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Setting the Stage

In 1953, after a long career in public service culminating in eight years in the White House, Harry S Truman (1884-1972) retired to his beloved hometown of Independence, Missouri. This town and its citizens had a tremendous impact on Truman's character. Truman's parents, schoolteachers, and relatives taught and held him to a high standard of morals and values from early childhood onward. These principles guided him personally as well as in his career as a farmer, judge, senator, and eventually President of the United States (1945-53).

Citizen Truman spent his retirement years continuing to contribute to his town, his country, and the world. He published his memoirs and raised funds to construct his presidential library and museum. On December 26, 1972, the former President died. His wife, Bess, continued to live in their home until she passed away on October 18, 1982. In her will, she left the home and most of its possessions to the people of the United States. In May of the following year, the Federal Government designated the home and the grounds around it the Harry S Truman National Historic Site. Today, the National Park Service preserves the site for present and future generations and interprets the life and hometown community of this Missouri President.



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