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Sound Recordings Collection


The sound recordings in this collection consist of addresses, campaign speeches, informal remarks, and other statements delivered by Harry S. Truman during his long public career. The collection is a small segment of the Library's more than 2,600 sound recordings. While these recordings span the years 1934 through 1968 the majority date from the period of Truman's Presidency. There is one recording dating from the period of his service as County Judge in Missouri, five recordings from the years when he was in the United States Senate, and a single recording from the 82-day period when Truman served as Vice President. The Library has recordings of more than 750 of the nearly 1500 addresses, campaign speeches, talks, and informal remarks delivered by Truman during the nearly eight years he served as President. Two-thirds of these date from Truman's second term. Included in the collection are recordings of all but nine of the 65 press conferences held by Truman during his last two years in office. The Library also has recordings of many of the speeches and remarks delivered by Truman after leaving the White House. These date from 1953 to 1968 and include addresses delivered by Truman at meetings throughout the country as well as talks and remarks to individuals and groups who came to see him at the Truman Library. Most of the sound recordings on this list were presented to Truman while he was in the White House and were donated by him to the Nation, along with his White House papers and other historical materials, at the time the Truman Library opened in 1957. Many of them had been gifts from major broadcasting companies, broadcasting stations, and other private donors. Others were made by the White House detachment of the U.S. Army Signal Corps which recorded many of Truman's addresses and remarks during the 1948 and 1952 Presidential campaigns, as well as speeches and remarks delivered at the White House and elsewhere in the Washington area. The majority of the Library's recordings of speeches and remarks made by Truman after his retirement from public life were made by members of the Truman Library staff, although some donated materials are also included in this portion of the collection.


The recordings in this list are arranged chronologically by the date of the address, remark, or press conference was delivered or held. Also included for each entry are the file (accession) number, the location where the speech or remark was delivered; the length of the speech; and the company or agency which made the recording. In those instances where only a minor portion of a recording consists of remarks by Truman, the length of Truman's remarks (marked HST) and the entire recording are shown. The entries dated September and October 1948 and September, October, and November 1952 bearing the designation "rear platform remarks" are recordings of informal remarks delivered by Truman from the rear platform of the President's private railroad car. In the first instance he was campaigning for his own reelection; in the second he was campaigning for Democratic Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson. The entries in May 1950 designated "rear platform remarks" are informal talks delivered by Truman from his railroad car during a trip to the State of Washington to deliver an address at the dedication of the Grand Coulee Dam. For people interested in examining the texts of Truman's speeches, the Truman Library has in its manuscript collections copies of many of the addresses Truman delivered as a Senator and drafts and final copies of most of the speeches and remarks he made while he was President and after he left the White House. Texts of speeches made by Truman on the Senate floor can be found in the 1935 through 1944 volumes of the Congressional Record. The text of all but a few of the speeches and remarks delivered by Truman as President, as well as the text of his Presidential press conferences, are included in the Public Papers of the Presidents (Washington: Government Printing Office, 8 vols., 1961-1966).


The sound recordings are available for listening at the Library. The sound recordings are not loaned. Copies may be purchased subject to copyright restrictions where applicable. Copies of copyrighted sound recordings will be made only with the written permission of the copyright holder. The reproduction fee for digitized copies of sound recordings is $20. For more information about the sound recordings collection, please contact the audiovisual archivist by telephone at 816-268-8228, by e-mail at, by fax at 816-268-8295, or by writing to the Library at 500 West U.S. Highway 24, Independence, Missouri 64050.