For Immediate Release: February 9, 1998
Contacts: Larry Hackman
816-268-8200
Truman Library and Museum

Julie Goldsborough
or Dean Davison
816-842-1500
Barkley & Evergreen Public Relations

LETTERS FROM BESS TO HARRY TRUMAN RELEASED FOR FIRST TIME
- Part of New 1998 Exhibition at Truman Library and Museum -

(Independence, Mo.) It is well known that Harry Truman wrote his wife Bess more than 1,300 letters during their 60-year courtship. It has long been believed that Mrs. Truman burned all of her letters to President Truman. But when the Truman Library and Museum opens its exhibition, "Dear Bess: Love Letters from the President" on Feb. 12, 1998, the public will have a chance to view 15 never-before-exhibited letters that Bess wrote to Harry. The exhibition runs through September 1, 1999.

Until now, the letters have not been seen outside the Truman family. The Trumansí 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 fiancť Harry Truman while heís serving in Europe during WWI, postmarked March 17, 1919. She discusses wedding plans, their plans to buy a car, and Harryís meeting the Prince of Wales and Gen. John J. Pershing.

Several other letters are written to Harry Truman a few years after they married. Harry has gone to Army Reserve summer camp and Bess misses him terribly. She writes on July 16, 1925,

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 Trumanís 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 museumís collection, including Trumanís WWI uniforms, the desk from his Capitol Hill Senate office and Bess Trumanís 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.

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