Bess Truman

The spotlight did not appeal to Bess Truman. "She would return home to Independence as often as possible, leaving the President feeling very alone, often desolate," says historian David McCullough. "It's hard for some people to understand what she was like, and why the President was so devoted to her."

Transcript

Narrator: Bess never wanted to be first lady. After just one month in the White House, Bess and Margaret went home to Independence.

David McCullough, Biographer: Bess did not like living in the White House. She felt very uncomfortable, very ill-at-ease with all the fanfare and the attention of the press. Particularly when photographers pressed in around her, she would freeze and become kind of old stone face. And get an expression that looked as if her feet hurt. The spotlight, the limelight, did not appeal to Bess Truman ever. And she would return home to Independence as often as possible. Leaving the President feeling very alone, often desolate. It's hard for some people to understand what she was like and why the President was so devoted to her. But he adored her there's no question about that.

 

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  • Additional funding for this program was provided by

  • NEH

  • Additional funding for this program was provided by

  • NEH