Elizabeth Virginia Wallace Truman

Elizabeth Virginia Wallace Truman

Born: February 13, 1885 at Independence, Missouri
Died: October 18, 1982 (aged 97) at Independence, Missouri
Spouse: Harry Truman (m. 1919 – 1972)
Children: Margaret Truman

Offices held:
Second Lady of the United States (1945 – 1945)
First Lady of the United States (1945 – 1953)
Political Party: Democratic

Facts about Elizabeth Virginia Wallace Truman

She served as her husband’s secretary and was known for often voicing her opinions. In the White House, its lack of privacy was distasteful to her.

Though she conscientiously fulfilled the social obligations of her position, she did only what was necessary. Bess Truman remains the longest-lived First Lady in United States history.

Elizabeth Virginia Wallace Truman Childhood

The oldest child of David Willock Wallace and Madge Gates Wallace, she was christened Elizabeth Virginia, but throughout her life was called Bess. Her father held several public offices, including County Treasurer, and was Deputy Surveyor in the Kansas City office of the United States Bureau of Customs at the time of his death in 1903.

After her father died, Bess, her mother and three brothers moved into the house of her maternal grandfather, George Porterfield Gates, a co-founder of the successful Independence flour mill, the Waggoner-Gates Milling Company. The Gates’ house, located at 219 North Delaware Street, continued to be Bess Wallace’s home for the remainder of her life.

An only daughter, Bess Wallace acquired a reputation as a tomboy. “”The first girl I ever knew who could whistle through her teeth and bat a ball as far as any boy in the neighborhood,”” said a classmate.

She graduated from Independence High School in 1901 in the same class as Harry S. Truman and later studied language and literature at Barstow, a girl’s finishing school in Kansas City, Missouri. After completing school Bessie Wallace, as she was often referred to in the social columns of the Independence paper, stayed at home with her widowed mother and helped run the household.

Where is Elizabeth Virginia Wallace Truman buried?

She was buried beside her husband in the courtyard of the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri.

How did Elizabeth Virginia Wallace Truman die?

She died October 18, 1982, from congestive heart failure at the age of 97.