Jacob M. Arvey Papers
Dates: 1945 - 1977
Democratic National Committeeman from Illinois 1950-1972.
The papers of Jacob M. Arvey consist mainly of correspondence between himself and President Harry S. Truman. The majority of the correspondence is personal in nature and dates from Truman’s post-presidential years. Other correspondence relates to invitations to Truman to speak at events, usually those sponsored by Jewish organizations. There are also some printed materials in the collection.
Size: Less than one-half of one linear foot (approximately 175
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The papers of Jacob M. Arvey consist mainly of correspondence between himself and President Harry S. Truman. The majority of the correspondence is personal and dates from Truman’s post-presidential years. Other correspondence relates to invitations to Truman to speak at events, usually those sponsored by Jewish organizations. The collection also includes some printed material relating to Truman or Arvey, and copies of several speeches. The papers are organized into a single series, a Subject File.
The correspondence mostly spans the years from 1948 to 1970. There is a small amount of correspondence from 1977 concerning the Truman Library’s acquisition of an additional document for the collection.
Only two pieces of correspondence exist in the papers from the Truman presidential years. One is dated November 13, 1948, from Truman to Arvey, thanking him for his role during Truman’s successful presidential campaign. The other is from 1951, from Arvey to Truman, declaring Arvey’s support for the President in the 1952 campaign.
The great amount of personal correspondence between the two men covers a variety of subjects. The most common are letters of thanks from Truman to Arvey. Typically, Truman was thanking Arvey for his birthday or holiday greetings and gifts, for his special notes of encouragement or congratulations, for forwarding publications of interest, and, in later years, for his concern for Truman’s health and well-being. Truman also sent Arvey letters of encouragement and congratulations. Other examples of personal correspondence include requests from Arvey for Truman to autograph items for Arvey’s friends. The replies to these requests, either from Truman or his secretary, Rose Conway, show that Truman readily complied. Some of the correspondence refers to documents that are not included in the collection.
The correspondence indicates that Truman could not always accept the many invitations from Arvey to speak at or attend various events. Many of these events were hosted by Jewish organizations around the country. Truman declined requests because of an already busy schedule and, in later years, a conscious effort to “slow down.” However, the papers also include information about the many events Truman did attend. The Chicago Committee for State of Israel Bonds held a celebration of the three-thousandth anniversary of the founding of Jerusalem at Chicago Stadium in November 1953. Arvey introduced Truman at the celebration, and there is a copy of his introduction and of Truman’s remarks. Truman spoke at another State of Israel Bonds dinner in Miami Beach, Florida in February 1957. Arvey introduced Truman again at that event, and there is a copy of that introduction as well. After both of these events, Truman wrote to Arvey thanking him for his hospitality and kind remarks.
In 1961, Truman met with the Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion. Correspondence afterwards between Arvey and Ben-Gurion’s office documents the success of that meeting. An unusual deviation from the correspondence relating to events sponsored by Jewish organizations was a 1962 letter from Arvey inviting the former President to deliver the keynote address during the first annual American Masonic Heritage Week in Chicago.
A few of the letters are between Truman’s secretary, Rose Conway, and Arvey’s secretary, Dorothy Christerson. Two other letters were written by Bess Wallace Truman to Arvey on occasions when her husband was ill. The collection also includes some correspondence with other persons involving Truman or Arvey.
More information about Arvey can be found at the Truman Library in the Papers of Harry S. Truman, particularly in the White House Central Files: President's Personal File (PPF 4106) and in the Name File of the Post-Presidential Papers.