Breadcrumb

Guide to the Motion Picture Collection of the Harry S. Truman Library

Compiled by Pauline Testerman and Anita M. Smith and Raymond H. Geselbracht

Introduction

The motion picture collection of the Harry S. Truman Library comprises almost 500 films (about 416,129 feet of film, running time about 208 hours) taken between 1934 and 1984. Almost all the Library's films are black and white, and over 90% are copyrighted.

The collection includes films of Truman giving speeches, participating in ceremonies, and traveling; newsreels depicting Truman and the events of his presidency; documentaries, including the 26 part series entitled "Decision: The Conflicts of Harry S. Truman;" and interviews and program appearances, including Truman's appearance on the Jack Benny Show in 1959 and his interviews with Margaret Truman in 1955, with Edward R. Murrow in 1958, and with David Susskind in 1960. In the production "Let's Take a Trip," Truman gives two children a tour of the newly completed Harry S. Truman Library. The collection also includes films of several television appearances by Margaret Truman on such programs as the Jimmy Durante Show, the James Melton Show, and "What's My Line." The earliest film in the collection depicting President Truman is a home movie shot in 1934; it shows a family dinner on December 19, 1934 in honor of Senator elect Truman. Only one other film shows Truman as U.S. Senator. Seven films show him as vice presidential candidate and Vice President; about 115 films show him as President; and about 215 films date from the years following his presidency. The last substantive film depicting Truman is of a presentation to him in 1966 of the first Medicare card by President Johnson. Very few films depict Mrs. Truman in a substantive way. The most important film showing her is a "Person to Person" program from 1955, in which Margaret Truman interviews her mother and father.

Films are listed in chronological order, with films whose year (but not month or day) of origin only are known being listed at the end of that year's listings, and with films whose date of origin is completely unknown being listed at the end of the collection. Each listing includes a title or other functional designation, an accession number, a date (precise or approximate), the film format and duration, indication of who produced the film and of its copyright status, and a brief description of the film's subject matter. The copyright information given in this guide is believed to be accurate; though in some instances sufficient information does not exist to allow a definite determination of a film's copyright status.

All of the films in the Truman Library's collection are available for viewing at the Library and for copying. The films are not loaned. Scene by scene descriptions are available for almost all the films listed in this guide; copies of these descriptions are available from the Library. The Library is creating online "shot lists" for each film. A shot list includes key words and time codes for each reel of film. Films for which online shot lists exist are indicated by a hyperlink (e.g., MP59-2) in the descriptions below. SD-quality copies of already digitized motion pictures are available for $20, and HD-quality copies of already digitized motion pictures are $50. Copies of motion pictures not already digitized will incur additional costs.

For information about the motion picture collection, please contact the audiovisual archivist by telephone at 816 268-8228, by e-mail at truman.reference@nara.gov, by fax at 816 268-8295, or by writing to the Library at 500 West U.S. Highway 24, Independence, Missouri 64050.

Search Results: 539

Motion Pictures Collection

Hong Kong, Shaw, and Gunboats (MP2010-4)
Hong Kong, Shaw, and Gunboats (MP2010-4)
Motion Picture/silent/Black & White/2 minutes 51 seconds
Production: Home movie from John Paton Davies Papers
Description:

Silent film clip from the John Paton Davies Papers of Hong Kong harbor, a ship, possibly the USS Shaw.

Senator Harry S. Truman Speaking (MP76-109)
Senator Harry S. Truman Speaking (MP76-109)
Motion Picture/silent/Black & White/50 seconds
Production: Unknown
Description:

Silent film clip of Senator Harry S. Truman speaking, occasion unknown.

Unknown (MP66-32)
Unknown (MP66-32)
/silent/Color/5 minutes 15 seconds
Production: Unknown
Description: Home movie which includes views of the home of Gen. Ralph Truman (President Truman's cousin), of Key West, Florida, and of an unidentified military parade (probably including the 35th Division) from the 1930s.
President’s Vacation Cruise (MP72-26)
President’s Vacation Cruise (MP72-26)
/silent/Black & White/4 minutes 45 seconds
Production: U.S. Navy
Description: President Truman arrives at Key West, Florida for a vacation. Scenes include Mr. Truman driving a car, and the arrival of cabinet members.
U. S. S. Augusta Leaves Shanghai (MP2010-3)
U. S. S. Augusta Leaves Shanghai (MP2010-3)
Motion Picture/silent/Black & White/2 minutes 41 seconds
Production: Home movie from John Paton Davies Papers
Description:

Silent film clip from John Paton Davies Papers that shows the USS Augusta departing from Shanghai harbor.

35th Division at Camp Robinson and Camp Clark (MP66-31)
35th Division at Camp Robinson and Camp Clark (MP66-31)
/silent/Black & White/6 minutes 30 seconds
Production: Unknown
Description:

General scenes of military maneuvers by the 35th Division infantry at Camp Robinson and Camp Clark. Harry S. Truman is not present.

Secretary of Commerce Charles A. Sawyer at Unidentified Meeting (MP92-18)
Secretary of Commerce Charles A. Sawyer at Unidentified Meeting (MP92-18)
Motion Picture/sound/Color/4 minutes 55 seconds
Production: Unknown
Description:

Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer and four unidentified men at unidentified meeting.

Home movies of Shangri-La/Lake Louise/Tacoma (MP2006-21)
Home movies of Shangri-La/Lake Louise/Tacoma (MP2006-21)
/silent/Color/9 minutes 30 seconds
Production: Unknown. Commander William M. Rigdon was President Harry S. Truman’s assistant naval aide
Description: Footage from the William M. Rigdon collection at Georgia Southern University, who retained the original films. This film shows three unidentified women at Shangri-La, now known as Camp David, a family at a private home, woods and mountains, Lake Louise, a zoo, and evidently Tacoma, Washington.
German Orphan’s Home (MP2006-36)
German Orphan’s Home (MP2006-36)
Video Tape/silent/Color/5 minutes 40 seconds
Production: Unknown
Description:

Footage from the William M. Rigdon collection at Georgia Southern University, who retained the original films. This film deals with German orphans in Europe visiting the United States.

35th Division at Fort Riley, Kansas (MP66-29)
35th Division at Fort Riley, Kansas (MP66-29)
/silent/Black & White/8 minutes 45 seconds
Production: Unknown
Description:

Film shows 35th Division practicing field maneuvers.

Home movies of Bethesda/Shangri-La (MP2006-20)
Home movies of Bethesda/Shangri-La (MP2006-20)
/silent/Color/5 minutes 46 seconds
Production: Unknown, possibly U. S. Navy footage. Commander William M. Rigdon was President Harry S. Truman’s assistant naval aide
Description: Footage from the William M. Rigdon collection at Georgia Southern University, who retained the original films. This film shows a group of men and women visiting sites in Washington, D. C., then visiting Shangri-La, now known as Camp David. Commander William M. Rigdon was President Truman's Naval Aide.
Great Americans (MP76-46)
Great Americans (MP76-46)
Motion Picture/sound/Black & White/2 minutes 15 seconds
Production: Warner Pathe News
Description:

President Theodore Roosevelt (portrayed by Sidney Blackburn) speaks on Americanism.

Birth of a Volcano (MP72-68)
Birth of a Volcano (MP72-68)
Motion Picture/sound/Black & White/10 minutes 45 seconds
Production: E.M.A
Description:

A commercial film about a volcano in Mexico.

Mein Kampf (MP64-6)
Mein Kampf (MP64-6)
/sound/Black & White/2 hours 14 minutes
Production: Tone Sjoberg Minewa Int. Film Prod. (Columbia Pictures)
Description: This motion picture, using historic film footage, depicts the story of Adolf Hitler's life and the rise and fall of the Nazi party.
Home movie of Paul H. Griffith (MP2005-5)
Home movie of Paul H. Griffith (MP2005-5)
/silent/Color/1 minute 54 seconds
Production: The Papers of Paul H. Griffith
Description: Footage of Paul H. Griffith as a young soldier, seated with an unidentified woman. Mr. Griffith later served as National Commander of the American Legion, 1946-47, and as Assistant Secretary of Defense, 1949-50.
Miscellaneous Film Advertisements (MP66-25 through 27)
Miscellaneous Film Advertisements (MP66-25 through 27)
/silent/Black & White/3 minutes 15 seconds
Production: Telespots, Inc
Description: A series of miscellaneous television advertisements for Tex's Grill, Haley's Packard, and Better Living.
Rigdon Family Vacation to Europe (MP2006-33)
Rigdon Family Vacation to Europe (MP2006-33)
Video Tape/silent/Color/43 minutes
Production: Unknown
Description:

The Rigdon family travels to Europe on the S. S. American Scientist. They visit London, Paris, Spain and return home.

Interview with Two of Mr. Truman’s Friends (MEISBURGER AND DONNELLY) (MP82-8)
Interview with Two of Mr. Truman’s Friends (MEISBURGER AND DONNELLY) (MP82-8)
Motion Picture, Video Tape/sound/Color/2 minutes 30 seconds
Production: Unknown
Description:

In this interview, two of Mr. Truman's friends, Eddie Meisburger and Eugene Donnelly, reflect on Harry S. Truman as soldier and president. Meisburger, a sergeant in Captain Truman's Battery D, recalls his experience with Truman in World War I. Donnelly reflects on Mr. Truman as president.

Scenes from Truman’s Vice Presidential and Early Presidential Career (MP76-14)
Scenes from Truman’s Vice Presidential and Early Presidential Career (MP76-14)
Motion Picture/silent/Color/10 minutes 10 seconds//11 minutes 5 seconds
Production: State Department, Army
Description:

Biographical footage covering Truman's life before his presidency and his participation in Navy Day ceremonies, October 16, 1945.

Suita Warazawska (The Power Behind The Nation) (MP72-34)
Suita Warazawska (The Power Behind The Nation) (MP72-34)
Motion Picture/sound/Black & White/11 minutes 35 seconds//7 minutes 10 seconds
Production: Tadeusz Makarczynski
Description:

A Polish documentary film, silent, with music, showing the revitalization of war damaged cities in Poland.

Home Movie of President Harry S. Truman at Military Base (MP2007-20)
Home Movie of President Harry S. Truman at Military Base (MP2007-20)
Video Tape/silent/Color/1 minute 35 seconds
Production: Unknown
Description:

Crowds of military personnel; President Truman arrives and shakes hands with military officers in line, then approaches podium and begins speech.

President Truman Visits Fort Lewis in Washington State (MP76-26)
President Truman Visits Fort Lewis in Washington State (MP76-26)
Motion Picture/silent/Black & White/2 minutes 50 seconds
Production: Unknown
Description:

President Truman's visit to Ft. Lewis in Washington state.

Secretary Ross Interviewed by Press (MP72-47)
Secretary Ross Interviewed by Press (MP72-47)
Motion Picture/sound/Black & White/6 minutes 50 seconds
Production: Unknown
Description:

Press Secretary Charlie Ross is interviewed by Frank Bourgholtzer. He speaks about such matters as President Truman's daily activities, his relationship to the press, and how he makes decisions.

Memories of World War II (MP59-2)
Memories of World War II (MP59-2)
Motion Picture/silent/Color/55 minutes//40 minutes
Production: Army and Navy Photographic units, Col . Kirke B. Lawton
Description:

Well captioned, good quality personal footage of people and events in France and Germany at the end of World War II. People in the film include Truman, Stalin, Churchill, DeGaulle, Eisenhower, Jodl, Marlene Dietrich, and Kay Summersby. Events covered include the surrender of Germany and the Potsdam Conference.

The American Creed (MP72-17)
The American Creed (MP72-17)
Motion Picture/sound/Black & White/3 minutes 5 seconds
Production: Unknown
Description:

Various celebrities talk about their reasons for joining the American Brotherhood of Christians and Jews. Speakers include Jimmy Stewart, Katherine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Jennifer Jones, and Van Johnson.