Bess Truman

First Lady
Born Feb 13, 1885

Bess Truman, was the wife of Harry S. Truman and First Lady of the United States from 1945 to 1953. She had known her future husband since they attended the same school in Independence, Missouri. As First Lady, she did not enjoy big social events, and was relieved to quit Washington. Dying at 97, she remains the longest-lived First Lady.… Read More

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1885 Birth Born on February 13, 1885.
1890 5 Years Old 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." … Read More


1903 18 Years Old In 1903 her father committed suicide and she returned to Independence to be with her mother.


1918 33 Years Old The First World War altered the Trumans' steady courtship. Lieutenant Truman proposed and they were engaged before he left for France in 1918.
1919 34 Years Old They were married on June 28, 1919 and lived in her mother's home.
1924 39 Years Old At 34 and 35, their wedding took place at a relatively late age, as did their daughter Margaret's birth in 1924 (the Trumans were 39 and 40). 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.


1945 60 Years Old Upon Franklin D. Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945, Harry Truman took the presidential oath of office and Bess Truman became the new First Lady. … Read More
1953 68 Years Old 1 More Event
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.
1959 74 Years Old Following a 1959 mastectomy Bess thought she was going to die (her husband was quoted as saying the tumor was the size of a basketball, but it was benign).
1965 80 Years Old When President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law in 1965, the Trumans were the first to be given its benefits.
1972 87 Years Old At the time of her husband's death in 1972 at age 88, she was 87 making them the oldest couple having occupied the White House at that time. … Read More
1982 98 Years Old Bess continued to live quietly in Independence for the last decade of her life, being visited by her daughter and grandchildren. She died October 18, 1982, from congestive heart failure at the age of 97; a private funeral service was held October 21, afterwards she was buried beside her husband in the courtyard of the Harry S. Truman Library. … Read More
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