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Elizabeth (Bess) Truman

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Elizabeth Virginia Wallace was born on February 13, 1885 in Independence, MO. She first met Harry Truman in Sunday School when she was 5 and he was 6 .They shared elementary and high school classes. Upon graduation, Mr. Truman went to work on his Grandfather Young’s farm in Grandview , Mo, about 20 miles from Independence. Harry Truman began courting Bess in 1910 – a courtship that lasted nine years. World War I postponed the wedding, but they were married on June 28, 1919. Their only child, Margaret was born on February 17, 1924. In 1934, Truman was elected to the US Senate and in 1944 he was selected the candidate for Vice President of the United States. Upon the death of President Roosevelt on April 12, 1945, Bess Truman became First Lady when her husband became the 33rd President of the United States. An extremely private person, Mrs. Truman would spend much of her husband’s presidency in Missouri, returning to Washington only for the social season.

She and Harry Truman returned to Independence, Missouri and back to her grandfather’s house at 219 Delaware Street. She was a loving wife, mother and proud grandmother. President Truman died on December 26, 1972.

Bess Truman died in October, 1982 of congestive heart failure at the age of 97 and is the longest lived First Lady in US history. Mrs. Truman is buried next to her husband at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri.


Click on the photo for the full image and detailed description.
Bess Truman at the age of 4
Elizabeth (Bess) Wallace at age 4 1/2. Harry met Bess at age 5.
  Bess Truman Fishing
Bess loved to fish so Harry took her fishing while courting.
  Bess Truman in a car
In 1916, Harry Truman purchased a used car to make courting Bess easier. He was living on his grandfather's farm in Grandview and Bess was 20 miles away in Independence.
Bess Truman Portrait
Bess at 32. This is the picture Harry carried during World War I while he was in France.
  Bess Truman Wedding Photo
Wedding photo on June 28, 1919 Harry Truman and Bess Wallace married ending a 9 year courtship.
  Bess Truman at Democratic Convention
Harry, Bess and Margaret at the 1944 Democratic Convention where Harry was nominated for the Vice Presidency.
Bess Truman at Oath
April 12, 1945 following the death of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman sworn in as the 33rd President.
  Bess Truman at Inaugural Ball
1948 Inaugural Ball for Harry Truman and Alban Barkley.
  Bess Truman at dinner
Bess smiling at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner when truman announced he was not going to seek re-election.
Bess Truman at the Opera
Margaret and Bess Truman at the Opera in New York City.
  Bess Truman  at a football game
Harry and Bess Truman at the Army-Navy Football game 1950.
  Bess Truman deplanning
Bess and Harry Truman deplaning at Boca Chica in 1950.
Bess Truman Retirement
Bess and Harry in retirement at 219 Delaware Street, Independence, Missouri.
  Bess Truman in a car
Margaret Truman Daniel, Clifton Daniel, Harry Truman holding Clifton Truman Daniel and Bess Truman holding William Daniel.
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