TRU Blog

TRU Blog

Remembering President Harry S. Truman | December 26, 2017

Harry S. Truman passed away 45 years ago today. The former president was 88 years old.

The following week, on January 3 and 4, 1973, 47 Congressmen and 70 Senators offered memorial tributes eulogizing the 33rd President of the United States on the floors of House of Representatives and the Senate, including Senators Robert Dole, Barry Goldwater, Edward Kennedy, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Stuart Symington, Adlai Stevenson and Strom Thurmond. Republicans and Democrats alike joined together to praise Truman, his decisiveness, his humility and, above all, his service to the American people.

But perhaps our favorite tribute to President Truman came from his hometown paper, The Examiner. Whereas other eulogies focused on Truman’s presidency, the Examiner shone a light on the living legacy of President Harry S. Truman, the cause to which he dedicated his most active years following his presidency – the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, a site of research, education, reflection, and inspiration. Read More

Remembering President Harry S. Truman

Holiday Addresses from Harry S. Truman | December 22, 2017

President Harry S. Truman made eight Christmas addresses to the nation during his presidency. In these speeches, which were broadcast from Washington, D.C., or his home in Independence, MO, President Truman spoke about his faith and the connections between it and democracy, compared the plight of Jesus and Mary to that of those doing without or homeless during Christmas, heralded the bravery and purpose of those fighting in Korea, and called on his fellow Americans to uphold the promise of the Christmas story, democracy, and world peace.

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Holiday Addresses from Harry S. Truman

Benevolent Diplomacy: Children’s Art and U.S. Food Relief in Occupied Germany | December 15, 2017

Welcome guest blogger Kaete O’Connell, a Ph.D. candidate in history at Temple University, who received a Research Grant to explore the archives at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum thanks to the generosity of Truman Library Institute members and donors. Thank you to the American Historical Association for allowing us to reprint her blog post on food relief in post-war Germany.

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Benevolent Diplomacy: Children’s Art and U.S. Food Relief in Occupied Germany

The Faith of a First Lady: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Spirituality | December 6, 2017

“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes … and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility,” Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote. Throughout her monumental life, Roosevelt made choices that shaped the person she is remembered as today. She was a beloved first lady and a tireless social activist, but she was also a woman of great faith. Her beliefs and convictions fueled her passion to work for reform and advocate for civil rights, women’s rights and the rights of marginalized people around the world.

In Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography, local author Dr. Harold Ivan Smith provides a portrait of the legendary Eleanor Roosevelt and the spirituality that shaped her decisions as first lady and eventually as Harry S. Truman’s delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. Roosevelt survived a traumatic childhood that included the deaths of both of her parents, became first lady in a time of turmoil and helped the nation through a world war. Even after her husband’s death, she continued in public service and as a lifelong friend of Truman. Dr. Smith’s latest book provides an inspirational look into Roosevelt’s life offers a new angle on her life and legacy.

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The Faith of a First Lady: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Spirituality

Meet Rachel MacMaster, 2017 John K. Hulston Scholarship Honoree | December 4, 2017

Each year some two dozen historians, writers and scholars receive Research Grants to explore the archives at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. These prestigious research grants are made possible thanks to the generosity of Truman Library Institute members and donors.

Donors have made it possible for the Truman Library Institute to give out nearly $2.7 million over the years for researchers all over the world to travel to Independence to immerse themselves in archival research and further our understanding of the Truman era.

The John K. Hulston Scholarship is unique in that it allows a researcher to visit multiple research facilities—including the Truman Library—for their research. Rachel MacMaster, a Ph.D. candidate at Syracuse University, was awarded this grant and recently traveled to the Truman Library to research. We took a few minutes of Rachel’s time to learn about her research and what she learned while on site at the Truman Library. Read More

Meet Rachel MacMaster, 2017 John K. Hulston Scholarship Honoree

The Presidency in the Post-Truth Era: Bennett Forum 2017 | November 9, 2017

Are we living in unprecedented times, or has America weathered similar situations in the past? David Von Drehle of The Washington Post kicked off the Howard and Virginia Bennett Forum on the Presidency this weekend by posing that question to presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Nearly 1,200 attendees were enthralled by the insightful conversation on American democracy and presidency, both past and current. The panelists discussed what makes a president great, what qualities to look for in a leader and the importance of studying history to help better interpret the events of our times.

“What does it mean to learn from history?” Goodwin asked. “It means you’re learning from the people who lived before you.”

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The Presidency in the Post-Truth Era: Bennett Forum 2017

Meet Research Grant Recipient Vivek Neelakantan | October 30, 2017

Each year some two dozen historians, writers and scholars receive Research Grants to explore the archives at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. These prestigious research grants are made possible thanks to the generosity of Truman Library Institute members and donors.

Donors have made it possible for the Truman Library Institute to give out nearly $2.7 million over the years for researchers all over the world to travel to Independence to immerse themselves in archival research and further our understanding of the Truman era. Read More

Meet Research Grant Recipient Vivek Neelakantan

The Accidental President: Harry Truman and the Four Months that Changed the World | October 18, 2017

On April 12, 1945, Harry S. Truman received an urgent summons from the White House. When he arrived, Eleanor Roosevelt told him, “The President is dead.” Truman asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?” Mrs. Roosevelt responded, “Is there anything we can do for you? For you are the one in trouble now.”

The next four months included the fall of Berlin, victory at Okinawa, the controversial decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the eventual end of World War II, the famine in Europe and the beginning of the Cold War. Harry Truman—a Midwesterner with no college degree, little money, and the prototypical ordinary man, who was not briefed by his predecessor—was thrust into the presidency in the midst of this tumultuous time. Read More

The Accidental President: Harry Truman and the Four Months that Changed the World

Photographing the President with Pete Souza | September 15, 2017

“Did they tell you President Obama was coming?” Pete Souza asked the crowd at Unity Temple last night, remarking on the fact that nearly 1,000 people had flocked into the auditorium to hear him speak.

Souza, the official White House photographer of Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, enthralled the audience with hilarious stories of White House practical jokes, insider experience sitting in every single Situation Room meeting of the Obama presidency and his poignant retelling of the days following the Sandy Hook massacre. He showed just a few of the nearly 2 million photos that he took during his eight years as Obama’s Chief Photographer, sharing behind-the-scenes stories of the photos of each. The crowd walked away with an insider’s look at both the presidency and Obama himself. Read More

Photographing the President with Pete Souza

‘The Grimmest Spectre’ | September 8, 2017

The World’s Emergency Famine, Herbert Hoover’s Mission, and the Invisible Year, 1946

Welcome guest blogger Dr. Lisa Payne Ossian, who recently received a Research Grant to explore the archives at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum thanks to the generosity of Truman Library Institute members and donors. Dr. Ossian traveled to the Truman Library to research the famine following World War II and wrote the following about her research.

“At President Truman’s request, Herbert Hoover had travelled 50,000 miles through 38 countries.
Few men except the starving themselves knew so much about food–and famine.”  – Time, 8 July 1946 Read More

‘The Grimmest Spectre’