Elizabeth (Bess) Truman Biography

Elizabeth Virginia Wallace was born on February 13, 1885 in Independence, MO. She first met Harry S. Truman in Sunday School when she was 5 and he was 6. They shared elementary and high school classes. Upon graduation, Mr. Truman went to work on his Grandfather Young’s farm in Grandview, MO, about 20 miles from Independence. Harry Truman began courting Bess in 1910 – a courtship that lasted nine years. World War I postponed the wedding, but they were married on June 28, 1919. Their only child, Margaret was born on February 17, 1924. In 1934, Truman was elected to the US Senate and in 1944 he was selected as the candidate for Vice President of the United States. Upon the death of President Roosevelt on April 12, 1945, Bess Truman became First Lady when her husband became the 33rd President of the United States. An extremely private person, Mrs. Truman would spend much of her husband’s presidency in Missouri, returning to Washington only for the social season.

She and Harry S. Truman returned to Independence, Missouri and back to her grandfather’s house at 219 Delaware Street. She was a loving wife, mother and proud grandmother. President Truman died on December 26, 1972.

Bess Truman died in October 1982 of congestive heart failure at the age of 97 and is the longest-lived First Lady in U.S. history. Mrs. Truman is buried next to her husband at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri.

Bess Truman at age 5
Bess Truman at age 5
Elizabeth (Bess) Wallace at age 4 1/2. Harry met Bess at age 5.
Bess Truman fishing
Bess Truman fishing
Bess loved to fish so Harry took her fishing while courting.

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