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Biographical Sketch: Margaret Truman Daniel


Margaret Truman, daughter of President and Mrs. Harry S. Truman, was born on February 17, 1924, in Independence, Missouri. She was christened Mary Margaret Truman, Mary after her aunt, Mary Jane Truman, and Margaret for her maternal grandmother, Margaret Gates Wallace.

She attended public school in Independence until 1934 when her father was elected to the United States Senate. From 1935 until 1942, her school year was divided between Independence and Washington, DC. She was a student at the public schools in Independence from September to January. From January to May she attended Gunston Hall, a private school for girls in Washington. Graduated in 1942, she then enrolled at George Washington University and in 1944, the year her father was elected Vice President, she was awarded the Associate of Arts degree. She graduated from George Washington University in 1946, receiving the Bachelor of Arts degree in history. Her father, who had been President since April 12, 1945, gave the commencement address and presented her with her diploma.

When she was 16 years old, she began taking voice lessons in Independence from Mrs. Thomas J. Strickler, a family friend. On March 16, 1947, she made her concert debut singing over a nationwide radio hookup with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Karl Krueger. She made her first outdoor appearance as a singer on August 23, 1947 in the Hollywood Bowl before a crowd of approximately 20,000 people with Eugene Ormandy conducting the orchestra. Her first concert tour began on October 17, 1947, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On December 11, 1947, she sang in Constitution Hall, her first Washington concert, and the first time her parents had heard her sing in public. In 1948, she assisted her father in his successful campaign for reelection, making frequent trips with him on his "Whistlestop" campaign. In 1949, James A. Davidson became her manager, shortly after which she began taking voice lessons from Metropolitan Opera star Helen Traubel. In October 1949, she began another concert tour, and on November 20, 1949 made her first appearance in Carnegie Hall in New York City. On November 27, 1949, she made a concert appearance with the National Symphony Orchestra at Constitution Hall in Washington.

On July 20, 1950, Miss Truman had her first lesson with Sidney Dictch who had replaced Traubel as her voice instructor. In the fall of 1950, she made her first national television appearance on Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town" show, and began another concert tour which ended on December 5, 1950 when she again sang in Constitution Hall. In 1951 and 1952, she made trips to Europe with friends. She went on another concert tour in the spring of 1952 and participated in the Presidential campaign in the fall of that year.

In January 1953 when her father left the White House, she moved to New York City to continue her work with the National Broadcasting Company, with which she had signed a contract in February 1951. On May 27, 1955, substituting for Edward R. Murrow on his television show "Person to Person," she interviewed her parents. In 1955 and 1956, she acted as hostess on a radio program called "Weekday." In February 1965, she started her first daily television show as co-host on a half-hour special events program broadcast live from Philadelphia. In 1966, Mrs. Daniel conducted a radio program called "Authors in the News," a five-minute interview with prominent writers which was broadcast each weekday on more than 100 radio stations.

In 1955, Miss Truman met Clifton Daniel, at that time assistant to the foreign news editor of the New York Times. They were married on April 21, 1956, at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Independence, Missouri. They had four children; Clifton Truman, born June 5, 1957; William Wallace, born May 19, 1959 (died September 4, 2000); Harrison Gates, born March 3, 1963; and Thomas Washington, born May 28, 1966. The Daniels had five grandchildren.

In 1973, the Daniel family moved from New York to Washington where Daniel became chief of the New York Times Washington bureau. In 1977, Daniel retired and the family moved back to New York where Mrs. Daniel lived until shortly before her death. Clifton Daniel died at their home in New York City on February 21, 2000 at the age of 87.

From 1977 until her death, Mrs. Daniel served as secretary to the board of trustees of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation created by Congress in 1975 to award scholarships to college students planning careers in Government. She was also on the board of directors of the Harry S. Truman Library Institute, a non-profit corporation formed in 1957 to provide support to the Library in its educational activities. In 1979, Mrs. Daniel toured the country granting interviews and making television and radio appearances on behalf of the Toy Manufacturers of America, an industry association.

In 1983 and 1984 she was a member of the Executive Committee of the Truman Centennial Committee which made plans for the observance of the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of her father. Mrs. Daniel was the 1984 recipient of the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award presented annually by the City of Independence to an outstanding American citizen.

Mrs. Daniel was the author of the following books:

  • Souvenir, Margaret Truman's Own Story. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1956
  • White House Pets. New York: David McKay Co., 1969
  • Harry S. Truman. New York: William Morrow & Co., 1973
  • Women of Courage. New York: William Morrow & Co., 1976
  • Murder in the White House. New York: Arbor House, 1980
  • Murder on Capital Hill. New York: Arbor House, 1981
  • Murder in the Supreme Court. New York: Arbor House, 1982
  • Murder in the Smithsonian. New York: Arbor House, 1983
  • Murder on Embassy Row. New York: Arbor House, 1984
  • Murder at the F.B.I. New York: Arbor House, 1985
  • Murder in Georgetown. New York: Arbor House, 1986
  • Bess W. Truman. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., 1986
  • Murder in the CIA. New York: Random House, 1987
  • Murder at the Kennedy Center. New York: Random House, 1989
  • Murder at the National Cathedral. New York: Random House, 1990
  • Murder at the Pentagon. New York: Random House, 1992.
  • Murder on the Potomac. New York: Random House, 1994.
  • First Ladies. New York: Random House, 1996
  • Murder at the National Gallery. New York: Random House, 1996
  • Murder at the Watergate. New York: Random House, 1998.
  • Murder in the House. New York: Fawcett Publishers, 1998.
  • Murder at the Library of Congress. New York: Random House, 1999.
  • Murder in Havana. New York: Random House, 2001.
  • Murder at Ford's Theatre. New York: Ballantine Books, 2002.
  • Murder at Foggy Bottom. New York: Random House, 2002.
  • Murder at Union Station. New York: Ballantine Books, 2004.
  • The President's House: 1800 to the Present. New York: Ballantine Books, 2004.
  • Murder at the Washington Tribune. New York: Ballantine Books, 2005.
  • Murder at the Opera. New York: Ballantine Books, 2006.
  • Murder on K Street. New York: Random House, 2007.
  • Murder Inside the Beltway. New York: Ballantine Books, 2008.

She was the editor of:

  • Letters from Father: The Truman Family's Personal Correspondence. New York: Arbor House, 1981
  • Where the Buck Stops: The Personal and Private Writings of Harry S. Truman. New York: Warner Books, 1989

Margaret Truman Daniel died in Chicago on January 29, 2008. She was 83 years old.