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

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Bess Truman.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Bess Truman.


1885 Birth Bess Truman was born Elizabeth Virginia Wallace on February 13, 1885, to David Willock Wallace (1860–1903) and his wife, the former Margaret Elizabeth Gates (1862–1952), in Independence, Missouri, and was known as Bessie during her childhood. … Read More


1903 18 Years Old In 1903 her father got up very early one morning, climbed into the family bathtub and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. … Read More


1919 34 Years Old Bess and Harry Truman married in 1919 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Independence. … Read More


1953 68 Years Old 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. … Read More
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 in Independence, Missouri. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.