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Harry S. Truman

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Harry S. Truman, 1884-1972.  33rd President of the United States.  Beautiful black fountain pen signature, Harry S. Truman, on a 6⅛ x 5⅞ page to which the quintessential image of a smiling Truman, displaying the Chicago Daily Tribunes infamous headline, DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN, has been skillfully added.

In 1948, virtually no one—except Truman himself—expected Truman to be elected. Three years after he became President upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman had an approval rating of only 36%.  To run against him, the Republicans had nominated New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey, who had made a strong showing against Roosevelt in the 1944 election, and who by 1948 had a well-financed campaign.  The Democrats were split into three factions, resulting in two third-party candidates to pull votes from Truman.

On November 2, the night of the election, the Chicago Tribune, a newspaper that Truman detested, jumped the gun. Its early edition headline boldly declared, emphatically, DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN. Truman clearly savored the moment when his train stopped in St. Louis' Union Station on November 4 and he was handed a copy of the paper.  Flashing a big smile, Truman held up the paper for the crowd.  “That,” he said, “is one for the books!" 

Truman's gutsy whistle stop campaign in the face of virtually certain defeat earned him the nickname “Give 'em Hell Harry,” and the upset that he pulled won him a permanent place in the annals of American politics.

It appears that someone created this autograph piece from one of the signed, unused pages from Trumans book Mr. Citizen, several of which have been on the market over the past few years, by removing the typeset portion above the signature and expertly adding the image below the signature. Truman had signed the pages, which were then hand numbered after the word NUMBER printed below his signature and bound into the books.  The unused ones later found their way to the autograph market.  The word NUMBER appears almost imperceptibly in the dark area of the photograph on this piece, a clear link to the Mr. Citizen pages.  Truman would not, of course, have known that this would happen when he signed this piece.

This piece is custom matted in shamrock green suede with inlaid gilt fillets and an engraved plate explaining the significance of the event.  It is framed in a beaded gilt wood frame.

A History In Ink framed original. 



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