Harry S. Truman Library and Museum to Open
Truman’s White House Chief Usher Files
The White House Chief Usher is the head of household staff and operations at the White House, and in President Truman’s case, Blair House, where the First Couple resided during the renovation of the executive mansion.
By description, the Chief Usher is charged with the responsibility “for the effective operation of the White House Complex and Executive Residence, site of Official and Ceremonial activities of the Presidency, and a museum of our American history ... [Chief Usher] develops and administers the budget for the operation, maintenance, and utilities and supervises the Executive Residence staff.” In carrying out this charge, the Chief Usher must coordinate Executive Residence actions with a host of organizations including the Executive Office of the President, the National Park Service, the Secret Service, the General Services Administration, the military, and other government entities. The Chief Usher serves at the pleasure of the president and coordinates both official and family life at the White House.
During Truman’s administration, this responsibility fell to Chief Usher Howell Crim, who logged the movements of President Truman, First Lady Bess Truman, and any guests the First Couple received from 1945-1952. The White House Chief Usher Files note what time President Truman and Mrs. Truman took their meals, entertained guests, attended social functions, and retired for the evening. Used in combination with President Truman’s and Mrs. Truman’s individual appointment calendars, the Chief Usher Files will allow researchers for the first time to have a virtually complete account of the activities of, and interactions between, Harry and Bess Truman on nearly every day of the Truman presidency.
The White House Chief Usher Files will be available beginning February 12, 2010 in the Research Room of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, located at 500 W. U.S. Highway 24, Independence, Mo. The public is welcome in the Research Room free of charge Monday – Friday, 8:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum is one of 13 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and is supported, in part, by its not-for-profit partner, the Harry S. Truman Library Institute. To learn more, please visit TrumanLibrary.org.
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