Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Vrooman, Howard J., 1875-1937; Barr, Robert W., 1887-1942; Shannon, Joseph B., 1867-1943
County government; Legislators; Gambling

Longhand Note of Judge Harry S. Truman, Not dated. President's Secretary's Files - Longhand Notes.

[Undated]

More Character Sketches

Howard J. Vrooman was elected Judge of the County Court from Kansas City in Nov. 1926. He is the most accomplished host I've ever met. He loves the ladies all kinds just as they come and poor man he married a Xantippe. She was a lady of the same personal attraction and prospects of great wealth which I imagine appealed to Howard. He has the great American idea that the attainment of great wealth by any means is "success" with a capital S. She bore him three children. A boy on the paths of the father-two girls one attractive; the other the product of a finishing school. American finishing schools are usually the finish of any girl that goes to them. They learn birth control, to smoke, drink and new movements in carnal intercourse. If the country goes to hell as Babylon, Nineveh, Rome & Russia did it will owe a large part of its failure to the higher educational institutions for women. But to get back to Howard. He was put on the Democratic ticket by "Joe" the Rabbit Boss, and Joe instructed him to treat me for what I am in his estimation, that is the lowest human on earth. But Howard, excellent host that he is loved to play poker, shoot craps and do whatever else a good host does and I helped him display his talents and he liked me.

He and Barr used to shoot craps while court was in session down behind the bench while I transacted the business. "Joe" finally had to send his emissaries to me when he wanted anything, because when I wanted something done I'd let Barr & Vrooman start a crap game and then introduce a long and technical order. Neither of them would have time to read it and over it would go. I got a lot of good legislation for Jackson Co. over while they shot craps. Both of them thought that public office is a means of personal enrichment just as the old Roman thought whom Cicero fought so bitterly. By having a good host and a man with an inferiority complex I was able to expend $7,000,000.00 for the taxpayers benefit. At the same time I gave away about a million in general revenue to satisfy the politicians. But if I hadn't done that the crooks would have had half the seven million. I wonder if I did right to put a lot of no account sons of bitches on the payroll and pay other sons of bitches more money for supplies than they were worth in order to satisfy the political powers and save $3,500.000.00. I believe I did do right. Anyway I'm not a partner of any of them and I'll go out poorer in every way than when I came into office.

Howard poor fellow was busted by his Xantippe of a wife, rolled by his political faction because of his friendship for me and put out of office. Too bad he couldn't play the game because I liked him. The Rabbits decided to try a fat apparently strong utility expert. The House Doctor got the inside track on him and with all his connections nearly ruined him.


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