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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Elizabeth "Bess" Virginia Wallace Truman


Elizabeth "Bess" Virginia Wallace Truman (1885-1982) = Former First Lady. Favorite colors: Plum, Blue. Born in Independence, MO on February 13 to David Willock, a banker, and Margaret "Madge" Gates Wallace . She was the eldest and only daughter of four children. With blue-eyes and golden curls, Bess, in her future husband Harry S. Truman's estimation, was the "sweetest, prettiest girl" he had ever seen when he saw her for the first time in Sunday School at the age of six. She was very popular and she graduated from the Independence High School in 1901. She also attended the Barstow School for Girls in Kansas City, for a year.
When Harry moved to Grandview, MO. to help his father with the farm and while he was away at war, they wrote letters regularly.
They were married on June 28, 1919, at an Episcopal Church and lived in her widowed mother's home. In 1924, Mary Margaret, their first and only child, was born there.
When Harry became active in politics, first in Kansas City, then in Washington D.C., she traveled with him and fulfilled the social obligations of her position as a Judge's wife, a US Senator's wife, and First Lady after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. During Harry's second term, they were denied the pleasure of living in the White House until early 1952, while the century-old Executive Mansion underwent a major renovation. During this time, they lived in Blair House instead. In  late 1952, she welcomed Mrs. Mamie Eisenhower as the new First Lady to the White House. She was looking forward to going home to Independence. Her chief enjoyments there were reading books from her library and devoting time to friends and family such as her daughter, Margaret, and husband, Clifton Daniel, and their four grandsons.

More to Read:
1. Our First Ladies: Martha Washington to Pat Ryan Nixon. By Jane & Burt McConnell. 1969.
2. The First Ladies. By Margaret Brown Klapthor. White House Historical Association, Washington, D.C., 1979.
3. American Inaugurals: The Speeches, the Presidents, and Their Times. By Kristen Woronoff. Blackbirch Press, New York, 2002.
4. The Presidents In American History. By Dr. Charles A. & Wm. Beard, PhD. Julian Messner, New York, 1935; re-printed 1977.
5. Presidents of the United States. Jane & Burt McConnell.
6. Childhoods of the American Presidents. By William O. Foss. McFarland & Co, 2005.
7. Homes and Libraries of the Presidents. By William G. Clotworthy. McDonald & Woodward, 2008.
8. Hospital Hill: an Illustrated Account of Public Healthcare Institutions in Kansas City, Missouri. James L. Soward, Kansas City: Truman Medical Center Charitable Foundation, 1995
9. Sister-in-law, Miss Mary Jane Truman's biography.

Places to Visit:
1. Bess Truman's Birthplace (private residence with marker, near Bingham-Wagner's home), 117 Ruby Ave, Independence, MO.
2. National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame (Harry's plow), 630 Hall of Fame Drive, Bonner Springs, KS.
3. Bess Truman Clinic, Truman Medical Hospital Lakewood, 7900 Lee's Summit Road, Kansas City, MO.
4. Truman Heritage Festival, Grandview, MO.
5. Truman Home, 219 North Delaware, Independence, MO.
6. Truman Library, 500 West US Highway 24, Independence, MO. (Bess and Harry are buried on the site of the Truman Library.)
7. Greater Kansas City History Day

Bess Truman was born here!

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Ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. ~ Ephesians 1:15-17.