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Letter from Harry S. Truman to his fiancée Bess Wallace while Truman was at Camp La Baholle, near Verdun, France. Truman describes his life's dreams and expectations following the war, including his desire to be a farmer. He states, "I've almost come to the conclusion that it's not intended for me ever to be very rich, nor very poor, and I am about convinced that that will be about the happiest state a man can be."

Date: 
December 14th 1918

Letter from Harry S. Truman to his fiancée Bess Wallace while Truman was at Camp La Baholle, near Verdun, France. Truman gives insight into his personality as a leader, stating that, "If there's one thing I've always hated in a man it is to see him take his spite out on someone who couldn't talk back to him.".

Date: 
January 11th 1919

Letter from Harry S. Truman to his fiancée Bess Wallace while Truman was at Camp La Baholle, near Verdun, France. Truman shows humility as he urges Bess to not inform others of his letter of commendation, stating that, "There's not one of us who have done anything that any other one of us could not and would not have done if the opportunity had offered."

Date: 
January 19th 1919

Letter from Harry S. Truman to his fiancée Bess Wallace while Truman was in France near Bar-le-Duc. Truman asserts his intention to marry Bess as soon as he returns from Europe, even though he has no money, stating that, "I haven't any place to go but home and I'm busted financially but I love you as madly as a man can and I'll find all the other things."

Date: 
February 18th 1919

Letter from Harry S. Truman at the Hotel Robidoux in St. Joseph, Missouri to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In the letter, Truman mentions sharing his hotel room with James Pendergast during an American Legion State Convention. Truman comments that James is, "a nice boy and as smart as the old man he's named for."

Date: 
September 20th 1921

Letter from Harry S. Truman at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman reveals his inclination towards military service, stating that, "I am going to have to write orders for a whole division today, and believe me it's a real job. I won't have time to think of any politicians or jobs or roads either for the balance of the week."

Date: 
July 19th 1923

Letter from Harry S. Truman at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. Truman describes his attraction to the military, then says, "You be a good girl and I'll be a good boy. I have been. I haven't had a thing to drink nor have I drawn a single card."

Date: 
July 21st 1923

Letter from Harry S. Truman at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman comments briefly on Kansas City politics: "I see that the Journal is still having a pick at the County Court. If Mr. Dickey had gotten his streets accepted he'd have been pleased with the operation of the court."

Date: 
July 22nd 1923

Letter from Harry S. Truman at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman comments that he is getting in shape while at Fort Leavenworth and exclaims, "I'll be able to lick all the rabbits and the Kansas City Journal too when I get home."

Date: 
July 25th 1923

Letter from Harry S. Truman at the Hotel Connor in Joplin, Missouri to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman describes his trip to Joplin with Jimmy (James M.) Pendergast.

Date: 
August 18th 1924

Letter from Harry S. Truman at Fort Riley, Kansas to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman recounts his conversation with the general (presumably of the United States Army Reserve), saying that, "He always kids me about my political career and I tell him if there weren't politicians to run the government, he would not be a brigadier general. That usually stops the conversation...".

Date: 
July 7th 1925

Letter from Harry S. Truman at Fort Riley, Kansas to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman speaks candidly about fashion with Bess: "Say, if you want your hair bobbed so badly, go on and get it done. I want you to be happy regardless of what I think about it."

Date: 
July 9th 1925

Letter from Harry S. Truman at Fort Riley, Kansas to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. This letter reveals his growing association with Tom Pendergast. Truman says, "I wonder if you would call up Buck and ask him to see Tom and get Tom to request Reed to pay me a visit. I'd be sitting on top of the moon if that could be done and Col. A.J.E. would have a spasm."

Date: 
July 6th 1926

Letter from Harry S. Truman at Fort Riley, Kansas to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman updates Bess of his United States Army Reserve duties and leisure time, joking that, "There are lots of politicians here. We have a great time trying to get our campaign funds out of the poker game."

Date: 
July 12th 1926

Letter from Harry S. Truman at the Worthington Hotel in Herington, Kansas to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman describes some of the men in power in Herington including the postmaster: "His name is Dave Naill and he is considered an authority on Republican politics in Kansas. He's got Tom [Pendergast] backed off the boards as a boss."

Date: 
November 8th 1926

Letter from Harry S. Truman in Great Bend, Kansas to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman elaborates on the hospitality he is receiving in Great Bend, saying that, "This is almost like campaigning for President except that the people are making promises to me instead of the other way around."

Date: 
November 9th 1926

Letter from Harry S. Truman in Dodge City, Kansas to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman describes the geography of southwest central Kansas, and exclaims, "...from the look of things we... will have all the cities in this neighborhood pulling for our National Old Trails..."

Date: 
November 10th 1926

Letter from Harry S. Truman in Dodge City, Kansas to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman updates Bess on his campaign for a National Old Trails Road and State Highway for Kansas.

Date: 
November 10th 1926

Letter from Harry S. Truman at the Hotel Gibbons in Dayton, Ohio to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman updates Bess on his travel east to Dayton and then speaks about the newly erected Liberty Memorial: "...Will Rogers says it looks like a silo. Other people have the right slant on R.A. Long's monument to himself as well as us perverted people who only fought the war behind a gun."

Date: 
November 15th 1926

Letter from Harry S. Truman aboard the National Limited (Baltimore & Ohio Railroad) to his wife Bess in Independence, Missouri. In this letter, Truman informs Bess of his entitlements during the trip: "Davis suggests that I inform you of all the tricks we are entitled to on this Limited whether we use them or not; such as maid, hairdresser, barber shop & bath, secretary, valet, tailor etc. etc. ad infinitum."

Date: 
February 11th 1927

Pages

KANSAS CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY | DIGITAL HISTORY
Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict,1855-1865.
The Pendergast Years, Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression.
KC History, Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library.