Harry S. Truman

33rd President Harry S. Truman, 1945-195333rd President Harry S. Truman, 1945-195333rd President Harry S. Truman, 1945-195333rd President Harry S. Truman, 1945-195333rd President Harry S. Truman, 1945-195333rd President Harry S. Truman, 1945-195333rd President Harry S. Truman, 1945-1953

33rd President Harry S. Truman, 1945-1953

33rd President of the United States
(April 12, 1945 to January 20, 1953)

Full Name: Harry S. Truman
Nickname: "Give 'Em Hell Harry"

Born: May 8, 1884, in Lamar, Missouri
Died: December 26, 1972, in Kansas City, Missouri

Father: John Anderson Truman (1851-1914)
Mother: Martha Ellen Young Truman (1852-1947)
Married: Elizabeth "Bess" Virginia Wallace (1885-1982), on June 28, 1919
Children: Mary Margaret Truman (1924-2008)

Religion: Baptist
Education: Attended the University of Kansas City Law School
Occupation: Farmer, public official
Political Party: Democrat
Other Government Positions:

  • Judge on Jackson County Court, 1922-24
  • Presiding Judge of Jackson County Court, 1926-34
  • United States Senator, 1935-45
  • Vice President, 1945 (under F.D. Roosevelt)

Presidential Salary: $75,000/year (increased to $100,000 + $50,000 expense account in 1949)

Presidential Election Results:

YearCandidatePopular VotesElectoral Votes
1948Harry S. Truman24,179,345303
(map)Thomas E. Dewey21,991,291189
Strom Thurmond1,176,12539

Vice President: Alben W. Barkley (1949-53)


Secretary of State
Edward R. Stettinius, Jr. (1945)
James F. Byrnes (1945-47)
George C. Marshall (1947-49)
Dean G. Acheson (1949-53)
Secretary of the Treasury
Henry Morgenthau, Jr. (1945)
Frederick M. Vinson (1945-46)
John W. Snyder (1946-53)
Secretary of War
Henry L. Stimson (1945)
Robert P. Patterson (1945-47)
Kenneth C. Royall (1947)
Secretary of Defense
James V. Forrestal (1947-49)
Louis A. Johnson (1949-50)
George C. Marshall (1950-51)
Robert A. Lovett (1951-53)
Attorney General
Francis B. Biddle (1945)
Thomas C. Clark (1945-49)
J. Howard McGrath (1949-52)
Postmaster General
Frank C. Walker (1945)
Robert E. Hannegan (1945-47)
Jesse M. Donaldson (1947-53)
Secretary of the Navy
James V. Forrestal (1945-47)
Secretary of the Interior
Harold L. Ickes (1945-46)
Julius A. Krug (1946-49)
Oscar L. Chapman (1950-53)
Secretary of Agriculture
Claude R. Wickard (1945)
Clinton P. Anderson (1945-48)
Charles F. Brannan (1948-53)
Secretary of Commerce
Henry A. Wallace (1945-46)
W. Averell Harriman (1946-48)
Charles Sawyer (1948-53)
Secretary of Labor
Frances Perkins (1945)
Lewis B. Schwellenbach (1945-48)
Maurice J. Tobin (1949-53)

Supreme Court Justices:
Harold Hitz Burton (1945-1958)
Fred M. Vinson, Chief (1946-1953)
Tom C. Clark (1949-1967)
Sherman Minton (1949-1956)

Notable Events:
Internet Biographies:
Harry S. Truman -- from The Presidents of the United States of America
Compiled by the White House.
Harry Truman -- from The American President
From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.
Harry S. Truman -- from Encyclopaedia Britannica
Facts about Truman and his presidency.
Harry S. Truman -- from the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum
A complete biography with a list of books for further reading.
Harry S. Truman -- from Character Above All
From a PBS broadcast by the same name, this essay excerpt by David McCullough discusses some of the issues and events that molded Truman.
Other Internet Resources:
The Best Biographies of Harry S. Truman
In 2012, Stephen Floyd started his search for the best biography of each president. He usually has reviews of multiple biographies for each president.
Harry S. Truman Birthplace State Historic Site
The small house where Truman was born.
Harry S. Truman National Historic Site
The house where Truman lived from 1919 to his death is located in Independence, Missouri. The Truman Farm House, where Harry grew up, is located in Grandview, Missouri. Both are located in the Kansas City metropolitan area and both are part of the Truman NHS. Maintained by the National Park Service.
Harry S. Truman Library & Museum
Located in Independence, Missouri, this site contains an exhibit hall, press room, educational resources, and of course the papers of the former president.
Health and Medical History of Harry Truman
Medical background of each president with references. Compiled by John Sotos, MD.
Points of Interest:

1009 Truman St, Lamar, MO 64759

500 W US Hwy 24, Independence, MO 64050

219 N Delaware St, Independence, MO 64050

Additional Facts:
  • Truman was the first president assigned a Secret Service code name - General.
  • Truman was the first president to have a television set installed in the White House.
  • Truman's 1949 inauguration was the first televised.
  • Truman was the first president to address the nation on television.
  • In 1965, Truman was the first person issued a Medicare card.
  • There has been considerable controversy regarding the use of a period after the S in Truman's name since it does not stand for anything. The Harry S. Truman Library website explains the controversy and the reason to use the period.
  • Truman's motto was "The buck stops here."

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

“I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.”

“You can not stop the spread of an idea by passing a law against it.”

“We need not fear the expression of ideas—we do need to fear their suppression.”

“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.”

“There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.”

“You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.”

“I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell.”

“The reward of suffering is experience.”

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

“Always be sincere, even if you don’t mean it.”

“The only things worth learning are the things you learn after you know it all.”

Previous President: Franklin D. Roosevelt
Next President: Dwight D. Eisenhower