Margaret Truman’s New Life
The April 18, 1967 issue of LOOK Magazine featured a profile of Margaret Truman Daniel, daughter of Bess and Harry Truman, touring her former home in The White House. The issue, which featured Prince Charles and Dick Van Dyke, as well as “hippies” and the Vietnam War, asked:
“Can a girl from a small Missouri town find happiness in New York as the wife of one of America’s loftiest, most handsome press lords? Don’t tune in tomorrow … the answer is Yes! — provided the girl is Margaret Truman Daniel, daughter of our 33rd President, wife of the New York Times’ managing editor, mother of four boys and now a star in her own right as the zestful interviewer on a national radio show.”
White House photographer Robert L. Knudsun photographed the tour. Fifteen iconic images from “Margaret Truman’s New Life” are now part of the Truman Library’s photography collection, offering a rare view inside The White House Family Quarters.
LOOK Magazine interviews Margaret Truman Daniel in The White House Family Quarters.
In the Yellow Oval Room, located on the south side of the second floor in The White House, the official residence of the president of the United States. First used as a drawing room in the John Adams administration, it has been used as a library, office, and family parlor. Today the Yellow Oval Room is used for small receptions and for greeting heads of state immediately before a State Dinner. The room is entered from the Center Hall on the north side of the room. Three large windows on the south side of the room face the South Lawn and The Ellipse. The southwest window has a swing-sash door leading to the Truman Balcony. Double doors on the west side of the room, with flags of the United States and of the presidency on either side, lead to the president and first lady’s bedrooms, private sitting room and dressing room.
In the Family Quarters of The White House
Kitchen area of The White House Family Quarters
On the Truman Balcony, the second-floor balcony of the Executive Residence of The White House, which overlooks the South Lawn
The Family Dining Room on the State Floor of The White House. First families have traditionally dined in the Family Dining Room since about 1825 when President John Quincy Adams and First Lady Louisa Catherine Adams began to take their meals there. Today, the dining room is used primarily for smaller formal dinners and working lunches.
Margaret sits atop the massive bed—rosewood and rosewood-paint-grained walnut—in the Lincoln Bedroom. During the Truman administration, the Lincoln Bedroom became Margaret’s sitting room both before and after the reconstruction. It was there that one of the legs of the piano broke through the floor, prompting structural engineers to evaluate the whole house and decide that it was only still standing “out of habit” and begin the complete gutting and reconstruction of the mansion.
On the Truman Balcony, Margaret sits where her father might have been found with a book.
In the Yellow Oval Room, recalling dinners on the Truman china
In the Queens’ Bedroom, a lesser-known, but highly-distinguished room in The White House. Located on the second floor, the room acquired its current name after hosting royalty like Queen Elizabeth ll of Great Britain, Queen Sofia of Spain, and Queen Sonja of Norway. The room became a regular bedroom when the president’s staff was relocated to the West Wing, and it was repurposed as a guest suite during President Truman’s reconstruction of The White House from 1949 to 1952. Despite the name, the room has hosted important people of all ranks. Prime Minister Winston Churchill stayed in the Queens’ Bedroom while visiting Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. The first family’s relatives have often stayed in the room as well.
Margaret Truman Daniel stands beneath her father’s portrait in The Red Room, one of three state parlors on the State Floor in The White House.
Sitting atop Lincoln’s bed, Margaret recalled for LOOK Magazine a night in 1945. Getting into the spirit of The White House lore, she and two girlfriends slept in the bed, hoping to see Lincoln’s ghost.
Taking in the view from The White House Family Quarters
The Family Dining Room, decorated by Jacqueline Kennedy with antique wallpaper featuring battle scenes of the American Revolution
Margaret poses at a writing desk in The White House Family Quarters. Following her time there, the windows were upgraded with bullet-proof glass.
All images featured in this post are part of the extensive online photography collection of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.
More curated experiences from the Truman Library’s photography collection:
The Ceremonial Surrender of Japan
The Passing of a President