Off to France


Harry Truman was one of fourteen officers selected for early movement to France with the advance overseas detail of the 35th Division.  While waiting in Camp Mills, New York, for his March 30,th departure on the USS George Washington, he toured New York City and did errands, which included the purchase of extra pairs of glasses.  He wrote to his fiancée to report on his experience:

Dear Bess,
  “. . . .  I was in on strictly business today. Bought two pairs of glasses which makes me six pairs so I don't suppose I'll run out.
I accidently ran into an honest optician . . . and he sent me to the best or one of the best oculists in the city. He gave me a complete and thorough examination, a prescription I can use in Paris or Vienna and lots of good conversation all for the whole sum of $5.00 . . .    How is that for the crookedest town in the universe? Then the optician who also gave me lots of good advice only charged me $17.50 less 10% for two complete pairs of regulation aluminum frames and glasses, throwing in an extra lens that he happened to chip on the edge in the grinding. . . .   Evidently these men are patriotic even if one of them is named Haustettee. That's the optician's name and he says it loses him business although his son has made some wonderful inventions in observing instruments for the U. S. Navy since we went to war.”

Letter Harry Truman to Bess Wallace, March 25, 1918

Exhibition Dates

Heroes or Corpses: Captain Truman in World War I is on display from March 10 through December 31, 2018.