Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Records of Guggenheim Productions, Inc.

Dates: 1944-1995.

Producers of a documentary film on the life of Harry S. Truman.

The records of Guggenheim Productions, Inc. consist of transcripts of thirty-seven interviews conducted by Charles Guggenheim in 1994 and 1995 for a documentary film on the life of Harry S. Truman, and related research materials.

[Administrative Information | Organizational Note | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 1 linear foot, 9 linear inches.
Access: Open.
Copyright: Researchers may not cite or quote from these records without receiving written permission to do so from Guggenheim Productions, Inc.
Processed by: Erica Flanagan and Randy Sowell (2009).


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


ORANIZATIONAL NOTE

Charles Guggenheim (1924-2002), a distinguished documentary filmmaker, was the founder of Guggenheim Productions, Inc. During his career, Guggenheim received four Academy Awards and twelve Academy Award nominations for his work.

Guggenheim interviewed Truman scholars, White House staff members from the Truman administration, and residents of Independence, Missouri while researching a documentary film on the life of Harry S. Truman in 1994-1995. The documentary was completed and released in 1997.

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


COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The records of Guggenheim Productions, Inc. include transcripts of thirty-seven interviews conducted by Charles Guggenheim in 1994 and 1995, along with transcripts of other interviews, speeches, a radio broadcast, and a television broadcast. These materials were used in producing a film documentary on the life of Harry S. Truman that was released in 1997 by Guggenheim Productions, Inc.

The persons interviewed by Guggenheim included Truman scholars and historians, White House staff members from the Truman administration, retired Secret Service agents, journalists, and residents of Independence, Missouri. The following summaries of Guggenheimís transcribed interviews are arranged alphabetically.

Summaries of Guggenheim Interview Transcripts

    Acheson, Alice
      The widow of Dean Acheson discusses Achesonís education, early career, and relationships with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.
    Acheson, David
      The son of Dean Acheson discusses various aspects of Achesonís career, such as his opinion of the recognition of Israel, his reaction to McCarthyism, his collaboration with Truman, and the meeting with General MacArthur. He also touches on the importance of the Marshall Plan and Trumanís legacy, and the White House disrepair and subsequent renovation during the Truman administration.
    Allen, Eugene
      Allen discusses his service as a butler in the White House during the Truman administration and the general daily routine of the Trumans. He mentions visits by high-profile guests such as Winston Churchill and Princess Elizabeth.
    Anderson, Vernice
      The secretary to Ambassador Philip Jessup talks about her professional relationship with him as well as with Dean Acheson. She discusses the conference at Wake Island between Truman and MacArthur.
    Battle, Lucius
      The former State Department official discusses the major foreign policy events of the Truman Presidency.
    Block, Herb
      The political cartoonist presents his opinion of Truman as President and various aspects of Trumanís Presidency, including McCarthyism, the Marshall Plan, and the dismissal of General MacArthur.
    Boring, Floyd
      Boring, a retired Secret Service agent, reflects on the differences in character between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, and Bess Trumanís personality. He recalls the assassination attempt on Truman and other events during Trumanís Presidency, such as the trip to Potsdam and the White House renovation.
    Childers, Petey
      Childers recalls growing up in Independence and Jackson County, Missouri at the same time as Harry S. Truman. He discusses life in Jackson County during the Depression, as well as Kansas City politics and Tom Pendergastís involvement in Trumanís career.
    Clifford, Clark
      Clifford, a member of Trumanís White House staff, discusses Trumanís transition to the Presidency following Rooseveltís death, and working for Truman in the White House. He recalls events that occurred during the Truman administration, including the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Blockade, the recognition of Israel, the relationship between Truman and Dean Acheson, and the decision to drop the atomic bomb.
    Dawson, Betty
      This interview with an authority on Trumanís early life features a discussion of the Grandview farm on which Truman grew up and the early relationship between Harry Truman and Bess Wallace.
    Dawson, Donald
      Dawson, a member of Trumanís White House staff, discusses Trumanís Senatorial years and his first meeting with Truman in 1935. He offers his insight on Trumanís experience as chairman of the Truman Committee and the selection of Truman as the Vice Presidential candidate in 1944. He goes on to discuss the 1948 campaign and election, and Trumanís legacy.
    Donovan, Robert
      The journalist and historian shares his thoughts on various events of Trumanís life including his World War I experience, NATO and the Marshall Plan, the 1948 Whistlestop Campaign, the Korean War, and MacArthurís dismissal.
    Doohan, John
      Doohan, an authority on Kansas City history, discusses Trumanís early political career and his association with the Pendergast machine.
    Eagleton, Thomas
      The former Missouri Senator describes the events that led to Trumanís Vice Presidential nomination in 1944.
    Elsey, George
      Elsey, a member of Trumanís White House staff, describes his association with the President and reflects on some of the major events of the Truman Presidency.
    Ferrell, Robert
      Professor Ferrell discusses Trumanís relationship with Mrs. Truman, his early political career, his support for civil rights, and various aspects of his Presidency.
    Field, Lyman
      Field, a friend of Mr. Truman from the Kansas City area, discusses Kansas City politics and Trumanís association with Tom Pendergast. He goes on to talk about the Truman Committee, the desegregation of the armed forces, the decision to drop the atomic bomb, the Korean War, and General MacArthurís dismissal.
    Gentry, Sue
      The Independence reporter discusses the planning for the Harry S. Truman Library and the Library dedication held in 1957. She also talks about Trumanís life in Independence and his school days with Bess Wallace and Charlie Ross, who would later become Trumanís Press Secretary.
    Goodpaster, Andrew
      General Goodpaster discusses various events during the Truman administration, including the Marshall Plan, NATO, the recognition of Israel, and the Korean War.
    Hamby, Alonzo
      Hamby, a Truman scholar, discusses Trumanís years on the farm and growing up in Grandview and Independence, Missouri. He also talks about Trumanís service in Battery D and World War I, and his friend Eddie Jacobson.
    Hechler, Ken
      This interview with a member of Trumanís White House staff includes discussion of the Marshall Plan, Greece and Turkey, the 1948 election, the Korean War, MacArthurís dismissal, the recognition of Israel, Trumanís vacations in Key West, and the relationship between Harry and Bess Truman.
    Heller, Francis
      Heller, an historian and associate of former President Truman, discusses the Wake Island meeting between Truman and Douglas MacArthur, the steel strike during the Korean War, and politics in Jackson County, Missouri.
    Hoff, Joan
      Hoff, an historian, critiques various Truman biographies and analyzes Trumanís decision to drop the atomic bomb. She discusses his educational background and personality in the context of his decision-making process.
    Hulston, John
      Hulston, a Missouri friend of Truman, talks about Trumanís 1934 Senatorial campaign as well as his Whistlestop campaign of 1948. He goes on to discuss Trumanís career as a farmer, his military service, and his Kentucky ancestors.
    Johnson, Niel
      The former Truman Library archivist and Truman impersonator talks about daily life on the Truman familyís Grandview farm and the familyís economic situation. Johnson also discusses family relations, Trumanís ancestors, and Trumanís service in Battery D.
    Kirkendall, Richard
      Professor Kirkendall, a Truman scholar, talks about Trumanís early days in Independence, his early political career, and the Pendergast dynasty in Kansas City.
    Neustadt, Richard
      This interview with Neustadt, a political scientist and member of Trumanís White House staff, focuses on various events of the Truman Presidency, including the atomic bomb, the Potsdam Conference, the Korean War, MacArthurís dismissal, and the Marshall Plan.
    Newhouse, John
      Newhouse, a journalist, discusses various events that took place during Trumanís Presidency, including the Truman Doctrine, the Potsdam Conference, the atomic bomb, the Manhattan Project, McCarthyism, the Korean War, the Marshall Plan, and NATO.
    Nitze, Paul
      The veteran diplomat reflects on Trumanís reaction to NSC-68. He discusses working with General Marshall and the Marshall Plan, the decision to drop the atomic bomb, and his postwar visit to Hiroshima.
    Parks, Lillian
      Parks recalls working for Bess Truman in the White House as a member of the service staff. She also discusses working under the Roosevelts, FDRís death, the deterioration of the White House, and its renovation during the Truman administration.
    Roberts, Chalmers
      The prominent journalist talks about the final days of the Roosevelt Presidency, Truman as Vice President, the White House renovation, the November 1950 assassination attempt, McCarthyism, the Berlin Airlift, and the Marshall Plan.
    Scouten, Rex
      Scouten, a retired Secret Service agent, recalls protecting Truman during his Presidency, the White House renovation, Trumanís interest in architecture, and his daily physical activities.
    Seale, William
      Seale, an authority on White House history, discusses the renovations made in the Executive Mansion by President Truman. He talks about the living arrangements of the Truman family in the White House after the renovations were complete.
    Sherwood, Jack
      Sherwood, a retired Secret Service agent, recalls his assignment at the White House beginning in 1946. He discusses Trumanís habits and mannerisms, the White House renovation; the 1948 campaign, and Trumanís vacations at Key West and aboard the USS Williamsburg.
    Steelman, John
      Steelman, the former Assistant to the President, talks about Trumanís character and knowledge of history. He discusses the railroad strike of 1946 and other labor issues of the time.
    Stowe, David
      Stowe recalls the 1950 assassination attempt and his involvement with the Secret Service as an assistant in the White House. He talks about speech-writing and campaigning on the Presidentís train, playing poker with the President on vacation in Key West, and labor issues that surfaced during the Truman administration.
    Wooden, McKinley
      Wooden discusses his service in Battery D under Trumanís command during World War I, and his subsequent friendship with Truman.

(The collection also includes a brief summary of Guggenheimís interview with Mrs. Trumanís secretary Reathel Odum, which was not transcribed.)

The rest of the collection consists of transcripts of the following: a radio broadcast of the 1944 Democratic National Convention, which nominated Truman for Vice President; a television broadcast featuring Margaret Trumanís recollections of life in Independence; interviews with White House butler Alonzo Fields and Trumanís schoolteacher, Mrs. W. L. C. Palmer, which were conducted by others; and selected speeches by President Truman and General MacArthur. Guggenheim Productions, Inc. has possession of all the sound recordings that were transcribed, and of the interview with Reathel Odum that was not transcribed. Researchers wishing to use these audio recordings should contact Guggenheim Productions at gpifilms@gpifilms.com.

The Truman Library has the personal papers or oral history interviews of many of the persons who were interviewed by Guggenheim for the documentary.

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


SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1-4 SUBJECT FILE, 1944-1995
Transcripts of thirty-seven interviews conducted by Charles Guggenheim, and related research materials. Arranged alphabetically.

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


FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1
  • Acheson, Alice
  • Acheson, David
  • Allen, Eugene
  • Anderson, Vernice
  • Battle, Lucius
  • Block, Herb
  • Boring, Floyd
  • Childers, Petey
  • Clifford, Clark
  • Dawson, Betty
  • Dawson, Donald
  • Democratic National Convention, July 20, 1944
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Donovan, Robert
Box 2
  • Doohan, John
  • Eagleton, Thomas
  • Elsey, George
  • Ferrell, Robert
  • Field, Lyman
  • Fields, Alonzo
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Gentry, Sue
  • Goodpaster, Andrew
Box 3
  • Hamby, Alonzo
  • Hechler, Ken
  • Heller, Francis
  • Hoff, Joan
  • Hulston, John
  • Johnson, Niel
  • Kirkendall, Richard
  • Neustadt, Richard
  • Newhouse, John
  • Nitze, Paul
  • Odum, Reathel [summary]
  • Palmer, Mrs. W. L. C.
  • Parks, Lillian
Box 4
  • Roberts, Chalmers
  • Scouten, Rex
  • Seale, William
  • Sherwood, Jack
  • Speeches of Harry S. Truman, 1945-1947
  • Speeches of Harry S. Truman, 1948-1951
  • Speeches of Harry S. Truman, 1952-1953
  • Speeches of Harry S. Truman and Douglas MacArthur, 1945-1951
  • Steelman, John
  • Stowe, David
  • Truman, Margaret
  • Wooden, McKinley

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