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Bess W. Truman

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“I canʼt tell you how much I appreciate the lovely gift . . . .

Elizabeth Virginia ("Bess") Wallace Truman, 1885–1982.  First Lady of the United States, 1945–1953.  Near-mint condition Autograph Letter Signed, Most Sincerely, / Bess Truman, two pages, 6" x 9¼", on stationery of The White House, Washington, [D.C.], no date [September 17, 1949].  With original autograph mailing envelope.

The First Lady thanks a friend in Kansas City, Anna E. Joyce, for a "lovely gift."  She writes, in full:  “You are very kind to send me one of your ʻtravel  treasuresʼ– but I assure you it will still be treasured.  /  I canʼt tell you how greatly I appreciate the lovely gift nor how much I appreciate your generous thought of me.  /  It was an unexpected pleasure to find you at Madelineʼs.  I do hope you enjoyed your brief stay in Washington."

Mrs. Joyce was the widow of Joseph Grover Joyce (1884–1948), a Kansas City lawyer and funeral home owner who had been a longtime Democratic Party leader in Kansas City's First Ward.  Mr. Joyce died on November 1, 1948, the day before Harry S. Truman stunned political pundits with his upset victory in the 1948 presidential election.

This is an exceptionally beautiful example of Bess Trumanʼs holograph.  She has written and signed the letter and addressed the accompanying envelope in jet black fountain pen. 

Consistently with her practice, Bess did not date this letter.  She often noted the day, but not the date, but on this letter she omitted even that.  The envelope is, however, postmarked at Washington, D.C., on September 17, 1949.  The letter has one horizontal mailing fold, which does not affect the signature.  Both the letter and the envelope are in very fine condition.



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