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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.

Harry Truman being sworn in as judge
Author: 
Jon Taylor

Truman’s tenure in Jackson County government had a profound impact on Kansas City and Jackson County. He encouraged Jackson Countians to support bond issues during the Great Depression, which left a lasting legacy on the built environment of Kansas City and Jackson County. Even though he was a member of the machine, he developed a bipartisan strategy that ensured Kansas Citians and Jackson Countians would embrace these bond issues, because he wanted to demonstrate to voters that these projects would not just benefit the machine, but everyone.

First issue of the anti-corruption, Kansas City-based newspaper, Future: The Newsweekly for Today. The front page includes a statement on the newspaper's objective, maintaining that the newspaper is not against any certain political party or vice, but that it is simply for "good government". Featured articles include: “Council Passes Cab Ordinance” (pp. 2 & 4) discussing councilman Frank H. Backstrom’s reaction to the ordinance and detailing other ordinances appropriating bond funds.; "Adult Education--A Fine Work" (pp.

Date: 
January 11th 1935
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.