Benjamin H. Hardy Papers
The papers of Benjamin H. Hardy relate primarily to the “Point Four” program. Hardy helped originate the idea for this program, which was formally proposed by President Harry S. Truman in his Inaugural Address of January 20, 1949. A good portion of the collection consists of information about Point Four, and drafts of the Inaugural Address and other speeches. Also included in the collection are numerous newspaper clippings of articles written by Hardy and other articles regarding the Point Four program.
See also Christine Hardy Little oral history
Size: Less than one linear foot (about 1,600 pages).
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The Benjamin H. Hardy Papers mostly document the creation, development, and implementation of the Point Four program of technical assistance to underdeveloped nations. Included among the collection are speech drafts written for President Harry S. Truman’s Inaugural Address of January 20, 1949, in which he introduced the program. Also included are drafts of Truman’s State of the Union address in 1950, and numerous other speeches given by government officials such as Dean Acheson and George C. Marshall. Most of the speeches pertain to the implementation and progress of the Point Four program as a means of defeating communism in impoverished regions of the world. Hardy helped draft many of these speeches while he worked for the State Department and the Technical Cooperation Administration.
The collection also includes correspondence, memoranda, newspaper clippings, reports, handwritten notes, and press releases relating to the Point Four proposal and its implementation through the Technical Cooperation Administration (TCA). Among the items is Hardy’s 1948 memorandum proposing the program, clippings of newspaper articles apparently written by Hardy during his career as a journalist, and an unpublished manuscript by Hardy, “Point IV: Dynamic Democracy.” The collection is comprised of one series, a Subject File, arranged alphabetically by subject.
Hardy was born in Barnesville, Georgia on May 22, 1906. He graduated from the University of Georgia with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in 1928 and 1929, respectively. He joined the Atlanta Journal in 1930, and then edited his father’s paper in 1931-1932, due to his father’s illness. He bought a weekly paper in Biloxi, Mississippi in late 1933, but had to sell it due to the Depression. He joined the Associated Press in 1935, then the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs in 1943. In this capacity, Hardy worked in Brazil from 1944-1946, and then returned to be an assistant to George C. Marshall. When Marshall became Secretary of State in 1947, Hardy joined the Public Affairs Office of the Department of State.
Hardy presented the Point Four idea in 1948 to his superiors at a time when President Truman’s 1949 inaugural speech was being developed. When it was brought to Truman’s attention, he loved the idea, and it was incorporated into his address. Hardy was later made chairman of the Policy Board for Point Four as well as Public Affairs Officer for the program. While on a tour for inspection of U.S. programs around the world, he was killed in a plane crash in Iran on December 22, 1951.
Related collections at the Truman Library include the papers of Henry G. Bennett (the first TCA Administrator, who was killed with Hardy in the airplane crash); the papers of Stanley Andrews, Bennett’s successor as TCA Administrator; and the Student Research File, “The Point Four Program: Reaching Out to Help the Less Developed Countries.”