Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Bruce D. Forsyth Papers

Dates: 1945-1990.

White House Dentist and Assistant Surgeon General, Public Heath Service, 1945-1953.

The Papers of Bruce D. Forsyth consist of a diary, correspondence, printed materials, newspaper clippings, photographs, dental records and specimens, and memorabilia documenting Dr. Forsyth’s career as White House dentist.

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


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 10 linear inches (approximately 1600 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: The donor gave to the United States all her copyrights in these materials. Documents created by U.S. Government officials in the course of their duties are in the public domain. Copyright interest in other documents presumably belongs to the creators of those documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Erica Flanagan, David Clark (2008).


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1907 (May 18)Born, Davison, Michigan
1930D.D.S., University of Michigan
1930-31Private practice of dentistry
1931-45Dental Intern and Surgeon, U.S. Public Health Service
1945-53White House Dentist and Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service
1991 (October 13) Died

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The Papers of Bruce D. Forsyth contain a diary, correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, printed material, dental records, and other items spanning the course of nearly five decades. The correspondence includes letters from White House secretaries such as Rose Conway and Matthew Connelly, and Treasury Secretary John Snyder. The correspondence from Harry Truman, Bess Truman, and Margaret Truman mostly is limited to thank-you notes and holiday greetings reflecting the friendship between the Truman and Forsyth families.

Dr. Forsyth's diary documents in great detail his years as White House dentist and his relations with the Truman family beginning in 1945. Forsyth describes dental work done on the Trumans, his first visit to the White House on May 11, 1945, and a tour of White House bedrooms given by Bess Truman. Other events described by Forsyth include conversations with Bess about her and Margaret smoking cigarettes without Mr. Truman’s knowledge, a conversation with Harry Truman regarding the Public Health Service being given military status, and personal experiences with wartime rationing. Topics of the diary unrelated to the Truman family include comments on General Wallace Graham, Forsyth’s promotion to Assistant Surgeon General and Chief of the Dental Division of the Public Health Service, a trip to the Army-Navy Football game in November 1949, Bob Hannegan’s death, and dental work performed on various White House employees.

Printed materials and newspaper clippings in the collection include dental publications featuring articles by Forsyth, and articles regarding President Truman and his family. Programs, clippings, and memorabilia from various events such as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, the Army-Navy football game, and the 1949 Inauguration are also included. Some articles contain references to Forsyth’s support for water fluoridation and other aspects of his career as a dentist in the field of public health.

Many of the thirty photographs in the Forsyth papers are duplicates of images previously accessioned in the photo collection of the Harry S. Truman Library, such as images taken at Key West in 1949. Also included are two images of the White House clinic in 1949, prior to the White House renovation.

Dental records relating to Harry, Bess, and Margaret Truman in the collection include dental charts, X-rays, and bridges and crowns removed from Harry Truman’s teeth during Forsyth’s service as White House dentist.

More information concerning Dr. Forsyth can be found in the President’s Personal File (PPF 2647) and in the Post-Presidential Papers.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1-2 SUBJECT FILE, 1945-1990
A diary, correspondence, printed materials, newspaper clippings, photographs, dental records and specimens, and memorabilia documenting Dr. Forsyth’s career as White House dentist. Arranged alphabetically.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1
  • Army-Navy Football Games
  • Articles
  • Bush, George and Barbara
  • Christmas
  • Correspondence
  • Diary
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Invitations
  • Memorabilia
  • Newspaper Clippings
  • 1949 Inauguration
Box 2
  • Personal
  • Photographs
  • Printed Materials
  • Travel Logs
  • Truman, Bess—Correspondence
  • Truman, Bess—Dental
  • Truman, Harry S.—Correspondence
  • Truman, Harry S.—Dental
  • Truman, Margaret—Correspondence
  • Truman, Margaret—Dental

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]