Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Harry Truman: 32nd or 33rd President?

Official records designate Mr. Truman as the thirty-third President, but he said he was the thirty-second since Grover Cleveland was elected President for nonconcurrent terms.

"If you count the administrations of Grover Cleveland twice because another President held office between Cleveland's first and second term," said Truman, "you might try to justify the designation of me as thirty-third President. But then why don't you number all the second terms of other Presidents and the third and fourth terms of President Roosevelt, and where will you be? I am the thirty-second President."

Despite this argument, the official proclamation, dated April 13, 1945, issued by President Truman on the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to Mr. Roosevelt as the thirty-second president.

Reference: MR. PRESIDENT
By William Hillman, quoted in GOOD OLD HARRY,
compiled by George E. Caldwell, New York:
Hawthorne Books, Inc., 1966