Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Chronological Look at the
Life of Harry S. Truman and His Times

1884 Harry S. Truman is born in Lamar, Missouri - May 8 1884 Grover Cleveland is elected U.S. President. The Statue of Liberty's cornerstone is laid.
1890 Harry S. Truman's family moves to Independence, Missouri from grandparent's farm in Grandview. 1890 Idaho is admitted as the 43rd state. Wyoming is admitted as the 44th state.
1892 Enter elementary school in Independence, Missouri. 1892 Abraham Lincoln's birthday becomes an official national holiday. One of America's first successful automobiles is built - a horse-buggy powered by an engine.
1900 Serves as page at the Democratic National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri 1900 William Jennings Bryan wins the Democratic nomination.
1901 Graduates from high school and begins as a clerk for the Santa Fe Railroad 1901 President Wm. McKinley is assassinated. Theodore Roosevelt becomes the 25th President.
1906 Harry S. Truman moves to grandparents' farm and operates it until 1917. 1906 Susan B. Anthony, pioneer of the women's suffrage movement, dies in New York.
1917 Truman joins the army to fight in World War I; later promoted to lieutenant, captain, then major. 1917 USA enters war against Germany. Women are given the right to vote in New York. The first Congresswoman is seated in the House of Representatives.
1919 Harry S. Truman is discharged as a major; begins a men's clothing store with an army buddy; marries his childhood sweetheart, Bess Wallace. 1919 The 18th Amendment prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcohol is ratified. Navy seaplane makes the first air crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, taking 18 days.
1920 Haberdashery fails due to the troubled economy; it took Harry Truman 15 years to pay off his business debts. 1920 The 19th Amendment is passed giving women the right to vote in national elections.
1922 Serves as a Jackson County judge for one 2-year term; lost his bid for re-election. 1922 The Lincoln Memorial is dedicated in Washington D.C.. Alexander Graham Bell dies in Nova Scotia
1924 Daughter Mary Margaret is born to the Trumans. 1924 The U.S.S.R. adopts its constitution giving the Communist Party complete control of the government. Lenin dies.
1926 Serves as presiding judge supervising county road construction until 1934. 1926 Gertrude Ederle, a 19 year old American, becomes the first woman to swim across the English Channel in 14 hours, 13 minutes.
1934 Harry Truman is elected to the U.S. Senate; in 1940 while Senator, Truman heads a committee to investigate wartime expenses; committee saves the federal government millions of dollars. 1934 Criminal careers of Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson come to an end.
1944 Harry S. Truman is elected Vice President of the United States. 1944 FDR is re-elected for a 4th term as President - a first in history. World War II continues.
1945 Harry S. Truman becomes the 33rd President upon the death of FDR. World War II is still being fought. 1945 Truman orders the use of the atomic bomb against Japan. Germany surrenders at Reims, Germany. Japan surrenders at Tokyo Bay, ending WWII.
1946 President Truman ends steel strike by using National Guard Troops. The United Nations is established. 1946 A radar beam from a U.S. Army lab is bounced off the moon, returning to earth in 2.4 seconds. The Philippine Islands is given full independence from the U.S.
1948 Philippines gives the U.S. 99-year leases on several military and naval bases. U.S. sends aid to Greece and Turkey. Program announced to check on the loyalty of U.S. government workers. Marshall Plan is proposed to assist European economic recovery. U.S. sends more than 18,000,000 tons of food to the starving throughout the world. Truman asks Congress to pass civil rights legislation and to study job discrimination. The White House is gutted and renovated. The first family lives in Blair House during renovation. Truman adds a balcony to the White House. 1948 Margaret Truman debuts as a singer with the Detroit Symphony. Jackie Robinson becomes the first black man to sign with a major league baseball team. Orville Wright dies in Ohio. The largest telescope in the world is dedicated at Mount Palomar Observatory in California. The Supreme Court rules that Oklahoma must provide equal educational facilities for the study of law to black and white students.
1949 President Truman signs a bill raising the annual presidential and vice presidential salaries. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is signed by 12 nations. 1949 The 17-month "Wilhelmstrasse" trial ends with the conviction of 19 of 21 Nazi officials for cruel acts during WWII. The minimum wage is raised from $.40 to $.75 per hour.
1951 Truman fires General MacArthur for insubordination. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are sentenced to death in Federal Court for conspiring to steal atomic secrets.
1952 CIA is established. Truman announces that the Soviet Union has developed and tested the atomic bomb. Truman signs a bill to provide economic assistance to the Navajo and Hopi Indians. Truman seizes the steel mills. He signs a veteran's bill to provide educational and other benefits for Korean War veterans. Truman announces he will not run for a third term and begins plans for a Korean peace parley. 1952 The 22nd Amendment prohibiting any President from holding office more than two terms. U.S. Supreme Court upholds a New York state law banning public school teachers who are members of subversive organizations. Floods in Kansas and Missouri kill 41 and leave 200,000 homeless. Dwight David Eisenhower is elected President of the U.S.
1953 The Trumans return to Independence. President Truman writes and gives lectures. 1953 President Eisenhower becomes President. Conflict in Korea ends.
1955 Mr. Truman's book Memoirs is published. 1955 Scientist Albert Einstein, 76, dies
1956 Margaret marries Clifton Daniels. 1956 President Eisenhower wins re-election by a huge majority
1957 Harry S. Truman Library is dedicated. Mr. Truman works on "Mr. Citizen" in his retirement at the Library. 1957 The first atomic power plant in the U.S. begins to produce electric power.
1960 Truman published his book Mr. Citizen which told about his years as a former president. 1960 John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson are nominated for President and Vice President at the Democratic convention in Los Angeles.
1965 Truman High School, of Independence, Missouri, is dedicated to both President and Mrs. Truman. The class selected Patriots as its team name and red, white and blue as the school colors. Mr. Truman attends first graduation ceremonies. 1965 Doug Allen and Gary Krohm, part of the team that helped put this program together, were in that first graduating class of Truman High, and were fortunate to meet and shake hands with Mr. Truman at the graduation ceremony.
1972 Mr. Truman dies and is buried in the courtyard of the Truman Library following a military and Masonic funeral. 1972 Four men arrested in the break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate building complex.