October 08, 2003

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Bess Truman.

Bess's father committed suicide when she was 18 years old. She never spoke about it and would avoid mentioning her father for the rest of her life. The Trumans' daughter Margaret learned about the suicide by accident and when she asked her father about it, Harry told her to never mention it to Bess.

The loss of her father is probably the main reason Bess shirked away from the press and publicity. Margaret believed her mother was afraid the suicide would make its way into the papers; that Harry's political enemies would use the information to sling mud.

The press was quite frustrated by their First Lady. Her predecessor, Eleanor Roosevelt, had conducted her own press conferences for the women reporters, wrote a newspaper column, gave speeches, and was highly visible as well as accessible. Bess was almost a nonentity. She was even able to shop in Washington's department stores unnoticed. She craved anonymity and was nearly successful in achieving it.

Posted by Jennifer at October 8, 2003 05:07 AM