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Harry S. Truman Papers: President's Secretary's Files

Date Span: 1800 - 1960; Bulk Date Span: 1945 - 1953

President Truman instructed his personal secretary, Rose Conway, to keep several categories of documents, including the most sensitive ones that came to his desk, in special files located near the Oval Office. The President's Secretary's Files include national security and intelligence information, the President's most sensitive correspondence, his speech file, records of his daily appointments, and the miscellaneous notes and memorandums that constitute his diary.

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


Size: 127 linear feet, 9 linear inches (ca. 233,600 pages).
Access: Open, with the exception that some documents that are closed for national security reasons or in accordance with the donor's legal instructions.
Copyright: Harry S. Truman donated his copyright interest in any of his writings in this collection to the people of the United States. In addition, documents prepared by government employees of the United States, in the course of their official duties, are also in the public domain. Copyright interest in documents, which do not fall into the aforementioned categories, is presumed to remain with the writers of the documents or their heirs.
Processed by: Dennis E. Bilger, Harry Clark, Erwin J. Mueller, and C. W. Ohrvall (1974-1987); Cynthia G. Edwards, Tammy Kelly, David Clark, and Randy Sowell (2004); Jan Davis and David Clark (2013, 2018).

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 and Subseries Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


1884 (May 8)


Born, Lamar, Missouri



Moved with family to farm near Grandview, Missouri



Moved with family to Independence, Missouri



Graduated from Independence High School



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



Served in Missouri National Guard



Worked on family farm near Grandview, Missouri



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



Partner with Eddie Jacobson in Kansas City haberdashery



Eastern District Judge, Jackson County (Missouri) Court

1924 (February 17)


Daughter, Mary Margaret born



Presiding Judge of the Jackson County (Missouri) Court



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 and Subseries Descriptions | Folder Title List ]



The President's Secretary's Files consist of thirty-two series. There are also multiple subseries in the collection. The first series, the 1) Speech File, is comprised of nine subseries. The first two subseries contain the originals (reading copies) of President Truman's 1948 and 1952 campaign speeches. The third and fourth subseries contain press releases and drafts of these campaign speeches. The fifth and sixth subseries contain the originals, press releases, and drafts of other speeches delivered by Truman during his Presidency. The seventh subseries contains drafts of speeches and related notes in Truman's handwriting. (The President personally wrote drafts of some major speeches, but more frequently, he edited drafts prepared by Clark Clifford or other speechwriters on the White House staff.) The eighth subseries contains miscellaneous information relating to speeches, and the ninth includes speeches delivered by others.

The 2) Political File consists of cables, charts, correspondence, financial records, memorabilia, newspaper clippings, printed materials, speeches, and minutes of meetings pertaining to the Democratic National Committee, elections, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinners, campaign gifts, candidates, platform strategies, state politics, and the 1948 Presidential campaign. Correspondents include Alben W. Barkley, India Edwards, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Clayton Fritchey, W. Averell Harriman, Adlai Stevenson, Louis Johnson, and Frank McKinney. Notable records within this series include material received from Frank Parks relating to the financing of Richard Nixon's 1950 Senatorial campaign, and requests that President Truman accept the 1952 Democratic nomination for President.

The 3) Press Conference File consists of two subseries, which contain transcripts of President Truman's press conferences from 1945 to 1953 and transcripts of press conferences held by the Secretary of State from 1948 to 1953. The 4) Press Release File also consists of two subseries. The first contains Presidential statements, proclamations, executive orders, appointment announcements, directives, remarks, and texts of letters issued as White House press releases from 1945 to 1953. The second contains press releases of President Truman's radio speeches from 1948 to 1952.

The 5) President's Appointments File is comprised of three subseries. The first subseries contains the President's desk calendars-schedules of his daily appointments that were placed on Truman's desk each day from 1945 to 1951. The desk calendars list the date and time of each visitor's appointment, with handwritten notations concerning additional visitors, cancellations, or time changes. Mrs. Truman's appointments from 1951 to 1952 are also listed. The second subseries contains the President's "daily sheets" from 1945 to 1953. The daily sheets are more detailed than the desk calendars, usually including information about the background of the appointments and the subjects to be discussed. Truman sometimes wrote diary-like notes on the daily sheets describing his day's appointments. Filed along with the daily sheets are correspondence, newspaper clippings, press releases, printed materials, reports, and other documents relating to the appointments. The third subseries contains appointment books listing the President's daily appointments from 1945 to 1953.

The 6) Department of State Radio Bulletins File consists of State Department press releases of foreign policy speeches delivered by the President and the Secretary of State in 1945. The 7) Trip File contains cables, handwritten notes, itineraries, schedules, memorabilia, memorandums, newspaper clippings, digests, photographs, printed materials, and speeches relating to the President's trips from 1945 to 1953. Included is information about Truman's trips to Missouri, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Mexico, the Caribbean, Wake Island, and Key West, Florida. Notable items include the trip log of the President's airplane, the Independence, and documentation of the controversy that resulted when the President's motorcade was allegedly stopped for speeding in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The 8) Gift and Greeting File consists of three subseries, relating in turn to birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, and gifts in general. Included in this series are cards, letters, handwritten notes, and memorabilia pertaining to gifts to the President, Mrs. Truman, and their daughter Margaret from 1945 to 1953. Also included are lists of the gifts received and of those that were shipped from the White House to Missouri when the Trumans returned home.

The 9) General File contains correspondence, charts, graphs, handwritten notes, memorabilia, memorandums, newspaper clippings, photographs, press releases, and printed materials pertaining to a wide variety of topics, including atomic energy, Winston Churchill and his meetings with the President, floods, food, the Inauguration of the President, labor, legislation, meetings, the North Atlantic Treaty, personnel, reorganizations, resignations, security, steel, strikes, taxes, the United Nations, and veterans. This series includes Truman's correspondence with such prominent figures as Omar Bradley, Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower, James Forrestal, W. Averell Harriman, Robert Landry, Max Lowenthal, Douglas MacArthur, George C. Marshall, Matthew Ridgway, and other Cabinet members and Presidential advisers.

The 10) Subj