Former President Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884 in Lamar, Missouri.
His birthday was later named Truman Day, a state holiday in Missouri.
In honor of Truman Day, here are some interesting facts about Truman.
1. The “S” in “Harry S. Truman” doesn’t stand for any name.
According to the Truman Library, the nation's 33rd president said the “S’ was a compromise between the names of his grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young.
2. Truman was elected in 1922 to be one of three judges of the Jackson County Court, but he didn’t graduate law school.
How was Truman a judge without a law degree? The Truman Library website said the position was an administrative one rather than a judicial position; there was no requirement that a Jackson County Judge have a law degree.
The court exercised corporate powers of the county. The website stated the powers included: management and control of county property, authority to purchase receive, lease, sell or convey county property and others.
3. Truman served as vice president with former President Franklin D. Roosevelt for only 82 days.
In July 1944, Truman was nominated to run for vice president with Roosevelt. Truman took the vice-presidential oath on January 20, 1945. After Roosevelt’s unexpected death 82 days later on April 12, 1945, he was sworn in as the 33rd president.
4. Truman got in hot water over the White House balcony.
In 1947, President Truman spent about $10,000 for a balcony behind the pillars of the South Portico of the White House. The Truman Library’s website reads:
“The balcony was defensible, he said, on the best grounds of architectural tradition. Scoffing at the idea that the balcony had been put on to provide an outdoor sitting area or, indeed, that he had time for rocking on a porch, he gave two reasons for adding it: first, to break what Truman considered the outlandish, disproportionate height of the portico columns, designed in Jefferson's day; and second to aid in shading the windows of the Blue Room.”
5. It seems Truman was not a fan of the “Missouri Waltz,” the official state song of Missouri.
According to the Truman Library website, Truman was asked in a television interview how the waltz became associated with him.
Truman said, “It’s a ragtime song, and if you let me say what I think, I don’t give a damn about it, but I can’t say it out loud because it’s the song of Missouri. It’s as bad as “The Star Spangled Banner” as far as music is concerned.”
The site also says a 1958 article in the Kansas City Star reported the song was played at nearly every public occasion during Truman’s 1948 presidential campaign, and it was then thought that the “Missouri Waltz” was his favorite song. Truman said he got tired of it after they played it so much during the 1948 presidential campaign.
6. Truman retired to Independence, and he and his wife are buried at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum's.
Truman retired to Independence, Missouri in January 1953. He died on December 26, 1972, and his wife, Bess Truman, died on October 18, 1982. The two are buried in the Library's courtyard.
To learn more about Truman, visit the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum's website.