ELIZABETH VIRGINIA WALLACE TRUMAN Biography - Socialites, celebrities and People in the fashion industry


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Name: Elizabeth Virginia Wallace Truman                                               
Born: 13 February 1885 Independence, Missouri, USA                                     
Died: 18 October 1982 Independence, Missouri, USA                                     
Elizabeth Virginia Wallace Truman (February 13, 1885 – October 18, 1982), widely     
known as Bess Truman, was the wife of Harry S. Truman and First Lady of the           
United States from 1945 to 1953.                                                       
Elizabeth Virginia Wallace was born to David Willock Wallace and his wife (the         
former Margaret Elizabeth Gates) in Independence, Missouri and was known as           
Bessie during her childhood. Harry Truman, whose family moved to town in 1890,         
always kept his first impression of when he saw her at Sunday school: "Golden         
curls" and "the most beautiful blue eyes." A relative said, "there never was but       
one girl in the world" for him. They attended the same schools from fifth grade       
through high school.                                                                   
After graduating from William Chrisman High School (then known as Independence         
High School) she studied at Miss Barstow's Finishing School for Girls in Kansas       
City, Missouri. In 1903 her father committed suicide and she returned to               
Independence to be with her mother.                                                   
The First World War altered the Trumans' steady courtship. Lieutenant Truman           
proposed and they were engaged before he left for France in 1918. They were           
married on June 28, 1919 and lived in her mother's home. There were two               
stillborn children and several miscarriages before daughter Mary Margaret was         
born in 1924.                                                                         
As Harry Truman became active in politics Bess Truman traveled with him, sharing       
his platform appearances as the public had come to expect of a candidate's wife.       
His election to the Senate in 1934 took the family to Washington, D.C.. He was         
elected Vice President in 1944. Upon F.D.R.'s death on April 12, 1945 Harry           
Truman took the presidential oath of office. Bess Truman kept her composure and       
became the new First Lady.                                                             
Truman found the White House's lack of privacy distasteful. As her husband put         
it later, she was "not especially interested" in the "formalities and pomp or         
the artificiality which, as we had learned..., inevitably surround the family of       
the President." Though she steadfastly fulfilled the social obligations of her         
position, she did only what she thought was necessary. When the White House was       
rebuilt during Truman's second term, the family lived in Blair House and kept         
their social life to a minimum. In most years of her husband's presidency Truman       
did not live in Washington other than during the social season when her presence       
was expected.                                                                         
The contrast with Truman's predecessor Eleanor Roosevelt was marked. Unlike her,       
Truman held only one press conference after many requests from the mostly female       
press corps assigned to her. The press conference consisted of written questions       
in advance and the written replies were mostly monosyllabic along with many no         
comments. Truman's response to whether she wanted her daughter Margaret to             
become President was "most definitely not." Her reply to what she wanted to do         
after her husband left office was "return to Independence" although she had           
briefly entertained the thought of living in Washington after 1953.                   
In 1953 the Trumans went back to Independence and the family home at 219 North         
Delaware Street, where the former president worked on building his library and         
writing his memoirs. Bess Truman lived for 29 years after leaving the White           
House. Following a 1959 mastectomy Truman thought she was going to die (her           
husband was quoted as saying the tumor was the size of a basketball, but it was       
Her husband died in 1972 and Truman continued to live quietly, enjoying visits         
from Margaret and her husband Clifton Daniel along with their four sons. Truman       
agreed to be the honorary chairman for the reelection campaign of Sen. Thomas         
Eagleton (D-Missouri).                                                                 
She died in 1982 from congestive heart failure and was buried beside her husband       
in the courtyard of the Harry S. Truman Library.                                       
Aged 97 years at her death she remains the longest lived First Lady in United         
States history. The only close relative of a US president to live longer than         
Bess Truman was John F. Kennedy's mother Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, who died aged       
104 in 1995.