Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Chronology
Harry S. Truman's
Life and Presidency

Postpresidential -- 1953-72

 

1953-55

Worked on his memoirs, the first volume of which, YEAR OF DECISIONS, was published in November 1955. The second volume, YEARS OF TRIAL AND HOPE, appeared the following year.

 

1953

16 November: Addressed a nationwide audience on television to answer charges involving in the hiring Harry Dexter White, an alleged Communist, who was appointed to the International Monetary Fund during Truman's presidency.

 

1955

8 May: On his seventy-first birthday, broke ground for the construction of a privately financed Harry S. Truman Library building.


12 August: Presidential Libraries Act was signed, authorizing the General Services Administration to accept the papers of U.S. presidents, and the land, buildings, and equipment that are offered for a "Presidential archival depository."

 

1956

21 April: Attended the marriage of his daughter, Mary Margaret, to E. Clifton Daniel, Jr., well-known newspaperman, in Trinity Episcopal Church, Independence, Missouri. Grandsons were born in 1957,1959, 1963, and 1966.

11 May-3 July: With wife, Bess, toured Europe. Visited historical sites, met with a number of European leaders, including Winston Churchill, had an audience with Pope Pius XII, and received numerous honors, including an honorary degree from Oxford University on 20 June.

August: Announced his support of Governor Averell Harriman for the Democratic party's nominee for the presidency, but campaigned subsequently for Adlai Stevenson after the party's national convention selected him instead.

 

1956

December: Signed an agreement with the National American Newspaper Alliance to write a series of articles for publication in newspapers around the country. First article appeared in January 1957.

 

1957

February: Interviewed by Edward R. Murrow of CBS for a "See It Now" program that was aired one year later.

5 July: Presided over first meeting of Board of Directors of the Harry S. Truman Institute for National and International Affairs.

6 July: Participated in the dedication of the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri; it was the second presidential library to become part of the National Archives and Records Service.

 

1958

June: With wife Bess and the Samuel Rosenmans made his second trip to Europe in this postpresidential period.

 

1959

19 April: Participated in the dedication of his birthplace home in Lamar, Missouri. It had been purchased and restored by the United Auto Workers union, and then accepted by the state as a gift in 1959.

3 September: Hosted comedian Jack Benny in filming an episode of the Benny TV program in the Truman Library. Telecast on 18 October.

 

1960

Published MR. CITIZEN, a book about his postpresidential experiences.

20 August: Explained, in a press conference, his decision to support the candidacy of Senator John F. Kennedy who had won the nomination for the presidency at the Democratic party's national convention. Attending the conference also were Senators Henry Jackson and Stuart Symington as well as the nominee himself. Prior to the convention, Truman had publicly endorsed the candidacy of Symington.

8 October-4 November: Conducted a vigorous campaign speaking tour across the country on behalf of candidate Kennedy.

 

1961

20 January: With wife and daughter, was a guest in the White House on inauguration day, their first visit there in eight years.

9 March: Participated in twentieth anniversary reunion of his wartime Senate investigating committee.

June: Signed contract with Talent Associates-Paramount, Ltd. for a TV series on the Truman presidency. Rights were purchased later by Screen Gems, Inc., and the first of twenty-six one-half-hour episodes was telecast in November 1964. The series title: DECISION: THE CONFLICTS OF HARRY S. TRUMAN.

10 November: Hosted former President Eisenhower on the latter's first visit to the Truman Library.

 

1961

18 November: Joined President Kennedy, former President Eisenhower, and Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson in attending funeral services in Bonham, Texas for former House Speaker Sam Rayburn.

 

1962

10 August: Participated in the dedication of the Herbert Hoover Library in West Branch, Iowa.

 

1963

29 May: Large statue of Truman was unveiled in Athens, Greece, commemorating Truman as one of Greece's "greatest benefactors."

June: An endowed Harry S. Truman Chair in American History was established at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri.

26 November: Attended funeral of President Kennedy and met afterward with Eisenhower, effecting, to the press, a final "reconciliation" between these two former political adversaries.

 

1964

11-13 March: Attended the funeral of King Paul I in Athens, Greece, as President Johnson's personal representative.

8 May: Became the first former president to address the U.S. Senate while it was in formal session. The Senate honored him on his eightieth birthday.

25 June: Received from the South Korean ambassador to the United States the "Order of Merit for the National Foundation Joongjang," the republic's highest honor.


1965

March: Received award as "The Outstanding Television Personality of the Year" from the American Cinema Editors Association.

8 July: Brother Vivian died.

30 July: Participated in ceremony at the Truman Library during which President Johnson signed the Medicare bill, an event that Truman described as a "profound personal experience for me." Mr. and Mrs. Truman received Medicare registration cards numbers one and two in January 1966.

 

1966

20 January: Took part in a ceremony at the Truman Library announcing the founding of the Harry S. Truman Center for the Advancement of Peace, to be constructed in Jerusalem.

4 July: Made his last appearance as a speaker at the eighth annual 4 July celebration on the Truman Library grounds.

July: As a result of illness, Truman discontinued trips to his office at the Truman Library.

 

1968

12 October: Looked on as President Johnson signed a bill, in the Truman home, designating 24 October 1968 as U.N. Day. The president also issued a proclamation noting Truman's part in creating the United Nations organization in 1945.

 

1969

21 March: Was visited by President and Mrs. Nixon, after which President Nixon presented to the Truman Library a Steinway piano that had been in the White House during Truman's presidency.

 

1971

29 December: With wife Bess, daughter Margaret, and son-in-law E. Clifton Daniel, toured the Truman Library for the last time and viewed the film "For All the People" -- a new motion picture designed for the orientation of museum visitors.

 

1972

26 December: Died at the age of eighty-eight. His body was interred in the courtyard of the Truman Library on 28 December.

 

1978

3 November: The late Mr. Truman's only sister, Mary Jane, died.

 

1982

18 October: Mrs. Bess Truman died at the age of ninety-seven. Funeral services were held in the Trinity Episcopal Church in Independence on 21 October, after which her body was interred in the courtyard of the Truman Library.

 

 

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