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Portrait of Bess Truman - Click to Enlarge

Bess was able to maintain a relatively normal private life as a senator's wife. It wasn't until Truman became president that her life changed much more dramatically. Unlike her predecessor, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess was adamant that her place be in the background. Bess was seen by many as "the perfect lady," always thoughtful and genuine, with an unusual attention to detail and protocol.
Portrait of Bess Wallace Truman, HSTR 467
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Hat and Gloves -- Click to Enlarge
Purse and Hanky -- Click to Enlarge
Perfume -- Click to Enlarge
Bridge Set - Click to Enlarge
Cosmetic Box -- Click to Enlarge
Daybook -- Click to Enlarge
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Teapot -- Click to Enlarge
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Truman decided not to run for another term and made the announcement at the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in March of 1952, surprising many and causing a noticeably pleased look on his wife's face. In December of that year, Bess' mother died in the White House at the age of 90. Margaret said that it was Bess' inner strength that allowed her to give such dedicated emotional support to Madge Wallace after David Wallace's death.

After the Presidency, Bess settled back into her private life in Independence, attending her bridge club, going to the beauty shop and visiting old friends.
Harry S Truman: American Visionary - Footer graphic
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