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Ted Marks Oral History Interview

Oral History Interview with
Ted Marks

Military associate of Harry S. Truman in the Missouri National Guard, 1906-11; Captain of "C" Battery, 129th Field Artillery Regiment in World War I, 1917-19; and subsequently, he served in the U.S. Army Reserve Corps with Mr. Truman. In 1938 Marks was appointed Veterans Placement Officer for Missouri, Veterans Employment Service, U.S. Employment Service. He was made Staff Field Officer in 1947 and in addition to that position was Associate Chief of the Service from 1950 until 1953, when he retired. Mr. Marks has been a close personal friend of Mr. Truman since World War I.

Kansas City, Missouri
September 19 and November 27, 1962
by James R. Fuchs

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]


Notice
This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

RESTRICTIONS
This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened May, 1963
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]



Oral History Interview with
Ted Marks

Kansas City, Missouri
September 19, 1962
by James R. Fuchs

 

[1]

FUCHS: Mr. Marks, I imagine your name is Theodore Marks, is that correct?

MARKS: Theodore, but they call me "Ted." Nobody calls me Theodore.

FUCHS: Have they always called you Ted since you came to this country?

MARKS: Yes. Mr. Truman once in a while will say, "Hello Theodore," but we laugh and that's it. He likes to kid me, you know about those things.

FUCHS: Have you a middle name?

MARKS: No, no middle name. When we were born in England, they didn't look for middle names. It was John Jones or whatever.

FUCHS: What year were you born and where in England?

MARKS: November the 7th, 1882, in Liverpool, England.

FUCHS: And then, you lived in Liverpool most of your life in England?

MARKS: Yes, then we moved to Nottingham -- the lace industry there. It was well-known for the lace manufacture.

 

[2]

FUCHS: About what year was that?

MARKS: I was about eleven or twelve years old at that time, when my folks moved.

FUCHS: Did you have any brothers and sisters?

MARKS: Yes, I had three brothers and two sisters.

FUCHS: I see. And then your folks came over here about what year? Maybe you can remember better by how old you were when you came over?

MARKS: I was twenty-one -- twenty-two, somewhere around there.

FUCHS: How long had your folks been over here then?

MARKS: They had been over here about two or three years, if I remember right. You see I had served in the Grenadier Guards.

FUCHS: You were in the Grenadier Guards?

MARKS: Yes, I ran away from home when I was seventeen and enlisted in the Grenadier Guards and became a corporal.

FUCHS: Seventeen -- that would have been about 1899. You joined the Guards and your folks came over here a few years after that.

 

[3]

MARKS: Yes, a few years after that. My father came over with my eldest brother and then he sent for my mother and my two sisters and my other brothers. I came over by myself.

FUCHS: They came to Kansas City immediately when they...?

MARKS: Yes, my father met some fellow on the train and he told him that Kansas City was a good town to come to and that's why he came here, and he never left Kansas City.

FUCHS: You mean on the train after he got in this country? Where were they headed for at the time?

MARKS: Well, he was going west somewhere; I don't know where he was going. They didn't know at the time.

FUCHS: You served in the Guard then from the time you were seventeen until...?

MARKS: I served three years. Yes, I was in the Second Battalion, Grenadier Guards and Lord Gordon Gilmoor was the commanding officer; Lord Peel was another officer; the Honorable Gathorne-Hardy was another officer in our regiment. While I was in the Guards, of course, we stood on the outside and took all we could bear from the

 

[4]

civilians watching us. I understand now they put them on the inside of the gates of Buckingham Palace.

FUCHS: I think there was recently something in the paper about the people heckling them.

MARKS: Yes, that's what I saw. When we were there, of course, we stood on the front gates and the boys and girls would come up and touch your buttons or something like that, you know. And then we used to go up to the Bank of England. It was an old custom. The bank was well-guarded but they decided to send a guard up to the bank every evening. We would march up the Thames embankment to the bank and we would ask each other, "Who's the officer of the guard tonight?" If we knew he was a sportsman, we anticipated riding up on the bus; however, if he was struggling along, why, we would walk. And I won't tell you the names we used to call him to ourselves.

FUCHS: Well, that's very interesting. Then did you leave the guards to come to this country or did you get out and pursue some other occupation over there for awhile.

MARKS: No, I left the Guards and came to Liverpool and stayed there a while and then came over to this country.

 

[5]

FUCHS: Did you start your occupation as a tailor while you were in England?

MARKS: Yes, I was a tailor in England. In those days, of course, we used to sit on the floor and make coats.

FUCHS: Was this after you were out of the Guards, or before?

MARKS: After I was out of the Guards.

FUCHS: About how many years did you practice tailoring in England before you came over?

MARKS: Well, of course, as a youngster my father had a workshop in one of the rooms in the house and when we came from school we'd have to go up and thread needles so he wouldn't have to thread them.

FUCHS: Oh, your father was a tailor?

MARKS: Oh yes. My two brothers were tailors as well. One brother stayed in England. He raised two boys; one came over to this country recently and he was a lieutenant in the second war, in the English Navy -- my brother's boy in England. He was here recently to see us, my sister and I. He's up in Canada now. He's something with the schools up there. He's a very smart young fellow.

 

[6]

FUCHS: Then what year did you come to the United States?

MARKS: 1906. Yes, 1906

FUCHS: You landed in New York?

MARKS: I landed in New York. Came steerage into New York and got on a train and didn't know where to go.

FUCHS: Had your folks anticipated your coming?

MARKS: Yes, but I decided to come to see the folks first and that's where I met a fellow on the train and in talking to him, he said Kansas City was a good town to come to.

FUCHS: You knew your folks were here.

MARKS: Yes, I told him that I was coming here. He told me it was a good town to be in. So, that's how I came to Kansas City.

Upon arriving in Kansas City, I met a fellow named Trenary and he had a boy in the National Guard, and Trenary was the chief mechanic, and he told me it would be a fine thing for me if I would join the National Guard and get acquainted with some people. So, I met him one night and went down to the battery at 17th and Highland where I met a corporal. I was told to go upstairs to the battery clerk's office. Upon arriving there

 

[7]

I saw a corporal sitting at the desk who wore glasses. He said, "What can I do for you?"

I said, "I'd like to enlist, sir."

He said, "How long have you been in this country?"

"About six months, sir."

"You speak pretty good English for the time you've been here."

And I thought, "What kind of country is this to come to?"

FUCHS: You say that this man you met here was the chief mechanic of the battery.

MARKS: Battery -- National Guard.

FUCHS: Oh, they had a position they called a mechanic?

MARKS: Yes, in those days -- chief mechanic.

FUCHS: What were their duties?

MARKS: Well, we had guns there -- three inch guns -- and if anything went wrong he could tinker around with them. Yes, he knew the guns. He had a son in the National Guards. He was a bugler -- Ira Trenary.

FUCHS: You said you had been. In the country about six

 

[8]

months. Had that time been spent mostly in Kansas City?

MARKS: Yes, in Kansas City.

FUCHS: You were here sometime before you went and enlisted in the National Guard?

MARKS: It was probably about six months and I met this fellow and he knew my father and we were discussing the service, and I was very much interested in the military and I wanted to get acquainted with the fellows here, so I enlisted. Of course, Harry Truman was the battery clerk.

FUCHS: Did any more words pass at that time, between you and Mr. Truman?

MARKS: No, not at that time. I was taken downstairs to the drill. They were drilling that night. Captain George R. Collins was the commanding officer, and he introduced me to the battery members and I was one of them.

FUCHS: Did you have to pay twenty-five cents, I believe it was, a night to drill? There's something I've seen -- Mr. Truman wrote about in his Memoirs, where he said they went out to some hall and paid twenty-five cents a night for the privilege of drilling. I wondered what

 

[9]

that had reference to. You don't recall anything about that?

MARKS: No, I do not. It may be that they went to drill somewhere and they charged them for it; I wouldn't know. I don't remember.

FUCHS: You didn't have that experience.

MARKS: No, I did not have that experience.

FUCHS: Were you living at home at the time, with your folks?

MARKS: Yes, with my folks.

FUCHS: Were you practicing tailoring at that time?

MARKS: Yes, I was a tailor and got a job in Kansas City. Started out at twenty-five dollars a week, which was comfortable in those days.

FUCHS: You weren't working with your father then as a tailor?

MARKS: No.

FUCHS: Was he a practicing tailor.

MARKS: He had a store on -- 13th and Walnut -- on 13th Street.

FUCHS: Your father had a store there, you say, but you didn't go in with him. Where did you work?

 

[10]

MARKS: For Bergfeldt and Roueche. They were tailors for a number of years -- high-class tailors. In those days they used to charge seventy-five dollars for a suit, which was quite a large sum. I belonged to the Merchants Tailor's Association later on when I went in business for myself. We would meet once a month and discuss the problems we were having in fitting people and it was quite interesting. Each one would say something about his difficulties and that's where we could straighten them out. It was a great help -- that was the Merchant Tailor's Association.

FUCHS: About what year did you go in business for yourself? Was it before World War I?

MARKS: Yes. I closed my business to go down to the Mexican border. Then I came back and opened up again, and six months later I closed again and went overseas.

FUCHS: Well, Mr. Truman, as you know, served two three-year hitches, from 1906 to 1911. Do you have any memories of him at various drills or any other meetings that the Guard had during that period?

MARKS: No, I didn't at that time because he was up in the office most of the time during the drill night, and we

 

[11]

would be drilling down in the basement or out in the field.

FUCHS: He spent his time as a corporal in the orderly room?

MARKS: In the orderly room because there was plenty to do there with the records. Occasionally he would come down and drill.

FUCHS: Well now, there were other corporals, did they pass the duty around or did he have a assignment as -- I don't know what the title would have been -- as orderly room officer there?

MARKS: Battery clerk. He was a non-commissioned officer -- corporal, I believe at the time.

FUCHS: He was the battery clerk for Battery B and that was then the 2nd Missouri Field Artillery?

MARKS: At that time it wasn't called the 2nd Missouri; that came later on. It was just Battery B of the Missouri National Guard.

FUCHS: And there was one battery here and another...?

MARKS: Another in St. Louis. Battery A was in St. Louis; Battery B in Kansas City; and Battery C in Independence.

 

[12]

FUCHS: Was that all the National Guard that there was in the state?

MARKS: Yes.

FUCHS: As you say, Mr. Truman spent most of his time in the orderly room, so you didn't really have much contact with him in those years.

MARKS: He would come down once in a while for drill, but there was quite a number of things to do in an office when fellows were enlisting -- keeping records -- making out papers for them. So he didn't have too much time; but he did drill occasionally on the first floor, we had a drill room.

FUCHS: Who were some of the other officers or non-commissioned officers at that time?

MARKS: Lieutenant Boxley was one of them; he was a very fine officer. Dr. Pittam was the medical officer; George Collins was the captain at that time.

FUCHS: That was the ranking commanding officer?

MARKS: George R. Collins was the ranking officer of the battery. He was very strict and had a good battery

 

[13]

at that time.

FUCHS: Were there other non-commissioned officers, that you recall in addition to Mr. Truman?

MARKS: I don't remember.

FUCHS: You were a private in the ranks, at that time.

MARKS: Yes, at about that time, I was a private in the ranks.

FUCHS: You say that in 1916 you went to the border with Pershing?

MARKS: I don't know about Pershing. We went down on the Mexican border in 1916. I was in business and closed my business and went down with the battery. Of course, I was supposed to go, so I went down there with them, and was first sergeant on the Mexican border. Spent six months on the Mexican border. Then, I came back and opened up my business again. Then in the spring, I closed it again to go overseas.

FUCHS: I believe I earlier said 1906 to 1911 -- actually Mr. Truman was in the Guard from 1905 until 1911 -- in those years you don't have a great many recollections of seeing him, and then in 1911, of course, he was back on the farm and he dropped out of the Guard; then he came back in

 

[14]

1917. Between 1911, when he was out of the Guard, and 1917, do you have any memories of contact with him during those years or did you sort of lose track of each other.

MARKS: Well, I'd see him occasionally. I don't remember. I can't think of the fellow's name that was with him. I think he was doing something -- had some kind of job downtown, for two or three years, I guess. If I remember correctly.

FUCHS: Well, before the war he went into the oil business.

MARKS: That was later on, of course.

FUCHS: That was with Jerry Culbertson and a David Morgan and that was around '16 or '17. He had to drop out of that to go to the war. You have some recollection of that?

MARKS: I remember him speaking of Culbertson, in fact, I think I met Mr. Culbertson at one time. We began to be together more in those days.

FUCHS: Then, in 1917, the battery expanded, is that correct, into the regiment?

MARKS: Yes, the battery was part of the regiment -- the

 

[15]

129th Field Artillery recruited a number of men. (Battery A in St. Louis, Battery B in Kansas City, and Battery C in Independence.) They built up with recruits for D, E, and F. Then they assigned the officers to these batteries.

FUCHS: Do you remember Mr. Truman playing a particular role in that expansion of the battery?

MARKS: Well, he was around all right in those days. We spent quite a number of hours around there doing things -- arranging things with some of the officers, I remember. You see, being the battery clerk in B battery, he knew a lot of them and they would get together and discuss with him some of the important things, I presume.

FUCHS: I just wondered what his capacity was. It's been said that he helped expand the battery into the regiment, but, of course, he'd been out of the battery and was no longer the battery clerk. Then he came back in and when the batteries were organized, he became the first lieutenant -- he was elected the junior first lieutenant in F Battery, I believe.

MARKS: Well, when they were going to organize, he was very

 

[16]

active then in helping to organize the regiment. Then he was assigned to F Battery and was assigned later to C Battery and came later to command D Battery. Of course, I was in B Battery and was assigned later to C Battery as commanding officer.

FUCHS: Was that when you were still in this country or was that overseas?

MARKS: No, that was here.

FUCHS: That was after you had gone to Camp Doniphan?

MARKS: Yes.

FUCHS: Then were you elected as an officer?

MARKS: We elected officers, that was it. I was elected a second lieutenant and had no assignment at that time. But then when the batteries were organized, I was the first lieutenant in Battery B with Tom McGee. He was the first lieutenant. Then I was transferred later on, to Battery C as commanding officer, before we went overseas. Captain Dancy commanded Battery A.

FUCHS: That was Keith Dancy.

 

[17]

MARKS: Yes, Keith Dancy.

FUCHS: Do you have any recollection of the canteen that Mr. Truman and Eddie Jacobson operated at Camp Doniphan?

MARKS: Yes, they organized this canteen down at Doniphan and it was considered one of the best-run canteens in the service. They were very strict. They had quite a large assortment of things and they made a lot of money for the batteries. At the end of the month, they would know the profits and some of it went to the batteries for certain things, you see, to help them out.

FUCHS: That was remarked upon at the time that it was an exceptionally well-run canteen?

MARKS: Yes, yes. We'd have men from other regiments coming in when it was down there to buy things. Of course, Eddie Jacobsen, as you know, was a very good provider here. He knew his business; he was a very good business man. Harry took care of the financial part of the deal and served. He served, like anyone else, the customers as they came in.

FUCHS: Oh, he worked in the canteen?

 

[17a]

MARKS: Yes. Once in a while you'd see him in there, you know. He'd say, "What can I do for you?" He had a lot to do with organizing that canteen.

FUCHS: I've seen notes someplace that he was the regimental school instructor while he was at Doniphan. Now, do you have a recollection of that and just what that would have entailed? I always assumed that that meant a regimental school in which they taught artillery practice and so forth, and I was wondering...?

MARKS: We had schools down there, of course, before we went

 

[18]

overseas -- after we got in the Federal service. Harry would be called upon to teach some of these things to the other officers -- make speeches to them about some of the things to be done.

FUCHS: Did you do that same sort of thing?

MARKS: Well, they would call upon you occasionally as to what your opinion of something was. We went to school and the regular Army would have an officer there and quiz us to see what we knew about our jobs as battery commanders. We had to be on our toes, because they were sending officers home all the time; and it was the last thing I'd want to do, and I'm sure anyone else would want to do, was to go home and say you weren't qualified. So, you can just think how hard we worked there. We didn't have much time there to spare -- to waste.

FUCHS: Do you remember Mr. Truman as being adept at speaking, and did he seem to have confidence in those days?

MARKS: Oh yes, with his battery. He was very strict with them and he knew what he wanted to do for the battery, and he had a darn good battery.

FUCHS: I was thinking of his ability to get up and instruct and give a lecture. Did he do well at that sort of thing?

 

[19]

MARKS: Yes, very well. Better than I'd do.

FUCHS: Mr. Truman, I believe, had a Stafford touring car. Do you have any recollections of that around the post there? There's a story that he took his car to camp.

MARKS: I remember he had a car, but I don't remember the incident and the name of it. It was an old-time car, and I think he had that for a while there, but what happened to it later on, I do not know.

FUCHS: Was he one of the few, or did quite a few of the officers bring cars?

MARKS: I don't think there were many of them who brought any cars up there. I don't know how he got his there. I remember the incident now, I'd forgotten.

FUCHS: Now, Mr. Truman went over on what might be called an advance detail to take further artillery training. Did you go over then?

MARKS: There was a detail that was sent overseas -- an overseas detail -- I forget how many and who some of them were. Harry Truman was one of them. I think most of them were lieutenants -- second lieutenants and first lieutenants. I think Major Gates had something to do with it. Harry was put in command of them to organize the thing.

 

[19a]

FUCHS: Do you have any other memories of Camp Doniphan in which Mr. Truman is vividly associated?

MARKS: No, we didn't see too much of each other at Doniphan. We were very busy, because while we were in Camp Doniphan

 

[20]

we were out on maneuvers and training for overseas duty; and as far as I'm concerned, I tried to do the best I could do. I had my hands full to take care of 175 or 180 men and I went downtown very little.

FUCHS: That was to what town?

MARKS: Lawton, Oklahoma. We were at Camp Doniphan.

FUCHS: You didn't go into the town on leave very often?

MARKS: No, I don't think I was in town but two or three times. I don't want to talk about myself.

FUCHS: That's all right. We want you to.

MARKS: It took me longer probably at that time, to get things done. I knew what I wanted and I was tense in getting it done and sometimes I thought it better if I didn't go. That was the idea. I would have liked to have gone more. Very seldom I went downtown.

FUCHS: You thought you better stay home and look after the shop most of the time.

MARKS: Yes. Because at night the commanding general would walk around and see if you were on the job studying. I remember one night he came into my tent and I couldn't

 

[21]

hear him walking around -- he had slippers on -- and sat on the bed. He sat on the corner where the pillow was and the pillow slipped and he fell over. He wanted to know what I was reading -- we'd always have a drill book out, reading it when he came around. He wanted to know what I was looking at. He would ask where some other officer was and I'd say, "Well, he's down at the canteen; he was here a few minutes ago." That was it.

FUCHS: Do you think Mr. Truman went into town a little more than you did?

MARKS: I think he did. Occasionally, but not too much. None of us went into town too much. The commanding general was around.

FUCHS: Mr. Truman, I believe, went overseas fairly soon after he got to Camp Doniphan. He couldn't have gone very much, as you say.

MARKS: None of them went to town very much. There was nothing in town, but occasionally they'd go to buy something they really needed before they went overseas. Maybe something to do with the canteen in town. As I say, I was tense and wanted to make sure that everything was so, in other words, I didn't want to be sent home.

 

[22]

FUCHS: You wanted to make a success of your duties as an officer and be certain you got overseas.

What is your first recollection of Mr. Truman over in France, do you recall seeing him there during combat?

MARKS: Yes, I'd see him occasionally. Of course, when we moved into position you wouldn't see them for several days until we got back to the billets. Overseas we were billeted in different towns, you see -- in the small towns. They'd put Battery A in one small town and a few miles would be Battery B -- all in the circle somewhere around there. There wasn't enough room for all the batteries in one town when we went into the Vosges Mountains.

FUCHS: What ship did you go over on?

MARKS: Let's see now. We went over on the Saxonia. Harry was on the overseas detail and preceded us. There was a large convoy that went over there.

FUCHS: Had you already assumed command of the battery at that time? You received your captaincy over here in this country?

MARKS: Yes, before I went overseas.

FUCHS: Mr. Truman, of course, after he was over on this detail, got his promotion. They've said a number of times that Mr.

 

[23]

Truman took over D Battery after five other captains had been unable to make it a success, But in the book, The Artilleryman, by J.M. Lee,* which lists the captains of Battery D, it only shows four, including Mr. Truman, which means there would have only been three preceding him, if it's correct.

MARKS: That's probably -- there wouldn't be more than that. I can't remember the names.

FUCHS: Do you think it's more than likely that there were only three captains who did precede him, rather than the five which some of these writers of biographies of Mr. Truman have alluded to?

MARKS: I think that three is closer. I'm sure that there was not more than that.

FUCHS: You were saying that after you were over there, you did have some contact with him before the end of the war.

MARKS: Yes, we'd see each other occasionally. Of course, we were in the Vosges Mountains first and you couldn't see each other. One battery was up in this mountain and another battery along another road but we came into -- I remember one time when we were there, three batteries

*Kansas City, Missouri: Spencer Printing Co., 1920, p. 347.

 

[24]

were on top of that mountain.. We were going to fire a gas barrage that night and we were waiting for the guns to come up. The colonel had ordered the guns up to these different positions, and we rode a horse up there waiting for the batteries to arrive. We were very tense then -- to get to firing and we knew that as soon as we fired, they would retaliate. As soon as we fired these gas barrages, we beat it in a hurry down the mountainside. It was raining, I remember, that night, and a boy in one of the batteries broke a leg coming down, Ned Boyer. He later was here in Kansas City. A gun wheel went over his leg. It's strange in those mountains. We had the maps, of course, and we'd take this trail up to the top and go into position and fire so many round of gas, then move out. It was dark when we moved out. However, the worst thing was, you couldn't carry a lantern because the enemy was there and you didn't know the people in the Vosges Mountains, whether they were friends or enemies, at that time. There was a Frenchman with a lantern, swinging it around, and one of the men kicked the lantern out of his hand and it went down the side of the mountain. He was afraid that he might be -- right or wrong -- he didn't want to take any chances that he might be a spy signaling. I remember that I had a mission down in the Mittlach Valley, called the Kiosque Barrage. That

 

[25]

was the barrage to fire when it seemed like there might be an attack coming. Each one had a sector to cover, you see. Mine was the Kiosque Barrage, down in the valley. Some of the batteries were up in the mountains. Well, of course, it was dark and raining and we'd never been up the mountainside before and we had a dickens of a time getting down the side of that mountain in the dark with small lanterns. When I arrived next morning, the colonel came by my place and wanted to know where I had been last night, and I told him the story. He said, "Well, we called on you for a barrage and you were not there." See, that's how tough it was in those days.

FUCHS: The Kiosque Barrage -- was that some sort of code name or was that an area?

MARKS: No, it was a point up in the mountains. You could see it through the valley. You see, each one would have a barrage to fire in the mountains and mine was at the low part of the mountain and I could look right up that valley. The Kiosque was a place where you could fire up into these hills, you see.

FUCHS: Did you have regimental officer's meetings in those days or was it just primarily battery meetings? In other words,

 

[26]

did you officers get together from time to time and did you see Mr. Truman?

MARKS: No, I didn't see Mr. Truman in the Vosges Mountains after we dispersed to go up to different roads to the mountains -- why, we didn't see each other until we came out, except to fire a gas barrage.

FUCHS: They didn't call the officers together for meetings? They ran the orders up to you.

MARKS: Yes, that's it. Where to fire on certain points. But I was very close to Harry Truman's battery that night. He was on my left as we were facing the front.

FUCHS: I see. Now, when you came back from overseas, Mr. Truman got married shortly.

MARKS: Yes, soon after he came back.

FUCHS: You were in his wedding, is that right?

MARKS: Yes, he asked me whether I would stand up for him at his wedding, and I said I would consider it an honor.

FUCHS: Were you about the closest man to him at that time, or how did you happen to...
.
MARKS: Well, for some reason, we were always together. In

 

[27]

fact, when we came home I opened my tailor's shop, and my tailors made a little saw-tooth checked suit for me and I had one made for Mr. Truman in the same color. We looked like twins. I think he was married in that. He didn't wear dress clothes to be married.

FUCHS: The suit wasn't made particularly for the wedding though?

MARKS: I think that's what it was for; if I remember right. Yes. Of course, they wouldn't wear it today, you know. It was a little check -- black and white.

FUCHS: You went right back to tailoring clothes then?

MARKS: Oh yes, when I got back I moved into the Board of Trade building, in the arcade, and had a nice store there. A number of the businessmen from the Board of Trade were my clients.

FUCHS: Were there quite a few people at Mr. Truman's wedding?

MARKS: Yes, there were a lot of people there.

FUCHS: Did the battery members attend?

MARKS: The battery members were there -- yes. It was just a quiet wedding, didn't take long. I was nervous, holding the ring. Then, after the wedding, I took his mother down

 

[28]

to see Harry off. She had me by the arm, you know, and she was a small woman, and I said to her, "Well, now, Mrs. Truman, you've lost Harry."

And she looked up at me with those little blue eyes and said, "Indeed I haven't." And she never did. I can see her face to this day.

FUCHS: There was an usher named Alden Millard who was in the wedding. Do you know who he was?

MARKS: The name's familiar. He must have been one of his men, wasn't he?

FUCHS: I really don't know. I've never seen anything else on him, but in the newspaper article, it says the ushers were George Wallace and Alden Millard. Did you remember them taking pictures at the wedding or was that not done in those days?

MARKS: I don't remember them taking any pictures and I never saw a picture of the wedding, did you?

FUCHS: No, I haven't.

MARKS: I don't think there were any pictures taken. They'd take them now, wouldn't they?

 

[29]

FUCHS: Oh, yes. Then did you take Mrs. Truman back to the farm?

MARKS: Well, it was Grandview, but it was the old home. The old farm. I used to go and see her there once in a while. We became great friends.

FUCHS: You had an automobile then?

MARKS: Oh, sure, I had an automobile. I told you about being arm in arm with his mother and I said, "You've lost Harry now."

FUCHS: Well, that's an interesting story. She didn't think she had.

MARKS: She looked up at me with those little blue eyes and she said, "Indeed I haven't." And she never did. I used to go see her once in a while, and Harry would be there and he'd take a nap while he was there. He always liked to nap when he had the opportunity. Just a few minutes. He'd close his eyes and lay down and he'd come up ready to go again.

FUCHS: Did you participate in reserve activity right after the war?

 

[30]

MARKS: Yes, I was in the reserve and took the general staff and command course.

FUCHS: Did this start right in 1919 -- you went right on?

MARKS: I kept on going after that time. Yes, it was the general staff and command course at Leavenworth.

I remember one time Harry and I were ordered up to Leavenworth and I didn't see him. He was alone in another room and I was in a room to myself. .And it was a test of your ability to give orders. You had a telephone there and an order would come down as to what was happening up front. You'd have to communicate with your officers over the phone -- each one, tell them what to do and that's how we passed the examination up there. That was tough.

FUCHS: Yes, it sounds like it would be. Mr. Truman stayed in the reserves, too?

MARKS: Yes, he was very much interested in the reserves -- stayed there and was very active in there.

FUCHS: He continued right after the war though, there wasn't any lapse of time?

MARKS: No, he continued on.

 

[31]

FUCHS: When did you start going to summer camps? Was that right away?

MARKS: You mean after the war?

FUCHS: After the war, yes.

MARKS: No, for a while I think I missed a few with business, of course, and I think he did too. He was traveling some at that time. That's as near as I can remember. I don't remember going to summer camp.

FUCHS: You did go to summer camp later on with Mr. Truman?

MARKS: Yes, we were both very much interested in the service. He was a colonel and I was a major.

FUCHS: As you know, Mr. Truman went into the haberdashery in 1919 -- started a men's furnishings business. Did you have any part in his decision to do that?

MARKS: No, he told me he was going into business. I already was in business before I went overseas, you see, and so I went back to my tailoring establishment. Then he opened up. We used to meet there in the evenings -- some of his battery members would meet there. Judge Ridge would be there sometimes.

 

[32]

FUCHS: He didn't ask your advice as to whether you thought it would be good...?

MARKS: No, we discussed it and I told him he had a lot of friends and should do well.

FUCHS: He had already made the decision?

MARKS: Eddie Jacobson and he were great friends and had discussed this before they went home, I think, because they went into business together.

FUCHS: Did he sell suits at the haberdashery or just hats...?

MARKS: I think they had just gent's furnishings and I think there was maybe some kind of summer suits or something like that -- lightweight, if I remember correctly.

FUCHS: You didn't feel like he was in competition with you?

MARKS: Oh, no, no. I would make his clothes.

FUCHS: Even at that time.

MARKS: Oh, yes, sure. I used to make all his clothes. I made all his evening clothes.

FUCHS: He would have been wearing tailor-made clothing even when he was selling ready made suits himself?

 

[33]

MARKS: Well, Eddie took part of it. Harry would get around a lot, you know, and was mixing with people. He never stayed in the store all day -- he would get out and go to lunches and mix with people, you know. He was very well-known in that way and Eddie Jacobson would stay around and take care of the business.

FUCHS: Did you go in the store frequently?

MARKS: Oh yes, especially in the evenings. We'd sit around and gas about the war or something like that. What we should have done and what we shouldn't do.

FUCHS: Did the store stay open most evenings?

MARKS: Well, in those days, if I remember correctly, the store was open in the evenings. After I'd close my store, I'd go over there and -- course, it was a busy place along there then, and it picked up a lot of business they wouldn't do otherwise.

FUCHS: Do you remember Judge Ridge studying there -- of course, he was not "judge" at that time -- studying law?

MARKS: Yes. He would always have books under his arms. I remember Judge Ridge had an old dilapidated car in those days. Of course, just coming back from the war he was just

 

[34]

a kid, a young fellow then, and he had a girl. We'd ride in this car, and he was going to get married, you know, and I'd talk to his girl and say, "Let's pretend." And I'd put my arm around.

And he'd say, "Limey, you better come up to the front here." Just having fun with him, you see. He married that same girl. She was a wonderful girl.

FUCHS: Did you participate in the American Legion activities right after the war?

MARKS: Yes, also in the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I was past-commander of the 35th Division of Veterans of Foreign Wars at that time and a member of the Legion...