Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Richard Beckman Papers

Dates: 1942-1947.

Agent, Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Army; Assigned to Protect President Harry S. Truman at the Potsdam Conference in Germany.

The Richard Beckman Papers include correspondence, a personal memoir, memorabilia, photographs, newspaper clippings, a radio interview transcript, and other items relating to his experiences as a Criminal Investigation Division Agent in the U.S. Army serving in Europe during World War II.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: Less than one linear foot (about 1000 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: The donor gave to the U.S. government his copyrights in this material and in any other material received by the U.S. government and maintained in a U.S. government depository. Documents created by U.S. government officials in the course of their official duties are in the public domain. Copyright interest in other documents presumably belongs to the creators of those documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Joyce Burner (2009) as part of the Truman Library Internship Program.
Supervising Archivists: Randy Sowell and David Clark.


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1915 (July 7)Born Richard Robert Beckman in Burlington, Iowa
1932Earned Eagle Scout Award from Boy Scouts of America; graduated from St. Paulís Catholic High School in Burlington, Iowa
1934Graduated from Burlington Junior College, Burlington, Iowa
1938 (June 15)Graduated from University of Iowa Law School with combined liberal arts and law degree; joined his father, Stephen J. Beckman, in the practice of law at the firm Poor and Beckman in Burlington, Iowa
1943 (April 21)Inducted into U.S. Army at Camp Dodge, Des Moines, Iowa
1943 (October 16)Married Rosemary Delaney in Burlington, Iowa
1943 (April -December)Underwent U.S. Army basic training and F.B.I. training at Camp Dodge, Des Moines, Iowa, and Camp Custer, Augusta, Michigan; sailed to Scotland aboard the Queen Mary, December 3, 1943
1944-1945Served in a 10-person Criminal Investigation Division unit (11th CID, with First Army) in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Switzerland; participated in the D-Day landing in Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. His unit supplemented the Secret Service protection of President Harry S. Truman at the Potsdam Conference in Germany, July 16 to August 2, 1945.
1945 (December 17)Honorably discharged from the U.S. Army with the rank of Technical Sergeant
1946-1993Practiced law at Poor and Beckman (later Beckman and Hirsch) in Burlington, Iowa; painted watercolors of historical Burlington and exhibited his paintings at the University of Iowa, Western Illinois University at Macomb, the Burlington Sesquicentennial, and the Des Moines County Courthouse; birth of two daughters, Susan Beckman and Sally Beckman, and two sons, Stephen Beckman and David Beckman; joined in practice of law by son David Beckman; worked as senior counsel at law firm of Beckman, Hirsch and Ell
1993 (May 9)Died, Iowa City, Iowa

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of Richard Beckman include a personal memoir, correspondence, memorabilia, photographs, newspaper clippings, drawings, maps, a radio interview transcript, and other items related to his experiences as a Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Agent in the U.S. Army serving in Europe during World War II. These materials were originally opened for research at the Truman Library as part of the Miscellaneous Historical Documents Collection (MHDC) and General Historical Documents Collection (GHDC).

The collection includes a typewritten personal memoir, ďAn Accounting of Time,Ē written by Beckman to describe his work and experiences for his family. The memoir begins with his CID unitís trip to Scotland aboard the Queen Mary on December 3, 1943, and covers his experiences and duties in England, France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany, concluding with his unitís assignment to provide protection for President Harry S. Truman at the Potsdam Conference in Germany from July 16 to August 2, 1945. The memoir includes Beckmanís participation in the D-Day invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge.

Also included in the collection are the contents of two scrapbooks, arranged chronologically. The scrapbooks contain photographs taken by Beckman of his colleagues and surroundings during World War II; memorabilia such as playbills, programs, tickets, and picture postcards; newspaper clippings from the Burlington, Iowa, newspaper; and telegrams. A copy of Beckmanís memoir, ďAn Accounting of Time,Ē is included in the scrapbooks, its sections distributed chronologically throughout. Beckmanís draft notice and honorable discharge from the U.S. Army are also included in the scrapbooks.

Of particular interest in the collection are photographs and other items relating to the assignment of Beckmanís CID unit to protect Truman at the Potsdam Conference. The collection includes photographs of the interior of Trumanís personal quarters at the conference, as well as photographs of Truman with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Beckmanís personal pass and car pass for the conference and hand-drawn diagrams of the Cecilienhof palace are included.

Correspondence in the collection consists of letters that Beckman wrote to his father, Stephen Beckman; his wife, Rosemary Delaney Beckman; and his sisters, Mary Beckman and Alice Beckman. Typed transcripts of handwritten letters are included.

The collection contains a typed transcript of a radio interview Beckman gave on station KBUR, Burlington, Iowa, on April 7, 1982. The interview includes discussion of his experiences in World War II and at the Potsdam Conference.

Also included in the collection are maps of European cities Beckman visited, a map of Europe with Beckmanís travels marked, and drawings by Beckman portraying incidents, colleagues, and his surroundings.

Related materials at the Truman Library include the Student Research File, ďPlanning for the Postwar World: President Truman at the Potsdam Conference, July 17-August 2, 1945,Ē and a 1991 oral history interview with Richard R. Beckman.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1-2 SUBJECT FILE, 1942-1947
Correspondence, a personal memoir, memorabilia, photographs, newspaper clippings, and other items. Arranged alphabetically.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1
  • ďAn Accounting of TimeĒ
  • Correspondence, 1943
  • Correspondence, 1944
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Correspondence, 1945
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Correspondence, 1946
  • Correspondence, Undated
  • Handwritten Notes
  • Interview
  • Newspaper Clippings
  • Photographs
  • Poems
  • Potsdam Conference
  • Scrapbook, 1942-1945
      [1 of 2]
Box 2
      [2 of 2]
  • Scrapbook, 1945-1947

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