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Tag: Truman Library

Hats off to Bess Truman!

Today’s guest post comes from Tammy Kelly, archivist and hat aficionado at the Truman Presidential Library.

I admit it—I love hats. I have several vintage hats in my closet, but I find them challenging to wear because sometimes, I just don’t know how to wear them. People no longer wear hats on a regular basis, and you have to be careful how you wear them so that you avoid looking like you’re wearing a costume to work.

Bess Wallace Truman lived during a time when women regularly wore hats when going out in public, and as the granddaughter of a prominent family in Independence, MO, she always wore nice clothes. Mary Paxton Keely, her childhood friend, recalls that “Bess wore what the rest of us did; the difference was that she always looked more stylish than anyone else we knew.” She goes on to say that “Bess always had more stylish hats than the rest of us did, or she wore them with more style.”

One of the earliest photographs (above) of Bess wearing a hat demonstrates this interesting sense of style—it looks like she’s wearing a flag or a model ship on her hat! Sadly, this hat is not the museum collection of the Truman Library. The library has about 55 hats that belonged to Bess Truman, most of which she wore during … [ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest–February 16

Choosing last week’s winner was a tough nut–er, lobster?–to crack, so we turned to Tammy Kelly, our crack judge at the Truman Library.

Congratulation to RJ! Check your email for a code to use for a 15% discount at our eStore! Tammy chose your caption as the winner. Perhaps she was reminded of the fine collection of hats that Bess Truman wore throughout her life (featured on Millinery Monday).

Tammy kept her reasons for choosing RJ’s caption under her hat, but she did reveal that this image was taken by Abbie Rowe at the Maine State Society Lobster Dinner in the Department of the Interior cafeteria on February 21, 1951. The lobster-demolishing pair are Senator Owen Brewster and fellow guest Ann Chapman (wife of Oscar Chapman, Secretary of the Interior).

There’s no lobster in today’s photograph, but there are some….really large microphones? Give us your wittiest caption in the comments below!… [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: A Letter from Hairy Harry

Today’s guest post comes from Tammy Kelly at the Truman Presidential Library.

This week’s Facial Hair Friday photo is a most unexpected person: Harry S. Truman, before he became President! At the Truman Library, we know of only two photographs of Truman wearing any kind of facial hair, so this is a rare photo, indeed.

What prompted this mustache? Truman was away from home.

Truman served as a captain of Battery D of the 129th Field Artillery during World War I. After his discharge, he joined the Army Reserves and participated in yearly training camps, usually held during the summer. Truman had always fancied himself a soldier, and by and large, he had enjoyed his time in the Army. Participating in the Reserves allowed him to continue to fulfill his dreams—and provided a convenient means to get together with “the guys” for a little politicking, poker playing, and tale-telling, as well as for the fresh air and exercise.

But while Truman enjoyed getting away from the stresses of his job, he also desperately missed his family. Whenever he was away from his wife, Bess, for more than a day or two, he wrote her a letter. The Truman Library has over 1,300 letters that Harry wrote to Bess over the course of their life together. There are several written in July of 1927, when Truman was away … [ Read all ]

Say cheese, Mr. President: White House photographers at the Truman Library

Only 43 men in the history of the United States have held the title of President.

That’s a fairly small group , smaller than your average NFL team. But smaller still is the group of professionals who have held the title as the President’s chief photographer. To date, only nine men have served as the official White House Photographer.

President John F. Kennedy first appointed photographer Cecil Stoughton in 1960 in the role of White House Photographer. In the nearly 50 years following that first appointment, Presidential photographers have served as visual historians of the President’s daily life.

These photographers captured rare glimpses inside the White House and the historic moments of the Presidents they served. In addition to iconic images that enter the public’s memory of the President, private moments are captured as well.

On October 21, 2011, the Truman Library and Museum in Independence, MO, is excited to share the works of these photographers with  the exhibition “The President’s Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office.”

The exhibit displays images from the 1960s, when the first Presidential photographer was hired, to today’s unprecedented coverage of Barack Obama. The National Geographic exhibition features works by veteran presidential photographers including David Hume (who photographed Gerald Ford), David Valdez (George H.W. Bush), Bob McNeely (Bill Clinton), and Eric Draper (George W. Bush).

This tradition continues today as the 44th President’s chief … [ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest

Since this week’s photo featured President Harry S. Truman, we turned to Tammy Kelly, an archivist at the Truman Library, to pick our winner for the photo contest. She has firsthand knowledge of this photo since she is the one who cataloged the doll into the Truman Library’s computerized system earlier this summer.

Tammy picked John W.’s quote as one that tickled her funny bone. Congratulations, John W.! Check your e-mail for a code for 15% off in the eStore.

The original caption for the photo is “Photograph of President Truman in the Oval Office, receiving a doll from Dr. Helen Kim, a Korean educator, as Dr. John Myun Chang, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States, and Dr. Frederick Brown Harris, Chaplain of the Senate, look on. 05/08/1951″ (ARC 200314; Harry S. Truman Library). Tammy added that while they do not have much information about the doll itself, she could tell us that the doll is wearing a dark red skirt, and the dress features brightly striped sleeves.

Dolls, puppets, and office politics aside, this week’s photo takes us back to nature. Put your best captions in the comment box below!

[ Read all ]