or Dean Davison
Barkley & Evergreen Public Relations
Until now, the letters have not been seen outside the Truman family. The Trumans’ daughter, Margaret Truman Daniel, has granted permission for this one-time display. The 15 letters are drawn from a collection of 180 existing letters from Mrs. Truman to President Truman.
"We are grateful to Mrs. Daniel for allowing these letters to be displayed. Mrs. Truman's letters help illustrate the deep and abiding relationship between these two people," said Truman Library director Larry Hackman.
One of the letters is from Bess Wallace to her fiancé Harry Truman while he’s serving in Europe during WWI, postmarked March 17, 1919. She discusses wedding plans, their plans to buy a car, and Harry’s meeting the Prince of Wales and Gen. John J. Pershing.
When Harry was serving as a U.S. Senator in Washington, Mrs. Truman writes to share family and local news. She shows her frugal side by asking Mr. Truman to bring her back some hair nets that are 30-cents a dozen cheaper than those available in Independence.
"It is clear from these letters that Mrs. Truman was deeply in love with her husband. She sometimes has been portrayed as a somber woman; these letters show her to be very warm and supportive," said Hackman.
For example, on July 16, 1942, she writes with a cheerful critique of a speech by her husband broadcast on radio from Washington.
Several of the "Dear Harry" letters coincide with existing "Dear Bess" letters. Visitors to the exhibit can read these letters together and gain an even clearer sense of the love and history between the Trumans. Of this collection, no letters exist from Truman’s Presidential years. The latest letters are from 1942 (Truman served as President from 1945-1953).
In addition to the letters, visitors to "Dear Bess: Love Letters from the President" will live the Truman story through dozens of artifacts from the museum’s collection, including Truman’s WWI uniforms, the desk from his Capitol Hill Senate office and Bess Truman’s wedding dress.
The Truman Library and Museum is located at U.S. Highway 24 and Delaware in Independence, Mo. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a. m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission is $5 for adults, $4.50 for seniors, $3 for children ages 6 to 18, and free for children 5 years and under. For more information, call the Truman Library at 1-800-833-1225 .
The Harry S. Truman Library is one of ten Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.