Harry S. Truman: Original Historic Letters, Quotes & Documents

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Topic

Human Aspect

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    Manuscripts (30)

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    Harry Truman on Margaret, His Memoirs, and

    Typed Letter Signed

    1 page

    SMC 2507

    Former President Harry Truman writes of his pride in his daughter's singing career and jokes with former Secretary of State and dear friend Dean Acheson, about passing the buck to him for editorial corrections to the former president's memoirs.
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    Truman on the Press

    Autograph Letter Signed

    4 pages

    SMC 1410

    Truman complains to Acheson that Republican papers across the country were coddling Eisenhower and serving as “mouthpieces” for Joe McCarthy, calling it the "age of hysteria."
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    Former PresidentHarry Truman on President John F. Kennedy's Handling of Racial Violence and the Cuban Missile Crisis

    Autograph Letter Signed

    3 pages

    SMC 1426

    Harry Truman suggests that the explosive situations in Mississippi and Cuba could have been avoided with appropriate, decisive presidential action from Kennedy, whom he refers to here not by name but only as "the man in charge," and "the man in the White House
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    Harry Truman Seeks to Protect His Legacy

    Autograph Letter Signed

    2 pages

    SMC 1419

    Former President Harry Truman writes to his dear friend and former Secretary of State Dean Acheson to push back against historians and communists about what really happened in the Truman White House.
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    Truman Accepts the Resignation of His

    Typed Letter Signed

    1 page

    SMC 1407

    Truman tells his newly-resigned Secretary of State Dean Acheson that he was more courageous and judicious than Thomas Jefferson and William H. Seward.
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    Harry Truman, From His Place of

    Autograph Letter Signed

    2 pages

    SMC 693

    In this letter to Acheson, Truman remarks that he wanted to “punch the publisher” who wrote negatively of Dean Acheson and George Marshall, his friends and former secretaries of state. He chastises the “so called ‘free press’” and bemoans having to enduring criticisms while administering the “terrible responsibility” of the presidency.
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    Harry Truman Refers to Himself as an

    Autograph Letter Signed

    2 pages

    SMC 695

    Harry Truman refers to his humble roots as he objects to high ticket prices for the upcoming Democratic dinner, contrasting himself to the current President, John F. Kennedy.
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    Truman on the Recognition of the Jewish State and the

    Typed Letter Signed

    1 page

    SMC 370

    Two days into the Israeli War of Independence, Harry Truman thanks a rabbi for his offer to assist the President, and refers to the fledgling state's situation as "very dark."
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    Harry Truman Declares

    Autograph Letter Signed

    1 page

    SMC 646

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    Palestine, Truman Says, is a “Matter of Considerable Disturbance” to be Determined by U.N.

    Typed Letter Signed

    1 page

    SMC 686

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    President Harry Truman Refers to Life in the White House as

    Typed Letter Signed

    2 pages

    SMC 690

    Truman, like other presidents, conceives of the role and constraints of the presidency as being like a "jail." Here, Truman explicitly calls the presidency a jail, referring to his inability to go on a trip to Panama with a friend.
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    President Harry Truman Writes about the Assassination Attempt on His Life Just the Day Before

    Typed Letter Signed

    1 page

    SMC 691

    The day after a second assassination attempt in November of 1950, President Harry Truman expresses his fury at the stupidity of the would-be assassins, and mourns the two guards killed.
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    President Harry Truman Defends Atomic Bombing of Japan as

    Typed Letter Signed

    1 page

    SMC 367

    Harry Truman defends his use of the atomic bomb, reasoning that the only language the Japanese understand is that of extreme force.
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    Harry Truman:

    Autograph Letter Signed

    2 pages

    SMC 369

    Harry Truman had eventually been won over by the young John F. Kennedy, whom Truman regarded as young, inexperienced, and up for office because his father bought him the vote. Writing about the election of the first Catholic president, Truman claims that it makes no difference what one's religious affiliation is, as long as the Constitution is defended.
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    Two Days After Unleashing a Tempest by Firing MacArthur, President Truman Writes to a Journalist

    Autograph Note Signed

    1 page

    SMC 699

    President Truman writes to Merriman Smith, perhaps in response to something Smith had said to the President, a prediction, seemingly, about the great news of the day – Truman’s firing of MacArthur two days before – that inspired this note, with which Truman apparently forwarded “an interesting piece” he had run across in his hometown paper.
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    Truman, About to Implement the Truman Doctrine in Greece, Calls Greek-American Politicians

    Typed Letter Signed

    1 page

    SMC 1401

    President Truman, who was about to deploy the Truman Doctrine in Greece in order to fight the first proxy Cold War against a communist takeover of that country, expresses reservations about appointing a Greek-American to oversee the distribution of funds to anti-communist factions in Greece.
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    He's

    Autograph Letter Signed

    1 page

    SMC 1406

    Truman initially regarded Kennedy as as young, inexperienced, and up for office because his father bought him the vote. Here, Truman supports Kennedy's handling of the Berlin crisis, which saw the city divided between the Soviet Union and the Western Allies. Rather than seeing Kennedy's actions as weak, he praised the President's leadership in buying time with the Soviets in order to retain control of half the city.
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    Harry Truman Presents Supreme Court Chief Justice Vinson With a Gavel Having

    Typed Letter Signed

    2 pages

    SMC 680

    Harry Truman presents the Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred Vinson with a gavel made from the Jefferson Tree at Fulton Missouri. Here, Truman tells the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri, "Tip" Tipton how pleased both he and Vinson are with the gavel and its "historical connections."
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    Harry Truman Tells How He Learned He Became the President: FDR's Death, He Says, Was a Complete Surprise

    Typed Letter Signed

    2 pages

    SMC 684

    In this letter to Louis Reed (an administrative assistant to a West Virginia senator), Harry Truman reassures him that at the time they met, Truman had no idea that Roosevelt had died, and that he'd be ascending the presidency. It was as much of a surprise to Truman as to anyone else.
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    A Historic Memo: Harry Truman Salutes Dean Acheson's Crucial Role in Going to War With Korea

    Autograph Note Signed

    2 pages

    SMC 685

    President Harry Truman commends Dean Acheson as Secretary of State for superbly handling events leading up to the Korean War.
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    Shortly After Firing General MacArthur, President Truman Writes of His

    Autograph Letter Signed

    1 page

    SMC 428

    In the days following MacArthur's dismissal, and all of the upheaval surrounding it, President Truman thanks his Secretary of State Dean Acheson for his unwavering support and friendship.
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    Harry Truman Looks at the Potsdam Conference 12 Years Later: An Astonishing Appraisal of What Went Wrong

    Autograph Letter Signed

    8 pages

    SMC 429

    Knowing that his papers would be released for reporters to examine his version of the Potsdam Conference twelve years prior, Harry Truman paints a revisionist history of what happened and what went wrong.
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    It Was His Boyhood Reading, Harry Truman Recalls, That Prepared Him for When His

    Autograph Letter Signed

    2 pages

    SMC 430

    Harry Truman, the only U.S. President of the 20th century who did not receive a university education, reflects on how his childhood love of reading and self-education prepared him for his sudden ascent to the presidency.
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    Harry Truman Letter Written as Vice-President But Signed as President with

    Typed Letter Signed

    1 page

    SMC 585

    A letter from Harry Truman written as Vice President, then amended by hand as President, mentioning the "terrible responsibilities" that are now his. Truman had started this letter in the morning, as vice president, but by the evening, had ascended the presidency, following President Franklin D. Roosevelt's death that day.
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    Harry Truman,

    Autograph Letter Signed

    2 pages

    SMC 591

    Truman is frustrated yet optimistic in this letter. On one hand, neither Kennedy nor Nixon were, in his opinion, desirable candidates. On the other hand, Truman concedes, this is probably how the "oldsters" felt in 1828, 1840, 1852, and 1860, when those elections changed the course of American politics. Ultimately, he posits America came out "on top" in these other elections and will in this one as well.
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    Harry Truman Writes General Hap Arnold About FDR's Death, Two and a Half Weeks Before, as

    Typed Letter Signed

    1 page

    SMC 694

    Two weeks after Franklin Delano Roosevelt's death, Harry Truman is still reeling from the shock and his new role with all its responsibilities.
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    President Harry Truman Says

    Typed Letter Signed

    1 page

    SMC 154

    As Truman winds down his time in the White House, he confides to the mother of one of his best staffers that "it will be a relief to get out of Washington."
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    Harry Truman Muses on Presidential Succession and Disability

    Typed Letter Signed

    1 page

    SMC 1415

    In this remarkable letter, Truman, who inherited the presidency upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945, muses to his ex-Secretary of State about presidential succession in the case of death, or even disability.
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    Harry Truman Reads John Nicolay and John Hay on Abraham Lincoln, As He Tries to Write History of Presidency

    Typed Letter Signed

    1 page

    SMC 1417

    Harry Truman gratefully accepts the complete works of Lincoln, which he sees as a great help to his research on the history of the presidency.
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