Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression
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Letter from Harry S. Truman in Washington D.C. to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this candid letter, Truman updates Bess on his meeting with Tom Pendergast in New York, saying that "Pendergast was as pleased to see me as if I'd been young Jim. We talked for three hours about everything under the sun. Discarded a couple of prominent candidates for governor..."

Date: 
July 29th 1935

Letter from Harry S. Truman at the Hotel Governor Clinton in New York City to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this candid letter, Truman updates Bess on his morning and his trip to New York, saying that "[John N. Garner, Nathan L. Bachman, and William J. Bulow] had been to see T.J. [Tom Pendergast] and I must try to find out what they did tomorrow."

Date: 
August 10th 1935

Letter from Harry S. Truman at the Hotel Continental in Washington D.C. to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman updates Bess on his visit with Tom Pendergast in New York, saying that he "... had a most pleasant visit with T. J. P. He [Pendergast] was as pleased to see me as a ten-year-old kid to see his lost pal."

Date: 
August 11th 1935

Letter from Harry S. Truman in Washington D.C. to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman updates Bess on his day and upcoming travel plans. He then candidly comments that "Pendergast wants to see me and Clark and I'm of the opinion that everything will be settled when we see him. Wouldn't the papers give something to know that?"

Date: 
August 23rd 1935

Letter from Harry S. Truman in Washington D.C. to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman updates Bess on his past week and of the telegrams he received that morning, one from Tom Pendergast "recommending a good for nothing bird for a job and I won't recommend him."

Date: 
December 12th 1935

Letter from Harry S. Truman in Washington D.C. to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman expresses his distaste for social functions, commenting that "I don't do things for people for a reward, if I did I ought to be rich. I do it because I like to do it, but if they just keep harping on it I get sick of it."

Date: 
January 4th 1936

Letter from Harry S. Truman at The Majestic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. Written while Truman was attending the 1936 Democratic National Convention, Truman comments on several small details concerning the convention, including the fact that "Mrs. [Bennett C.] Clark was there and sat with the delegation--quite a concession as she had a box seat on the stage. I was given one for you but gave it to T.J. [Tom Pendergast]."

Date: 
June 25th 1936

Letter from Harry S. Truman at The Majestic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman gives Bess his opinion of the 1936 Democratic National Convention and mentions that James M. Pendergast was present. He also makes note that the date marks his seventeenth anniversary with Bess.

Date: 
June 28th 1936

Letter from Harry S. Truman in Washington D.C. to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman updates Bess on his recent meetings in which he has "been politicking around among the Senators and Congressmen, distributing a little hooch where it would do the most good, and trying to find out what they think of Bennett Champ Clark for President."

Date: 
January 10th 1937

Letter from Harry S. Truman in Washington D.C. to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman informs Bess of some political maneuvering involving Bennett C. Clark, saying that "It would have been taken for an obvious attempt on my part to keep him and the St. Louis gang from the Gov. and I don't want to do that."

Date: 
January 24th 1937

Letter from Harry S. Truman in Washington D.C. to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman informs Bess that he will be calling President Roosevelt concerning James K. Vardaman, Jr and court proposition and executive reorganization plan.

Date: 
February 8th 1937

Letter from Harry S. Truman in Washington D.C. to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman informs Bess that he declined an offer from Lucky. He says, "Wouldn't my friends, who know my love for cigarettes, have a grand time wondering how much it takes to buy me[?]"

Date: 
February 10th 1937

Letter from Harry S. Truman in Washington D.C. to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman reaffirms his aversion to those patronizing him: "For instance old man Porter, president of the Power and Light, wrote me the most patronizing letter you ever saw. I burned him to a cinder and mailed it while it was hot… The thing that makes me stronger than ever for F.D.R. is that most of these smart alecks tell me I'd better line up with Bennett."

Date: 
February 21st 1937

Letter from Harry S. Truman in Washington D.C. to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman informs Bess of a growing rift between Truman and Bennett C. Clark: "Bennett, I suppose will be in Kansas City Saturday. I told him if he was looking for a split in the Democratic Party he could very easily find it and perhaps now is as good a time as any to have it."

Date: 
March 10th 1937

A longhand note written by Harry S. Truman while he was a judge for Jackson County, Missouri. In this note, Truman recounts his childhood and early adulthood. Notable events described include his first encounters with his future wife, Bess Wallace; his start in politics at the hands of Mike Pendergast; and his decision to join the military.

Date: 
May 1931

A longhand note written by Harry S. Truman while he was a judge for Jackson County, Missouri. In this note, Truman recounts his childhood and early adulthood. Notable events described include his construction of the Jackson County Courthouse, his start in politics, and his family history.

Date: 
May 14th 1934

A longhand note written by Harry S. Truman while he was a judge for Jackson County, Missouri. In this note, Truman exposes many of the names and relations of those involved with the Pendergast machine in Kansas City. Although supported by Pendergast, Truman comments on the machine thusly: "What chance is there for a clean honest administration of the city and county when a bunch vultures sit on the side lines and puke on the field[?]."

A longhand note written by Harry S. Truman while he was a judge for Jackson County, Missouri. In this note, Truman writes of his career in politics in Kansas City and of Tom Pendergast. Truman says of him, "I am obligated to the Big Boss, a man of his word; but he gives it very seldom and usually on a sure thing. But he's not a trimmer. He, in times past owned a bawdy house, a saloon and gambling establishment; was raised in that environment, but he's all man. I wonder who's worth more in the sight of the Lord?"

A longhand note written by Harry S. Truman while he was a judge for Jackson County, Missouri. In this note, Truman provides a character sketch of fellow Jackson County judges Howard J. Vrooman and Robert W. Barr. Truman comments that "I got a lot of good legislation for Jackson Co. over while they [Vrooman and Barr] shot craps... By having a good host [Vrooman] and a man with an inferiority complex [Barr] I was able to expend $7,000,000.00 for the taxpayers benefit. At the same time I gave away about a million in general revenue to satisfy the politicians."

A longhand note written by Harry S. Truman while he was a judge for Jackson County, Missouri. In this note, Truman provides a character sketch of fellow Jackson County judge Thomas B. Bash and describes political activity in Kansas City between 1928 and 1931.

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