Press/Journalists

Press Release
January 15, 2008

Prologue Magazine Reveals How a Young Harry Truman Never Gave Up in Pursuit of Bess Wallace

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Washington, DC…President Harry S. Truman’s style was to be persistent and direct, whether he was negotiating with Josef Stalin, confronting a Republican Congress, seeking reelection against all odds, or firing a revered general.

But the first matter that required his persistence and his directness was many years before he found himself on the world stage—as a young man wooing a young girl named Bess Wallace, with whom he was smitten the moment he saw her in Sunday school.

“Harry would go into raptures about this ‘beautiful curly haired girl . . . the most beautiful girl I ever saw’ for the rest of his life,” Raymond Geselbracht writes in the Winter issue of Prologue, the National Archives’ quarterly magazine. In “The First Proposal,” Geselbracht, a historian at the Truman Library in Independence, MO, tells how Truman persisted in courting Bess for years even though she spurned him time and again.

In the end, Geselbracht writes, “Bess was so essential to Harry Truman that history might not know his name at all if she had not finally decided to accept him as her husband.”

Winter Prologue also tells the story of how American troops removed Nazi records from a cave in Czechoslovakia after World War II, but were caught—igniting a diplomatic crisis. In the end, writes T. Dennis Reese, a retired foreign service officer, the Americans apologized and returned the records.

Dealing with the U.S. Government can be frustrating even now, but in the 1800s, the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican tribe in Wisconsin became expert at working the system as effectively as today’s highly paid lobbyists. They studied government and learned how to get concessions and favorable decisions from Washington that other tribes failed to win.  James W. Oberly, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, reveals their secrets in “Mastering the Politics of Government.”

Prologue also takes a look at the vast collection of World War II records held by the National Archives—from D-day plans to personnel records of the millions of soldiers and sailors who fought. And Bruce Henderson talks about his book, True North, which examines the competing claims of being first to reach the North Pole.

For nearly four decades, Prologue has shared with readers the rich resources and programs of the National Archives, its regional archives, and the Presidential libraries.

Each issue features historical articles—drawn from National Archives' holdings and written by noted historians, archivists, and experts—as well as articles explaining and describing many of the National Archives’ activities and programs as the nation’s recordkeeping agency. The Washington Post said, “Prologue. . . can be regarded quite literally as an invitation for further study. It is also consistently absorbing reading.”

A one-year subscription to Prologue costs $20, and you can order in a number of ways:

  • Call 1-800-234-8861 or 202-357-5482
  • Go to the subscription page, print out the order form and mail it to Prologue, P.O. Box 100684, Atlanta, GA, 30384.
  • Order online at our E-store.
  • Fax credit card orders to Prologue at 202-357-5918.

NOTE: Effective April 1, 2008, a subscription to Prologue will cost $24 for one year; foreign orders will be $30. Single copies will sell for $6 each.

Single copies of Prologue are available at the Archives Shop or at the Cashier's Office in the National Archives Building in Washington or at the Publications Sales Office at the National Archives at College Park. Single copies are also available in the shops at some Presidential libraries.

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For Press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (202) 357-5300.

For more information about the National Archives and its programs and exhibits, go to www.archives.gov.

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