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Harry S. Truman

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Letter signed with Trumanʼs classic signature in a stunning framed display

Harry S. Truman, 18841972.  33rd President of the United States, 19451953.  Framed Typed Letter Signed, Harry S. Truman, [one page, 7¼" x 10½", on personal stationery, Independence, Missouri, October 27, 1959].

Truman writes to William Kittrell of Dallas, a close friend Texans Sam Rayburn, the venerable Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and United States Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson, commenting on a party that Truman attended in honor of Adolfo Lopez Mateos, the President of Mexico.  He writes, in full:  “That Texas meeting was something to write home about and thanks to you, I hope it worked out as it should have.  /  I have never had a better time in my life."

Truman was among some 400 guests, many of Latin American descent.  The outdoor party was held on the banks of the Pedernales River at the LBJ Ranch near Johnson City, Texas.  Truman, Rayburn, and others spoke of neighborliness toward and friendship for Mexico, and Lopez Mateos called his trip through the United States and Canada "a mission of understanding and friendship."

A series of helicopters landing one after another ferried guests to the ranch from Austin as an orchestra in colorful charro costume played Mexican music along the river.  The crowd was abuzz with excitement to learn that Truman, whose helicopter was the last to arrive, would attend.

William Henderson Kittrell (1894–1966) had long been active in Texas Democratic party politics and knew five American Presidents.  He founded the Texas Press Clipping Bureau in Dallas in the mid-1920s and cultivated extensive political contacts that made him influential in the stateʼs Democratic party.  He served as secretary of the Texas delegations to the 1928 and 1932 Democratic national conventions, the latter of which nominated Franklin D. Roosevelt, and later managed Rooseveltʼs reelection campaign in the Dallas area in 1940.  In 1930, with help from the then 21-year-old Johnson in the counties in the Texas Hill Country, Kitrell successfully managed the campaign of the Democratic candidate for Texasʼs lieutenant governor.  During World War II, Roosevelt appointed Kittrell to the North African Economic Board, which managed Allied economic intervention in French North Africa and was responsible for distribution of Lend-Lease supplies.  Kittrell supported Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson against Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, and under President Kennedy he served as a consultant to the Office of Civil Defense Mobilization.

Kittrell evidently made notes on the back of this letter, and some of the handwriting shows through in the upper portion of the stationery.  Consequently, we have framed the letter with only the body showing for display.  The entire letter is intact behind the matting, and we can provide a scan of it upon request.  It is in good condition overall.  The portion that appears in the display, including Trumanʼs signature, is fine.

Truman has signed with his classic black fountain pen signature.  The letter is archivally framed.  It is double matted in platinum suede with an inlaid black wood fillet and a black-and-silver engraved identification plate and framed in a black wood frame. It is a stunning display piece.

A History In Ink framed original.

13¾" x 15¾"

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