War I, 1917-19; and subsequently served in the U.S. Army Reserve with Mr. Truman.

JOHN W. MEADOR—Grandview, Missouri, friend of the Truman family.

WALTER B. MENEFEE—Member of Battery D, 129th Field Artillery in World War I.

HARRY E. MURPHY—Member of Battery D, 129th Field Artillery during World War I.

FLOYD T. RICKETTS—Member of Battery D, 129th Field Artillery during World War I.

HARRY H. VAUGHAN—Personal friend of Harry S. Truman and associate during World War I; Military Aide to President Truman, 1945-1953.

ARTHUR W. WILSON—Associate of Harry S. Truman during World War I.

McKINLEY WOODEN—Member, Battery D, 129th Field Artillery during World War I.