Swoyer, Martha Ann Papers

Dates: 1940-1991

Niece of Harry S. Truman

The papers of Martha Ann Truman Swoyer consist of letters from her uncle, Harry S. Truman, and from Bess Wallace Truman, memorabilia related to President Truman, and other items.

See also Martha Ann Swoyer oral history interview.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


Size: Less than one-half of one linear foot (about 100 pages).
Access: Open
Copyright: Documents created by U.S. government employees in the course of their official duties are also in the public domain. Copyright interest in other documents presumably belongs to the creators of those documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Tammy Kelly and Adam Rich (2006).

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


1919 (January 31)


Born, Hickman Mills, Missouri

c. 1935


Graduated from Ruskin High School

c. 1945


Taught school in Lee’s Summit, Missouri

c. 1948


Worked as a bookkeeper for Peat-Marwick Mitchell; attended Kansas City University Law School at night



Graduated from University of Kansas Law School; married James F. Swoyer, Jr.



Taught school and worked as a lawyer in partnership with her husband

2008 (April 30)


Died, Oskaloosa, Kansas

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


This collection consists of copies of letters, invitations, memorabilia, and other items donated by Martha Ann Truman Swoyer, niece of Harry S. Truman. Mrs. Swoyer retained possession of the originals. When the originals were obtained by the Library for copying, they were roughly arranged in the manner in which this collection is arranged. Most of the items in this collection have been scanned, and the color prints of the scans comprise the collection. The Library has color master scans of these items on a CD. The remaining items are black and white photocopies.

The collection is divided into two series. The first series, the Correspondence File, consists primarily of letters written to Martha Ann Truman Swoyer by Harry S. Truman or Bess Wallace Truman. One of the letters is from President Truman to his brother, J. Vivian Truman, Martha Ann’s father. President Truman wrote to J. Vivian from Potsdam to tell him that he had just visited with J. Vivian’s son, Harry, an Army sergeant en route home from the war. Another letter is from Mary Jane Truman to Martha Ann, regarding an affidavit about Truman family possessions that Mary Jane gave to Martha Ann. The letter includes a copy of the affidavit, signed by Mary Jane, J. Vivian, and former President Truman. Of the remaining items in this series, there are two letters of note. One was handwritten by Truman on his way to Wake Island to meet General Douglas MacArthur. In this letter, Truman thanks Martha Ann for not being someone that he has to worry will “try to promote the relationship.” The other is a handwritten letter Truman sent after receiving a note of encouragement from Martha Ann regarding the firing of General MacArthur. Truman writes about the difficulty of being President, and the reasons he fired various other members of his administration. There is also a longhand note regarding Truman’s thoughts on Woodrow Wilson. The remaining letters in this series are more general in nature. All items in this series are available online.

The second series, the Memorabilia File, contains invitations, correspondence, and other items related to Harry S. Truman. Martha Ann and her husband, James F. Swoyer, Jr., attended the dedication of the Harry S. Truman Library, and this series contains their invitation, reply acknowledgement, passes to the reception at the Truman home following the ceremony, and an invitation to a reception the day before the dedication. Also included are invitations to the annual Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award Luncheon, and related items. Most of the items in this series were photocopied, rather than scanned. Items that were scanned are available online.

Other collections in the Truman Library that contain personal correspondence and notes of President Harry S. Truman include the President’s Secretary’s Files (Diaries File, Personal File, Family Correspondence File, and Longhand Notes File); the Post- Presidential Papers (Family Correspondence File); and the papers of the Colgan and Bruner Families, Mary Ethel Noland, Roy T. Romine, and Mary Jane Truman. The Papers of Harry S. Truman Relating to Family, Business, and Personal Affairs contain copies of school notebooks that are also in the possession of Mrs. Swoyer. The Library also has three oral history interviews with Martha Ann Swoyer; one conducted by the Library, and two with the National Park Service. Also of interest are the oral histories of Mary Ethel Noland, Fred Truman, and Mary Jane Truman.

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Series Descriptions

Container Nos. Series Description

Correspondence, primarily from Harry S. Truman or Bess Wallace Truman. Arranged chronologically. This entire series is available online.


Campaign material, correspondence, invitations, a postcard, and other items pertaining to Harry S. Truman, the Harry S. Truman Library, and the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award Foundation. Arranged chronologically. Selected parts of this series are available online.