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Bess Truman

( The wife of U.S. President Harry S. Truman)

Comments for Bess Truman
Biography Bess Truman
(February 13, 1885 - October 18, 1982)
Bess Truman never spoke publicly about their political views. Once she said: "The role of wives in public life is that her husband's hat on his head snug". When asked what qualities must have the first lady of America, said: "A good health and a sense of humor."
April 12, 1942, after the sudden death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry C. Truman assumed the presidency of His wife Bess was then 60 years old, she was the oldest First Lady in American history. The role of the First Lady had her dislike. Reporters she did not like and refused to give press conference. Unlike Eleanor Roosevelt, she was not going to visit the mine.
Adam Clayton Powell, Negro Congressman from New York, said angrily that she did not first lady of America, and "The Last Queen of the country". Powell felt insulted, because Bess Truman in the White House has invited representatives of the organization "Daughters of the American Revolution, which refused to provide a concert hall to his wife, pianist Hazel Scott. Bess sincerely sorry about this, and President Truman believed that after this scandal Bess should not have to take the White House, these women. Clare Booth Luce, a member of the House of Representatives from the Republican Party, called the wife of President Truman's "likeness of the First Lady". After her husband's victory in elections in 1948, Bess Truman replied: "Perhaps now, even Clare Booth would take me to this first lediN"

. According to Harry Truman, like Powell, and Luce insulted his wife, and during his presidency he had none of them are not invited to the White House.

. In fact, Bess was not a bad hostess of the White House
. This shy, modest woman preferred the family atmosphere. By intellect and talent, she, of course, in many respects inferior to its predecessor, Eleanor Roosevelt. Journalists complained that too difficult to write about it something interesting. As Newsweek wrote in 1946: "Mrs. Truman met at the White House for nine months, but even in Washington, it is completely unknown. She nobody knew where she was doing Christmas shopping in the capital's shops.

Bess Truman had always lived in the shadow of her husband: if he was a senator, vice-president or president of the United States. Her favorite response to questions from journalists was: "No comment". One of the journalists asked him what dress to wear Lady of the forthcoming celebration. Bess remarked secretary: "Tell her that it is absolutely not concerned". In conversation with reporters Bess followed the very simple principle: "Keep smiling and do not say a word". But she still had to take part in numerous dinners, receptions, concerts and funerals. From April 1945 to January 1953 she attended the 640 events. An average of 90 events per year. This is not a very impressive number when compared with the activity of the wives of other presidents, but his duty wife and mother she placed above all.

Elizabeth Virginia Wallace, and Harry C. Truman was born in Independence, Missouri. Bess - as it was called at home - was born Feb. 13, 1885. Her parents, David Wheelock and Madge Gates Wallace, had four children. Her grandfather sold flour and was considered one of the richest people in their locality.

. For the first time Harry met Bess in the Sunday school of the Presbyterian parish in 1890, when he was six years old, and she was a "little five-year girl with golden curls," as he recalled about that later
. "At first glance, it fascinated me with its attractiveness, and so until now". Henceforth Harry wore a little Bess textbooks, and even composed a piano concerto. Later, Harry recalled: "In the sixth and seventh grade, she sat beside me and was the most beautiful, most beloved man in the world."

. Bess was really beautiful, athletic girl who was engaged in athletics, played tennis and baseball, superbly ridden
. She loved the entertainment and great company. Was always surrounded by fans. Harry, myopic, weak and timid, not fond of sports and trying to avoid people. To win such a girl he had too little chance. In 1901, both finished school, and they parted ways. Harry went to Kansas City in search of work, having tried many professions.

Once, in 1906, he has done way more than thirty miles to see my Aunt Ella Nolend - she asked her nephew to return the mother Bess tray pie. Harry's long absent and returned very excited. He met Bess and long chatted with her. Then they began to meet more often and write to each other. Their correspondence lasted for more than ten years.

Mother Bess made it clear that did not want to see Harry's son in law. Truman tried hard to earn as much money to appear successful man, deserving hands Bess and recognition of her mother.

In 1903, David Wheelock suicide. Bess was very experienced this tragedy, but never mentioned it. When many years later, Truman's daughter, Margaret, learning about the suicide of his grandfather, asked about his father, he exclaimed:

. "Do not you dare ever ask my mother about this!" Margaret decided that the death of his grandfather severely affected Bess, she needed a support person to whom she could confide.

. As the eldest daughter in the family, 18-year-old Bess helped her mother around the house
. Harry worked on the farm. In 1914 he bought the truck brand "Stafford" and went on a date to Bess, hoping that the car will make an impression on her. But the girl did not hurry with the wedding. Obviously, waiting for a suitable candidate.

In 1911, Harry in a letter has already made her an offer, and although was refused, did not lose heart. Gradually he began to earn the respect of Bess. At first she took his picture, then began to invite to his home on Sunday. Sometimes Bess went to him on a farm in Grendvyu, where they can walk and go fishing. In November 1913 she gave him her photograph and assured that if I ever get married, only for him.

. Despite the "informal betrothal", . he was not quite sure of the intentions Bess, . although in one of his letters written a rather self-righteously: "What a joy to be engaged with a sort of farmer, . rather vain, . to become governor of Montana and president of the United States. ",

. When Truman's financial situation has improved somewhat in the summer of 1917 he again made an offer of Bess, this time successfully
. Bess asked mother to officially announce their engagement.

Engagement took place before entering the United States in World War. Soon, Harry was drafted and sent to the French front. With him he took the photograph of Bess and six pairs of glasses, as seen very bad. In the picture she wrote: "Let this picture will help you recover health from France. Bess. All my life Truman was convinced that Bess did not want to marry him before the end of the war, fearing to remain a widow.
Harry returned home, Major. And nothing could stop them from going to the altar. They were married on the day of signing the Treaty of Versailles, June 28, 1919, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Independence. Short honeymoon they spent in Chicago, Detroit and Port Huron. They came from deep province, resulting in large cities have made an indelible impression on the young. Upon return, they settled in North DцThlau Street, 219, in Independence, in a house with 17 rooms, in which Bess had lived since 1904 and which until the end of life remains her only home.

Before the wedding, Harry and Bess knew 29 years. Now he was 35 years old, and she was 34. It remained unclear why they always pushed the wedding, both thought that it is their personal matter and avoid talking about it.

In 1919, Truman, along with a friend, opened in Kansas City haberdashery for men. Bess helped her husband, kept the books, doing advertising, but has not fared very well, and in 1922 it had to close.

February 17, 1924 tridtsatidevyatiletnyaya Bess gave birth to daughter. She was christened Margaret, and called Mary. She inherited her father's musical ability became a singer, although widely recognized by critics have not.

Truman became interested in politics and slowly climb the ladder of political career. In 1934 his candidature for election to the Senate from Washington, Missouri. Bess participated in the election campaign, was next on the podium, but she never performed, intimidated by a large crowd of people.

In January, 1935, Truman became a senator, they moved to Washington, where he lived for 18 years, until January 1953. Bess did not like this city, considered him "a cold and east". Her five-room flat in Tilden Gardens has always seemed to her too small in comparison with a large house, which they left in Independence.

. Revenue senator was 10 000 dollars, the money was too little for the family, so he enlisted his wife secretary with a salary of U.S. $ 4 500 per year
. He was accused of nepotism, but Truman strongly rejected these accusations, arguing that Bess deserves receives payment. She helped Truman to prepare speeches, led his correspondence, perform other tasks as needed in the work of Senator. Truman often consulted with his wife for Political Affairs. As president, he confessed that, taking important decisions, consulted with her.

In 1944, Democrats nominated Truman for vice-president. He refused, stating emphatically: <On this subject, I spoke to Bess, "which meant - and there can be no. The decision had been changed only through the personal intervention of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. At the Congress of Democrats, when he was nominated candidate for vice-president, he asked Bess to climb the podium to thank the delegates for their confidence. When she saw the triumphant crowd, then whispered to her husband: "And all this we must do the rest zhiznN"

After several days of Bess was shopping in a store in Kansas City. One woman recognized her and exclaimed: "This is Mrs. Truman!" The other has made several critical remarks about the clothes the couple a candidate for vice president. Bouncing Bess replied: "Is the spouse of the candidate for vice-president should dress up as korolevaN"

. Bess wanted, unfortunately reporters to stay away from the Washington gossip and not to attract attention of her could not find any, even minor, provincial scandal
. In 1945, when Truman became vice-president, they refused to move to a more representative's residence, as it should be vice president.

But their lifestyle has changed completely. Although Truman did not belong to a narrow circle of advisers to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and it is not dedicated to the important affairs of state, social status of family has changed Truman. They were invited as honored guests at receptions, dinners and cocktail parties, sometimes during the day had to keep up to three or four different admission. Journalists know that he plays the piano, and invited him to the instrument. When Truman went to the piano, the Hollywood actress Laura Bekol sat on the piano and began to pose for photographers. A day later, this picture appeared in all American newspapers. Idle reporters always wanted to know what the wife told about this, and they got an answer: "Bess said: it's time to throw you to play the piano". In the memorable day, April 12, 1945 Bess was the daughter of Margaret, intending to change to accommodate, when the husband called from the White House and told her about the death of President Roosevelt. Bess cried and begged her daughter to explain her absence at the reception.

Harry wanted to Bess and Mary were at the inauguration of the post of the 33rd President of the United States. By the appointed hour the reporters gathered in front of the house Truman. Security withdrawn Bess and Margaret through the emergency exit to avoid a meeting with the press, but it is difficult to reporters, and when Bess and his daughter appeared in the doorway, camera flashes. That is what Bess did not want to, but in the next eight years she had to live with it.

Swearing was short. When Truman returned home, neighbors organized a dinner. For security reasons, Truman and his family moved to Bley House, located near the White House, Eleanor Roosevelt has not left his. Shortly after Truman entered the White House, came Roosevelt's grandson, Johnny Bettinger for their belongings. Truman helped him to find, and when they looked in the cupboard Bess, the boy exclaimed: "She has the same mess in the closet, as my grandmother". These words of the grandson of Roosevelt became a family joke. When Truman asked his wife to clean up the closet, she replied: "I'm glad that at least something similar to Mrs. Roosevelt."

. The official mourning in the country after the death of Roosevelt, Bess has allowed a more relaxed atmosphere to get used to the duties of the First Lady
. Unlike Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess decided, as far as possible, to limit their. Somehow in the last minute, she refused to participate in press conferences, and the displeasure of journalists objected: "Not me, chose the president. I have nothing to say members of the public ". From time to time, she had to invite reporters to tea and take their invitations. Each time she insisted that any conversation "not for publication". Its next assignment were written responses to questions that have always been brief.

Bess Truman never spoke publicly about their political views. Once she said: "The role of wives in public life is that her husband's hat on his head snug". When asked what qualities must have the first lady of America, said: "A good health and a sense of humor"
Despite his age, at Bess was a good figure. Harry Truman once rode in a car on the street and saw advertising the movie "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," said his companion: "These men prefer gray women. Bess is not dyed his hair, like many other women. "It looks like a woman should look her age" - once proudly Truman said.

Bess modestly dressed. Her favorite color was black. Usually, she said: "The black color fits into any situation". What concerned the clothes, her view completely disagree with her husband and daughter. She wanted her daughter wore ordinary clothes, the young girl is not suitable. Truman loved the bright and even bright colors. Often he wore sport shirts in floral. One day, getting ready for Florida, Bess saw that the president put the bright red pants. She told me to pull them out of the suitcase, but my husband said that he would go to Florida or her, or with red trousers. Next time Harry Truman went to Florida with your favorite pants.

Communication with the press fully Bess gave her representative, Edith Helm, which published bulletins on receptions, events and official statements of the First Lady. Sometimes there was also information about dresses that were on Bess during the festivities. Press was not very favorable either to her or to her husband.

Truman's daughter, Mary, told in his book, "Souvenir", once on Christmas Truman found his wife, which burned in the fireplace letters written to them many years ago. "What do you delaeshN Think about history!" - He exclaimed. - "This is what I now think, therefore, burn" - Bess said.

Fortunately, some letters are preserved. First of all, Bess burned the letters she wrote to her husband. There remained 1,300 letters from Bess Truman between 1910 and 1959, which is stored in the library of President Truman in Independence, and in 1983 had access to historians and biographers. In a letter dated June 28, 1948 Truman wrote about their twenty-ninth year of married life: "Twenty-nine years. To me, they were both twenty-nine days. You're still on the dais, where I'll put in our Sunday school in 1890. What I'm stupid ". Truman often invited friends to the White House game of poker, and Bess arranged in the evening game of bridge. On them, she invited her friends from the club, which regularly played for 20 years. Sometimes they rode on the presidential yacht or eat dinner together. There have been concerts in the halls of Independence. Bess was the godmother of the new hospital ship "C-54". Following tradition, she had to smash the side of the ship a bottle of champagne. She threw the bottle. I tried again - the new crater, and so several times, but the bottle remained whole. Finally the mechanic came up and smashed a bottle wrench. When she told her husband about the story, he noticed that she had to first remove the hat, spit on his hands and a good swing, as it has done in his youth, playing baseball. At this council so Bess responded: "My only regret is that this damn bottle I smashed on your head."

President Truman willingly showed their physical abilities. Sensational news in the United States was the story of one of the maids Truman's night in the White House, when, after a stormy love game under them broke off the bed. Many men are jealous then Truman.

Apparently, Bess Truman was the most athletic of the First Lady in American history. She argued that it is through sports training can shake more hands than any other woman.

Above all, she had a good memory for faces and names. When she noticed that her husband was not very well know who said it reminded him of whispering name of the person. Sometimes she even managed to keep her husband from ill-considered reaction. Once in the White House was visiting one of the politicians, who sharply attacked the President. Truman, with his temperament was ready to pounce on him, he heard whispers energetic wife:

. "Pull yourself together!" Think, he guest in our house! "

. Joseph Vinkevich, . which in February 1947, handed his credentials in Washington, . enthusiastically recalled the meeting with the wife of President Truman: "Every newly accredited ambassador a few months later received an invitation to visit the White House with his wife,
. And once we got to him. We were in a small room, the fireplace was one of the most charming women whom we met in Washington,. She was one. Tea was served black butler. The first question hostess asked his wife: "Do you like your husband's profession, the constant political debate, the constant jostling of boring priemahN" A negative answer his wife's gave rise to lively discussions. "I also do not like it, - has agreed to Mrs. Truman. - I'm just sorry for her husband, sorry for the lost time, a quiet life back will be very hard. "

I started talking about spiritual children of the war, which endured Poland. Again, the waiter came and said a quiet voice: "Even profit other gentlemen". Milo smiling, Bess embraced us, patted me on the shoulder and said: "Good luck to you, Mr. Ambassador."

. Bess personally managed by the White House, kept the books cost, the daily menu, checked the cleanliness and order in the premises, writing Christmas greetings
. Often called in Independence, played table tennis with his daughter, went shopping. And in the evenings with her husband liked to talk and listen as he plays the piano.

White house she called "the great white jail", although she liked to have at its disposal a staff of attendants. Friend, she wrote: "None of us are experiencing great happiness from the fact that we live here". In 1946, she was asked, she would like to stay in the White House. "Absolutely not. The White House, as well as the role of First Lady, has its advantages, but even more - deficiencies, "- she replied.

Bess loved to ride the train. Not fly very readily. This means of transportation seemed to her too dangerous. Once, when Harry Truman was flying on a presidential plane that was called "sacred cow", he asked the pilot to make over the White House at a low altitude some aerobatics. The pilot complied with his request not very willingly, because to fly over the White House was banned, but the blame Truman assumed. Bess and Mary fearfully watched from the window of the house for these tricks.

The more responsibilities have been at Truman, the less he consulted with his wife and the less time he has remained in conversation with her. Bess is hurt, and to somehow smooth out the situation, Truman, taking part in the Potsdam conference, called home every day, reporting on its progress. Returning home, he again only occasionally able to pay attention to his wife. Sometimes she had a feeling as if he did not notice her.

When in December 1945, Truman went on Christmas in his native Independence, Bess met his words: "And here you are finally. At this time, probably could not think of any excuses to not come. As for me, so you could successfully stay in Washington ". These words are so infuriated Truman, that he returned to the White House, he wrote her a sharp letter, but the next day the anger was. He telephoned his daughter, who was with Bess in Independence, and asked to intercept a letter to Bess and burn it.
. Later he wrote to his wife second, a peace-loving letter, recalling the responsibility and the many responsibilities: "To me, the presidency is as important as you, Bess
. Never before has so did not need your help, as now. If I helped the best minds in the country and support people who can be trusted, then I would better cope with their responsibilities ". Margaret insisted that her mother never tried to impose their opinions to her husband. Personal assistant president, Matt Connelly, once said about the President's wife: "If he had already decided, she always agreed with him, regardless of whether it is her opinion or not."

. It happened with the decision on the application of atomic bomb
. Some biographers claim that Truman consulted about this with Bess, but Margaret said that her father simply told his wife that would be dropped on Japan bomb. Bess did not trust the Minister of Foreign Affairs, James Burns, who was appointed to this post, Roosevelt. Probably not without its intervention Truman pushed Burns and appointed Dean Acheson.

. If Truman was not in Washington, . Bess often came in the west wing of the White House, . where was the closest associates of President Office, . watched the, . that all employees were in their places, . and when her husband returned, . She told him everything is happening.,

. Bess could not reconcile with abusive words, which often used the Truman
. When one of her friends noticed her that the president is not proper to pronounce the word "dung" Bess exclaimed: "Oh my God!" But I spent so many years, to make him say this word instead of "shit".

. Since Bess avoided meetings with journalists, they have great interest all the attention paid to their daughter, Margaret, who was 21 years old.

. President particularly irritated music critics who are not very complimentary about the concerts of his daughter
. He even wrote his angry letter threats. One of these letters were sent to music critic of the Washington Post, Paul Hume. "I have never seen, but if it ever happens, you will need not only a new nose, but also a new cheek". After that my next review of the concert, Margaret Hume began with these words: "If I am permitted to express their opinions ..."

. This letter to Hume caused a wave of criticism of the president, but there were those who supported Truman, who tried to protect the good name of the daughter
. Even according to Hume, Truman's letter was "an understandable reaction to his father, whose daughter has been criticized. Nine years after this incident two gentlemen met at the Truman Library in Independence, and spent time in a friendly conversation.

Bess did not want that in 1948 her husband had fought for the presidency. Like many Americans, she doubted that he could defeat the Republican candidate, Thomas E. Davey. Bess longed for his native city. But when Truman decided to run, she supported his decision and took part in the campaign. Truman traveled by train across the country, giving speeches from the platform of the last car. Almost always, he turned to the crowd a question: "Do you want to meet my semeyN" The people answered him in the affirmative, then he invited to the platform's wife and daughter. Their he represented: it is - the "boss" and "my baby". His "little boy" was 24 years old. His wife and daughter did not like the speeches. Once Bess had even threatened that he would not longer participate in the election campaign if he would continue this show. Internally, Bess was not prepared to live in the White House for another four years, but to everyone's surprise, and contrary to the results of the polls, Truman won the election. These years (from 1949 to 1953, nd) were quite difficult for Truman, and for the wife. His popularity has fallen, and attack the Republicans have become more acute. In 1950, war broke out in Korea, the United States, a wave of strikes, the infamous McCarthy's rampage. (Joseph McCarthy, American politician, senator, 1909-1957, being chairman of the Senate where he established the Committee Against Un-American Activities, led a witch-hunt ".)

. Despite the burden of the presidency, Truman found his wife with the opportunity to discuss some political issues
. To do this, it is usually in the evening brought out of the office required documents.

In May 1952, the White House has begun repairs, and Truman moved to Bley House. Compared with the White House there was much less free space, which greatly complicates the receptions.

. Two months before the end of the second term of presidency, Truman, December 5, 1952, after a long illness died mother Bess, Madge Gates Wallace
. Bess grieved this loss.

Under the constitution, in 1952, Truman could stand as a candidate and the next term, but Bess and hear about it did not want. She felt that neither she nor her husband could not even stand in the White House for another four years. Truman did not very much and wanted. When the pressure on him intensified, . he asked his personal assistant Matt Connelly: "What do you think, . whether I, . already an old man, . again fight for the post prezidentaN "Matt pointed to the photograph Bess, . standing on the desk, . and replied: "And you reshishsya on etoN" For some time Truman was silent, . and then said: "You know, . what will happen to me, . If it something sluchitsyaN ",

. In January 1953, completed his second term as president Truman, Bess gladly returned to his hometown
. Since then, their house always attracted many visitors. The entire population of Independence enthusiastically welcomed by fellow. Bess resumed on Tuesdays playing bridge, she went shopping.

One even gave an interview to a young journalist. Asked, . whether it is not difficult, after nearly eight years in the White House to adapt to life in a small town, . responded, . that it lacks the staff, . but stressed, . is absolutely not yearn for receptions and public events, . which was supposed to attend as a President's wife,
. It still was far from politics, to avoid statements and returns to his hobby - reading detective novels. Once in Independence came Merli Miller to record an interview with Truman. Bess did not want to take part in it. "I do not want my voice is preserved for posterity," - she said firmly.

In 1956, the Democrats again nominated Adlai Stevenson for president. Truman spoke out against his candidacy. He supported Averell Harriman, but Bess was of the wrong behavior of her husband. She even asked a friend at home, Tom Evans, with a request to influence the Harry and get him to change the view. Later, Evans recalled that the first time in my life I saw tears in the eyes of Bess.

. April 21, 1956 in the same Episcopal church, where 37 years ago, Harry and Bess made a covenant for life, hosted the wedding of their daughter Mary and Clifton Daniel, the editor of The New York Times.

. June 28, 1969 Bess and Harry Truman celebrated their golden wedding, modestly, in close family circle.

. December 26, 1972 at the age of 89 years died, Harry Truman
. From 1920 to 1958 each morning Bess recorded the important events of their family life.
She read a lot, eagerly watched on television sports programs, has always maintained a close relationship with his daughter and grandchildren, the most treasured home comfort. In public places, hardly appears. An exception was made only in 1976, when the Independence Monument on the opening of profits, President Truman, Gerald Ford and his wife Betty.
Bess's health deteriorated. She was ill with arthritis, became ill see. Upon learning that the results of a sociological survey made it to the list of twenty most respected U.S. Women, Bess said: "I do not know why."
Bess Truman died on October 18, 1982 in the bedroom of his house in the town of Independence, which she loved so much. She was 97 years old. The New York Times published the news of her death, beginning with the words: "Bess Truman died at the age of 97 years. She was a faithful assistant to the president ". This title certainly would have loved Bess. Yes, and Truman would have agreed with this assessment. He once told a reporter that his wife "was my assistant in the political and other affairs. She was always right. "
Funerals were modestly. Attended by 150 people - family members and close friends. At the burial of the mother, Margaret has invited First Lady Nancy Reagan, wife of ex-President Betty Ford, which Bess was very fond of. "Rosalynn Carter arrived without an invitation," - written after Margaret. Bess was buried beside her husband in the courtyard of the library of President Truman in Independence.


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