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Harry S. Truman Papers: Papers as U.S. Senator and Vice President

Dates: 1934-1945

The Harry S. Truman Papers: Papers as U.S. Senator and Vice President, contain correspondence, handwritten notes, memoranda, newspaper clippings, printed materials, speeches, and other items pertaining to Truman’s service as United States Senator from Missouri from 1935 to 1945, and his brief tenure as Vice-President, from January 1945 to April 1945.

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

ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 140 linear feet, 1 linear inches (about 256,000 pages)
Access: Open, with the exception of a few documents that are closed in accordance with the legal instructions of the donors.
Copyright: Harry S. Truman donated his copyright interest in writings in these files to the United States Government. Documents created by U.S. Government officials in the course of their official duties are likewise in the public domain. Copyright interest in other documents presumably belongs to the authors of those documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Frank Barkofske, Jerry Hess, Erwin Mueller, and others (1959, 1963, 1975); Tammy Kelly, Jan Davis, and Jessica Seigler (2009).

The creation of this online resource was made possible in part by funding from the William T. Kemper Foundation - Commerce Bank, Trustee.


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

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1884 (May 8)

 

Born, Lamar, Missouri

1887

 

Moved with family to farm near Grandview, Missouri

1890

 

Moved with family to Independence, Missouri

1901

 

Graduated form Independence High School

1901-1906

 

Lived in Independence and Kansas City, Missouri; held various jobs, including clerk at two Kansas City banks

1905-1911

 

Served in Missouri National Guard

1906-1917

 

Worked on family farm near Grandview, Missouri

1917-1919

 

Served in 129th Field Artillery; commanded Battery D during World War I; promoted to rank of Captain

1919 (June 28)

 

Married Bess Wallace at Trinity Episcopal Church, Independence, Missouri

1919-1922

 

Partner with Eddie Jacobson in Kansas City haberdashery

1923-1925

 

Eastern District Judge, Jackson County (Missouri) Court

1924 (February 17)

 

Daughter Mary Margaret born

1927-1935

 

Presiding Judge of the Jackson County (Missouri) Court

1935-1945

 

United States Senator from Missouri

1945 (January 20-April 12)

 

Vice President of the United States

1945 (April 12)-1953 (January 20)

 

President of the United States

1953 (January)

 

Left Presidency and retired to Independence, Missouri

1957 (July 6)

 

Helped dedicate the Harry S. Truman Library, Independence, Missouri

1972 (December 26)

 

Died, Research Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri

     

A more detailed timeline of Harry S. Truman's life and Presidency is available on the Truman Trivia Page.

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

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The Harry S. Truman Papers: Papers as U.S. Senator and Vice President contain correspondence, handwritten notes, memoranda, newspaper clippings, printed materials, speeches, and other items pertaining to Truman’s service as United States Senator from Missouri from 1935 to 1945, and his brief tenure as Vice-President, from January 1945 to April 1945. While there are some documents in the collection that date from Truman’s first term as Senator, most of the collection relates to Truman’s second term. The material from the first term (1935-1941) was presumably destroyed after being removed from Truman's office and sent into storage somewhere in the Senate Office Building. There is also some material in the collection dating from April of 1945, after Truman became President, that is attached to correspondence Truman received while still Vice President.

The Papers as U.S. Senator and Vice President are arranged into seven series. The first and main series is the Correspondence File. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject. Subjects covered include Kansas City, Jackson County, and Missouri politics; the Missouri River and flood control (especially in Kansas City); transportation issues; Army and Navy enlistments, commissions, discharges, and court martial cases; correspondence seeking Truman’s intervention regarding appointments to jobs or obtaining benefits; aid to veterans and their dependents; and correspondence seeking Truman’s assistance in obtaining money for federal projects. Material related to these topics is sometimes filed under the topic heading, or the name of the person who wrote to Truman.

Within the Correspondence File are several large subgroups of material. Two large groups of correspondence are with young men seeking entrance to the Naval Academy and the United States Military Academy. These files are arranged by location (Annapolis or West Point) and thereunder alphabetically by surname of applicant. The files include correspondence from the applicants and their families, references, and others interested in the young man’s application (including Tom Pendergast). Some of this material dates from 1934, shortly after Truman was elected to the Senate and before he even arrived in Washington.

A second major subgroup in the Correspondence File is the Applications for Government Jobs. These are divided into whether or not the person obtained a position, and thereunder alphabetically by surname. Some of this material dates from as early as 1934. Material in this subgroup documents the hardships people experienced during the Great Depression, and the appropriate connections sometimes required to get a position.

A third subgroup of material is the applications for immigration. This includes correspondence from people in Missouri seeking Truman’s intervention to assist people wanting to come to the United States. As one might expect for this time period, much of the material relates to Jewish people coming from areas controlled by Germany. The correspondents with Truman include his former business partner Eddie Jacobson and Kansas City friend Alex Sachs, among others.

There are several segments related to National Defense topics. One contains general material related to National Defense issues. Much of this material consists of correspondence from people in Missouri complaining about war-related issues, such as ration plans for various commodities or problems obtaining supplies and equipment. Other correspondence relates to businessmen and local government officials seeking Truman’s assistance in getting government contracts. Similar materials can be found in the files related to the Office of Price Administration and the War Production Board. There is also a large amount of correspondence from people seeking Truman’s aid or intervention in getting government facilities (veterans hospitals, airports, etc.) and defense plants located in various places in Missouri.

The second major segment of National Defense material is related to the Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, popularly known as the Truman Committee. Much of the correspondence in this segment consists of commendations of Truman and the work of the Committee and tips concerning specific plants, camps, companies, or industries that the writers felt the Committee ought to investigate. There is also a small amount of correspondence from other members of the Committee and employees of the Committee. This segment also contains summaries of selected Committee hearings compiled by the Library of Congress Legislative Reference Service. More material related to defense issues and World War II can be found with the material about the Navy Department and the War Department in the Correspondence File.

The second series, the 1944 Campaign File, consists of two subseries. The first, the Card File, contains index cards of names and addresses of people invited to two 1945 Inaugural receptions: one hosted by the White House, the other hosted by John Snyder. The second subseries, the Correspondence File, primarily consists of correspondence and telegrams congratulating Truman on his elevation to the Vice-Presidency. Both of these subseries are arranged alphabetically.

The third series, Masonic File, contains correspondence, telegrams, newspaper clippings, printed materials, speeches, and memoranda related to Truman’s Masonic memberships. This series is arranged chronologically. The correspondence is equally divided between members of the Masonic hierarchy in Missouri and leaders of local lodges throughout the state. The vast majority of the correspondence relates to Masonic business and requests for Truman to attend various Masonic functions and communications, especially during his tenure as Grand Master of Missouri in 1940-1941.

The fourth series, the Cross Reference File, is arranged alphabetically by surname. This series consists of cross reference sheets created by Truman’s Senate staff that refer to items in the Correspondence File. Most of the correspondence is in the material related to the War Department, regarding commissions, transfers, promotions, and the like.

The fifth series is the Speech File, which is divided into four subseries. The first, the Press Release File, is arranged chronologically. This series contains printed copies of speeches given by Senator Truman. Some are labeled as press releases, while others are simply typed copies. Some of the files contain copies of speeches from the Congressional Record This subseries is digitized in its entirety and available online.

The second subseries, the Draft File, is also arranged chronologically. This series contains both typed and handwritten drafts of speeches delivered by Harry S. Truman. Some of the items in this series are simply press release copies. Some of the items may be reading copies of speeches. Most of the material that is in the Press Release File is also represented in the Draft File. This subseries also contains drafts for speeches that Vice-President Truman was scheduled to give after April 12, 1945; these speeches obviously were not delivered. There are also speeches by Senator Truman in the Correspondence File. Most, but not all, of the speeches in the Correspondence File are duplicated in either the Press Release File or Draft File.

The third subseries is the General File, which is also arranged chronologically and contains press releases, drafts, and reading copies of speeches given by Truman. This subseries contains many of the speeches delivered by Truman during the 1944 Presidential campaign. A good portion of this material is duplicated in the Press Release File and Draft File. This material has not been integrated into the other two subseries, as it was accessioned separately. The General File was part of the original donation of Truman’s papers; the Draft and Press Release Files were kept by Mr. Truman and did not come to the archives until after Mr. Truman’s death.

The fourth subseries is the Reference File, which is arranged alphabetically. This subseries contains newspaper clippings, press releases, reports, correspondence, and printed material that could be used in speeches. The press releases tend to be speeches given by various government officials and legislators. There are numerous press releases from the Republican National Committee during the 1944 Presidential campaign.

The sixth series is the Civil Service Job Applicant File, which is arranged alphabetically. These are note cards containing the names and addresses of people writing to Truman seeking civil service jobs. This file acts as a cross reference to the Applicants for Government Jobs section of the Correspondence File. The cards are color coded as to whether the person obtained a position or not, and whether they had references – that is, if they had appropriate Democratic Party credentials.

The seventh and final series is the 1940 Campaign File, which has two subseries. The first, the Contributors File, is a card file consisting of names of people who either contributed or were asked to contribute to Truman’s 1940 Senate campaign. It is arranged alphabetically. The second subseries, the Financial Data File, contains cancelled checks, bank statements, memoranda, lists, and memorabilia related to the campaign. Nearly all of this material relates to the 1940 Senate primary in Missouri, which was a more challenging race for Truman than that year’s general election.

Other materials at the Truman Library that relate to this collection include the Truman Papers Pertaining to Family, Business, and Personal Affairs; Truman Papers: Papers as Presiding Judge; and the papers of James Aylward, Fred Canfil, Harry Easley, Hugh Fulton, Lou Holland, Victor Messall, James Pendergast, Lloyd C. Stark, and Sam M. Wear. Federal Records related to this time period include two series from Record Group 46: Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program and Bills Introduced by Senator Harry S. Truman, 1935-1938. Oral histories that pertain to this time period include Mildred Dryden, Mr. and Mrs. John Earp, Edgar C. Faris, Jr., Shirley Hehmeyer, Walter Hehmeyer, Jane Taylor Lacy, Neale Roach, Harold G. Robinson, Wilbur Sparks, John H. Tolan, and Harry Vaughan.

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

Series Descriptions

Container Nos. Series Description
001-264 CORRESPONDENCE FILE, 1934-1945

Correspondence, cables, invitations, handwritten notes, maps, memoranda, newspaper clippings, photographs, press releases, printed materials, reports, speeches, drafts of legislation, receipts and bills related to Harry S. Truman and his service in the United States Senate. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

265-273 1944 CAMPAIGN FILE, 1944-1945

consisting of two subseries:

         265 Card File, 1944-1945

consisting of cards recording invitees to events celebrating Harry S. Truman’s election to the Vice-Presidency. Arranged alphabetically surname.

         266-273 Correspondence File, 1944-1945

consisting of correspondence, cables, newspaper clippings, photographs, and memoranda related to the 1944 Presidential campaign. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

273-276 MASONIC FILE, 1936-1945

Correspondence, cables, invitations, speeches, printed materials, and memoranda related to Harry S. Truman’s Masonic membership and positions. Arranged chronologically.

276-282 CROSS REFERENCE FILE, 1941-1945

Cross reference sheets created by Senator Harry S. Truman’s staff that refer to items in the Correspondence File. Arranged alphabetically by surname.

282-292 SPEECH FILE, 1935-1945

Consisting of four subseries:

         282-285 Press Release File, 1937-1945

consisting of press releases and printed copies of speeches delivered by Senator Harry S. Truman. Arranged chronologically. Entire subseries digitized and available online.

         285-290 Draft File, 1935-1945

consisting of press releases, notes, memoranda, and typed and handwritten drafts of speeches delivered by Senator Harry S. Truman. Arranged chronologically.

         290-291 General File, 1941-1945

consisting of press releases, notes, speeches, and typed and handwritten drafts of speeches delivered by Senator Harry S. Truman. Arranged chronologically.

         291-292 Reference File, 1941-1945

consisting of newspaper clippings, press releases, reports, correspondence, and printed material used as reference material for speeches written for Harry S. Truman. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

293-302 CIVIL SERVICE JOB APPLICANT FILE, 1935-1945

Cards containing names and addresses of persons who sought the assistance of Harry S. Truman in applying for a job. Arranged alphabetically by applicant’s surname and by position sought.

303-320 1940 SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN FILE, 1940

consisting of two subseries:

         303-319 Contributors File, 1940

consisting of cards containing names and addresses of contributors to Harry S. Truman’s 1940 Senatorial campaign. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

         320 Financial Data File, 1940

consisting of ancelled checks, bank statements, memoranda, lists, and memorabilia related to Harry S. Truman’s 1940 Senatorial campaign. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Folder Title List

Box 1

CORRESPONDENCE FILE, 1934-1945

Absentee Voters
Absentees
Adams, Dr. C. F.
Agriculture Department: February-September, 1943
Agriculture Department: March-April, 1944
Agriculture Department: May-December, 1944
Agriculture Department: January-April, 1945
Air Transportation Policy
Alien Camps
Alien Property Custodian
Box 2

CORRESPONDENCE FILE, 1934-1945

Allen, Colonel Harry B.
American Legion
American Legion – St. Louis, Missouri
American Lithofold Corporation
American Medical Association
American Sash and Door Company, Moss, F. J., President
Annapolis: General [1 of 2]
Annapolis: General [2 of 2]
Annapolis: Applicants – Adkins, Lewis Warner
Annapolis: Applicants – Allen, George Wayne
Annapolis: Applicants – Anderson, Clay J., Jr.
Annapolis: Applicants – Andrews, Roy C.
Annapolis: Applicants – Arnold, J. T., Jr.
Annapolis: Applicants – Ashley, Courtland Lee
Annapolis: Applicants – Baker, James I.
Annapolis: Applicants – Barlow, E. A. (Son)
Annapolis: Applicants – Barnes, Clarence E.
Annapolis: Applicants – Bates, Ferdinand C.
Annapolis: Applicants – Beach, Roswell
Annapolis: Applicants – Beeler, James Walter, Jr.
Annapolis: Applicants – Berry, George C.
Annapolis: Applicants – Berry, Preston E.
Annapolis: Applicants – Blanton, John
Annapolis: Applicants – Boggess, William Samuel
Annapolis: Applicants – Bohner, Earl A., Jr.
Annapolis: Applicants – Bonar, Arlie Emerson
Annapolis: Applicants – Boniface, William
Annapolis: Applicants – Borders, M. W. (Son)
Annapolis: Applicants – Bosley, Donald B.
Annapolis: Applicants – Boss, Marvin
Annapolis: Applicants – Bourk, Gil P., Jr.
Annapolis: Applicants – Bowman, James
Annapolis: Applicants – Boyle, John
Annapolis: Applicants – Bradford, Monte Hale
Annapolis: Applicants – Bradley, Frank L.
Annapolis: Applicants – Brandt, Buell F., Jr.
Annapolis: Applicants – Brown, Jack H.
Annapolis: Applicants – Brown, William K. (Non-Resident of Missouri)
Annapolis: Applicants – Burns, Stanley
Annapolis: Applicants – Bush, Robert Samuel
Annapolis: Applicants – Campbell, Robert J., Jr.
Annapolis: Applicants – Cantrell, William Luther, Jr.
Annapolis: Applicants – Carbone, Joseph
Annapolis: Applicants – Carroll, Daniel M.
Annapolis: Applicants – Casey, William C.
Annapolis: Applicants – Catlin, Ralph Conner
Annapolis: Applicants – Cecil, William R.
Annapolis: Applicants – Chasnoff, Jacob
Box 3

CORRESPONDENCE FILE, 1934-1945

Annapolis: Applicants – Combs, Robert E.
Annapolis: Applicants – Conrad, Henry W.
Annapolis: Applicants – Cook, James Mitchell, First Alternate, 1940
Annapolis: Applicants – Crawford, George