Messall, Victor R. Papers

Dates: 1933-1970

Secretary to Senator Harry S. Truman, 1935-1941

The papers of Victor R. Messall include correspondence, printed materials, and financial records relating to his work as Senator Harry S. Truman’s secretary and his subsequent career as a public relations consultant.

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

ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 5 linear feet, 3 linear inches.
Access: Open.
Copyright: The donor’s copyright in unpublished writings in this collection was given to the U.S. Government. Documents created by U.S. Government employees in the course of their official duties are in the public domain. The copyright interest in other documents in this collection presumably belongs to the creators of the documents or their heirs.
Processed by: Dennis Bilger (1971); Jan Davis and David Clark (2016); Randy Sowell (2023).


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

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Victor Richard Messall was born in Enid, Oklahoma around the year 1898. He graduated from high school in Joplin, Missouri. From 1932 to 1934, Messall served as secretary to Rep. Frank Lee, a Democratic Congressman from Missouri. From 1935 to 1941, he served as secretary (officially, Administrative Assistant) to Senator Harry S. Truman of Missouri. Messall was also the chairman of Truman’s reelection campaign in 1940. He resigned from Truman’s staff in 1941 to open a public relations office in Washington, D.C. Messall died in Washington on May 20, 1970.

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

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of Victor R. Messall are mostly related to his work as secretary to Senator Harry S. Truman from 1935 to 1941 and his subsequent career as a public relations counsel in Washington, D.C. The collection includes correspondence, printed materials, financial records, and other items, and is arranged in four series.

The first series is a Correspondence File containing letters, telegrams, and other materials received by Messall, and letters he sent to friends, clients, and associates. This series includes correspondence with Harry S. Truman and members of his family; friends of Truman such as Harry Easley and E. C. Faris, Jr.; prominent officials such as John Snyder, Stuart Symington, and Sherman Minton; and show business figures such as Gene Autry and Eugene Pallette.

The second series is a Subject File that contains correspondence with Messall as well as handwritten notes, financial records, and other materials. The Subject File includes additional correspondence with Truman and members of his family, as well as information about Truman’s political campaigns and his Inauguration in 1949, Messall’s work as his secretary during Truman’s first term in the Senate, and Messall’s previous employment as secretary to Congressman Frank Lee of Missouri. Much of the material in this series concerns Messall’s career as a public relations counsel. In addition to correspondence with Truman administration officials, the Subject File contains information about efforts to promote economic development in St. Joseph, Missouri during World War II; Messall’s contacts with friends, businesses, and prominent persons; his association with the maverick automobile manufacturer Preston Tucker; legal cases involving Messall; and a Senate investigation of his alleged acceptance of a fee from the Eatsum Food Products Company for trying to obtain a sugar quota for the company during the war.

The third series, the Harry S. Truman 1940 Senate Campaign File, contains correspondence, financial records, printed materials, handwritten notes, and other items pertaining to Truman’s campaign for reelection to the Senate, in which he faced a stiff challenge from Missouri Governor Lloyd Stark in the Democratic primary. Messall served as Truman’s campaign manager, and his involvement in the effort is reflected in a variety of documents in the series: lists of campaign contributors, potential contributors, county leaders, office staff, and local officials; check stubs and expense records; newspapers and press clippings relating to the election; and campaign literature.

The fourth series is a Publications File containing newspapers, magazines, and press clippings mostly regarding Truman and Messall’s association with him. Included in the series are Missouri newspaper articles from the 1940 campaign; articles in such national publications as Time, Life, and the Saturday Evening Post; and press clippings concerning the 1950 Senate investigation of Messall’s alleged involvement in a “sugar deal” in behalf of the Eatsum Food Products Company.

More information about Victor R. Messall can be found in the Harry S. Truman Papers (President’s Personal File 4522, Papers as U.S. Senator and Vice President, President’s Secretary’s Files, and Post-Presidential Papers).

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

SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos.

 

Series

1-2

  CORRESPONDENCE FILE, 1933-1970
Letters, telegrams, and other materials. Arranged alphabetically.
3-7   SUBJECT FILE, 1933-1970
Letters, telegrams, handwritten notes, financial records, and other materials. Arranged alphabetically.
8-10   HARRY S. TRUMAN 1940 SENATE CAMPAIGN FILE, 1936-1940
Correspondence, financial records, lists, printed items, handwritten notes, and other materials. Arranged alphabetically.
11-12   PUBLICATIONS FILE, 1933-1964
Newspapers, magazines, and press clippings. Arranged alphabetically.
[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Note | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]

FOLDER TITLE LIST

CORRESPONDENCE FILE, 1933-1970

Box 1

  • A
  • Ba-Be
  • Bixler, Catherine
  • Bl-Bu
  • Ca
  • Ch-Cl
  • Co-Cu
  • D
  • E
  • F-G
  • H
  • I-J
  • K
  • L
  • Mag-Mays
  • Mc
  • Me-Mi
  • Mo-My
  • N

Box 2

  • O-P
  • R
  • Sa-Se
  • Sh-Sy
  • Ta-Tr
  • Truman, Harry S.
  • Truman, Mrs. Harry S.
  • Truman, Vivian
  • Tu-Z

SUBJECT FILE, 1933-1970

Box 3

  • Allis, Barney L.
  • Applications for Positions and Letters of Recommendation: Office of Congressman Frank E. Lee, 1933-1934
  • Applications for Positions and Letters of Recommendation: Office of Senator Harry S. Truman, 1936-1938
  • Biggs, Electra Waggoner
  • Brunson, W. T. "Bill"
  • Civil Aeronautics Authority
  • Coffin, Tris - Memo About President Truman, December 30, 1945
  • Congratulatory Messages and Replies, 1940-1944
  • Democratic Headquarters, 1941-1949
  • Democratic or Republican Party Slogans
  • Eatsum Food Products Company: Investigation, 1945-1950
  • Einbinder, Charles
  • Erhart, Colonel Frank H.
  • Faris, E. C. "Bud"

Box 4

  • "Five Percenters"
  • Glenn, Frank
  • Hatch Bill and Lobbyists
  • Healey, Joseph F.
  • Hites, Harry: Roosevelt Busts
  • Hodgden, Perry
  • Hunt, Elwood
  • Hunter, Hartman Corporation
  • Inauguration - President Harry S. Truman, 1948-1949
  • Lee, Frank H.
  • Man of Independence: Syndicated Version in Wichita Eagle, 1952
  • Martin, Julian A.
  • Messall, Victor: Personal [1 of 2]
  • Messall, Victor: Personal [2 of 2]
  • Messall vs. Pop Corn Sales, Inc.

Box 5

  • Miller, Kenneth D.: Miller vs. Messall (1950)
  • Minneapolis Aquatennial
  • Missouri Capital Democratic Club
  • Missouri Society of Washington, D.C.
  • Missouri, USS - launching of Battleship
  • Monroe, Frank
  • Moore, Vernon
  • Nachtman, Paul and Ray
  • Northeast Airlines, Inc.
  • Parrot, Forrest
  • Pendelton, Larry
  • Personnel: Lists of Appointees
  • Poem by Ogden Nash
  • Potts-Turnbull Company
  • Riggs National Bank, Washington, D.C.
  • Synthetic Rubber
  • Russell, Victor

Box 6

  • Schumpert, Paul
  • Senate Secretaries' Association
  • Sermon, Roger T.
  • St. Joseph, Missouri: Camouflage School
  • St. Joseph, Missouri: Newspaper Clippings
  • St. Joseph, Missouri: St. Joseph Plan, Inc. and Brown Transfer & Storage Company
  • St. Joseph, Missouri: St. Joseph Plan, Inc. and Chamber of Commerce [1 of 2]
  • St. Joseph, Missouri: St. Joseph Plan, Inc. and Chamber of Commerce [2 of 2]
  • Timmons for Vice President
  • Truman, Harry S.: Correspondence, 1940-1970
  • Truman, Harry S.: 1934 Senate Campaign Advertisement
  • Truman, Harry S.: 1944 Vice Presidential Campaign
  • Truman, Harry S.: 1948 Presidential Campaign
  • Truman, Harry S.: Personal Correspondence, 1940
  • Truman, Harry S.: President of the United States

Box 7

  • Truman, Harry S.: Reception, January 19, 1945
  • Truman, Harry S.: Sketches
  • Truman, Harry S.: Truman Record, 1940-1956
  • Truman, Mrs. Harry S.: Letter to Mother of Victor R. Messall, April 10, 1947
  • Tucker Corporation
  • Wagers on the 1944 Election
  • Ziff-Davis Publishing Company

HARRY S. TRUMAN 1940 SENATE CAMPAIGN FILE, 1936-1940

Box 8

  • Acknowledged Receipts
  • Address by Truman in Sedalia, Missouri, June 15, 1940
  • Advisory Board
  • Average Democratic Vote in Primary Elections
  • Blank Checks and Stubs
  • Budget
  • Campaign Limitation of Funds
  • Campaign Stationery
  • Cancelled Checks
  • Contributions [1 of 2]
  • Contributions [2 of 2]
  • Contributions: Rejection Notes
  • Contributors: Correspondence and Lists
  • Contributors: Postmasters
  • Contributors: Washington, D.C.
  • Democratic National Convention

Box 9

  • Election Information: State and National
  • Election Material: Press Releases and Notes
  • Election Publicity and Newspaper Coverage [1 of 2]
  • Election Publicity and Newspaper Coverage [2 of 2]
  • Employees and Departments
  • Finances: Daily Cash Receipts
  • Finances: Daily Reports
  • Ledger book
  • Key Men in Counties
  • Ledger of Expenses
  • Middleton, Joseph D.
  • Missouri: List of County Leaders, 1940
  • Organization of Truman for Senator Headquarters

Box 10

  • Parry, Thomas W., Jr.
  • Personnel in St. Louis Office
  • Postmasters
  • Primary Campaign Scrapbook
  • Primary Election: Official Returns and Related Correspondence
  • Publicity
  • Seventh District: Postmaster Appointments and Presidential Offices
  • Southwest Press Clipping Bureau: Invoice
  • Speech: July 31, 1940, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Standard Railroad Labor Organizations: Endorsement of Senator Truman
  • Truman for U.S. Senator 1940 Club: Membership Cards

PUBLICATIONS FILE, 1933-1964

Box 11

  • American Weekly, 1942
  • Collier’s, August 26, 1944
  • Congressional Record, March 5, 1943
  • Democracy in Action, March, 1942
  • Greater Amusements, October 12, 1945
  • Harper’s Magazine, April, 1945
  • Inter-American Exposition News, April, 1945
  • Jefferson City Daily Capital News, July-August, 1940
  • Jefferson City Post-Tribune, August 1, 1940
  • Kansas City Journal, July-August, 1940
  • Kansas City Labor Herald, August 2, 1940
  • Kansas City Times, November 3, 1948
  • Life, August 20, 1956
  • Look, May 22, 1951 and November 11, 1958
  • Missouri Democrat, January 19, 1940
  • Nation’s Business, November, 1945
  • New Orleans Times-Picayune, May 23, 1947
  • Saturday Evening Post, February 7, 1959
  • Scandals, c. 1941-1952
  • Scrapbook, 1933-1941
  • Scrapbook, 1937-1941
  • Scrapbook, 1944
  • Scrapbook, 1944-1945
  • Scrapbook, 1945-1947
  • Sedalia Democrat, August 8, 1940
  • Sedalia Free Press, July 26, 1940
  • Sedalia Times, July 26, 1940
  • Steelville Ledger, August 8, 1940
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 8, 1942 and February 7, 1951
  • St. Louis Star-Times, August 9, 1940

Box 12

  • Sugar Deal Investigation, 1950 [1 of 3]
  • Sugar Deal Investigation, 1950 [2 of 3]
  • Sugar Deal Investigation, 1950 [3 of 3]
  • Time, March 8, 1943
  • Transport Topics, March 17, 1941
  • Truman and Messall, c. 1937-1964 [1 of 2]
  • Truman and Messall, c. 1937-