October 05, 1948

Harry Truman Presents Supreme Court Chief Justice Vinson With a Gavel Having “Historical Connections”

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Whether President Truman wanted to give his longtime friend and trusted advisor, Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred Vinson, a gavel made from the Jefferson tree at Fulton, Missouri, in honor of the 159th opening of the Supreme Court on October 4, 1948, is unknown at this remove; but that he did, is evidenced by this letter to another old friend, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri, “Tip” Tipton:

The gavel arrived in good shape. I showed it to the Chief Justice last night while we were discussing world affairs and I am sending it to him this morning. He is highly pleased with it and so am I. It is a beautiful piece of work and has the historical connections which I hoped it would have.
Thanks for all your trouble and if there is any expense attached to it send me the bill.

History does record, however, the nature of the “world affairs” that Truman and Vinson discussed on the night of October 4th. Truman wanted Vinson to go on a special mission to Moscow to see Stalin regarding the crisis in Berlin – a scheme that would, on the 5th, be so vehemently opposed by Secretary of State George Marshall, that Truman dropped it immediately.

Typed Letter Signed (“Harry”), as President, 1 page, quarto, The White House, Washington, October 5, 1948. To Judge Ernest M. Tipton in Jefferson City, Missouri.

With typed transmittal envelope.

Both the letter and envelope bear the stamp of the "Harry S. Truman Library", applied mistakenly, when the letters were on deposit at the facility.

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Transcript

The White House
Washington

October 5, 1948

Dear Tip:

The gavel arrived in good shape.  I showed it to the Chief Justice last night while we were discussing world affairs and I am sending it to him this morning.  He is highly pleased with it and so am I.  It is a beautiful piece of work and has the historical connections which I hoped it would have.

Thanks for all your trouble and if there is any expense attached to it send me the bill.

Sincerely yours,


HARRY

 

Honorable Ernest M. Tipton

Judge

Supreme Court of Missouri

Jefferson City, Missouri