Press/Journalists

Press Release
April 29, 2009

Spring Prologue Magazine Highlights Trumanís 125th Birthday

Issue also features National Archives at Kansas City and EPAís Documerica

Washington, DC…Harry S. Truman, whose standing among the public and historians has steadily risen since he left office several generations ago, is remembered on the 125th anniversary of his birth in the new issue of Prologue magazine, the official publication of the National Archives and Records Administration.

In the Spring 2009 Prologue, three articles written especially for the issue explore Truman’s devotion to history and his views of historians; his relationship with artist Thomas Hart Benton, who created the famous mural in the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri; and his role as a grandfather to daughter Margaret’s four boys.

Samuel Rushay, supervisory archivist at the Truman Library, recounts in “Harry Truman’s History Lessons” the former President’s lifelong abiding interest in history and the lessons he drew from it

“Truman’s view of historians went beyond indifference; it bordered on contempt,” writes Rushay. “In 1950, he lectured a newspaperman . . . that ‘real history consists of the life and actions of great men. . . . Historians editorializing is in the same class as the modern irresponsible columnist.’”

Raymond Geselbracht, a longtime Prologue contributor from the Truman Library staff, recalls the initial frosty relationship between Truman and Benton. The bond between the two eventually warmed, Geselbracht writes, and “each time [Benton visited,] the two men sat together in Truman’s office and shared some friendly conversation and a glass of bourbon.”

Truman’s oldest grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, recalls Truman’s post-presidential years as grandfather: “I was six years old before I discovered that my grandfather had been President of the United States. That’s because my parents kept it from me. Up to that time, Grandpa Truman was just someone who came around from time to time and was either to be accorded a great deal of respect or avoided entirely.”

Separately, the National Archives at Kansas City will reopen in its new home in downtown Kansas City, near historic Union Station and the busy Crown Center. And it will open with a special exhibit featuring documents from the National Archives at Kansas City holdings.

In “DOCUMERICA: Snapshots of Crisis and Cure in the 1970s,” Jerry Simmons recalls in words and pictures a project by the newly created Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to document the American environment and the condition it was in when EPA first began operations.

For 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 has 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 $24. To order: 

  • Call 1-800-234-8861 or 202-357-5482.
  • Go to the subscribe page, print out the order form, and mail it to Prologue,
    National Archives Trust Fund (Cashier) NAT,
    8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001.
  • Order online.
  • Fax credit card orders to Prologue at 202-357-5918.

Single copies of Prologueare available at the Archives Shop or at the Cashier's Office in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, or at the Publications Sales Office at the National Archives at College Park, MD. Single copies are also available in the shops at some Presidential libraries and at the new National Archives at Kansas City.

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

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