A Feast for Bess Truman

First Lady Bess Truman with a Delegation of Girl Scouts

Born Elizabeth Virginia Wallace February 13, 1885, in Independence, Missouri, Bess Truman passed from her mortal coil 35 years ago today. She served as First Lady of the United States from 1945 to 1953.

The Truman Library website tells us:

When Mr. Truman became President on April 12, 1945, after serving only eighty-two days as Vice President, Mrs. Truman became the country’s First Lady. She was considered one of the hardest-working of all the White House hostesses. She reinstituted the formal White House social season, which had been interrupted by the war, and personally directed the detailed planning of all social events from formal state receptions to teas and musicales. She was interested in the history of the White House and insisted on observing the protocol and precedents established by her predecessors. When asked about her favorite period of White House history, she replied that it was during the Monroe Administration. Perhaps she was taken with this period because she identified with the quiet and charming Elizabeth Monroe.

As First Lady she attended numerous teas and luncheons given in her honor, sometimes having two or three engagements a day. While she abolished Mrs. Roosevelt’s custom of holding press conferences, she was meticulous in answering the large volume of mail she received as the wife of the President. Many have described her as a “down-to-earth” First Lady who rode to her old beauty shop in her chauffeured limousine and continued to pay only $3.00 for her weekly manicure, shampoo and set because she “saw no reason to change.”

In honor of Bess Truman, we give you a recipe for one of her favorite desserts, Ozark Pudding.

Learn more about Bess Truman:
Biographical Sketch of Mrs. Harry S. Truman
Elizabeth Virginia Wallace Truman
First Lady Biography: Bess Truman
Bess Truman: The Family Secret


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