Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


By Sue Gentry
Independence Examiner Truman Centennial Edition May 1984

Harry S. Truman's first pay, three big silver dollars, was "the biggest thing that ever happened to me," he recalled in later years as he spoke of his job in the old Clinton Drug Store on the Independence Square. In his wildest dreams he never would have believed he would someday earn $100,000 a year as president of the United States.

Harry Truman was 14 and a high school student in the old Ott School on North Liberty at College Street when he went to work for Jim Clinton. The year was 1898.

"I was at work at 6:30 a.m. mopping floors, sweeping the sidewalk, getting everything in shipshape when Mr. Clinton came in," Mr. Truman wrote in his memoirs.

"When everything was in order, there were bottles to be dusted and yards and yards of patent medicine cases and shelves to clean. I never finished the bottles and shelves before school time and had to start the next morning where I'd left off. How I hated Latin-covered prescription bottles and patent medicine shelves! "The drugstore had plate glass windows in front with a big glass jar shaped like an enlarged Greek vase in each window.

Clinton's Drug Store
Clintons Drug Store, Independence, Missouri

Ott High School
Ott High School

Early Jobs