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

October 5, 1948

Add to History Board Share Print
Back to The Collection
Manuscript
See full images and transcript
Harry Truman Presents Supreme Court Chief Justice Vinson With a Gavel Having "Historical Connections"
Typed Letter Signed
2 pages | SMC 680

Quick Reference

      Background

      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.
      Read More

      all pages and transcript

      Page 1/2

      Page 1 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 [in autograph]
       
      Honorable Ernest M. Tipton
      Judge
      Supreme Court of Missouri
      Jefferson City, Missouri

      Page 2/2

      Page 2 transcript
      THE WHITE HOUSE

      Honorable Ernest M. Tipton
      Judge
      Supreme Court of Missouri
      Jefferson City, MIssouri