The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri
Local History

Harry Truman Visits Springfield in 1952

 Click to enlarge.Harry Truman Day is observed May 7 this year.  An article in "Bias" magazine describes Harry Truman's visit to Springfield in 1952 for the 35th Division reunion at the Shrine Mosque.  Truman served in the 35th Division during World War I.

"Bias" magazine, June 10, 1952

"When President Truman came to town for the 35th Division reunion Friday afternoon, work along the route he followed from the airport to the Colonial Hotel pretty generally stopped, especially in the  downtown area.  One result was the interesting picture on our cover [left] - a portion of the south side of the Woodruff Building, which overlooks St. Louis Street and the main entrance to the hotel.  Almost every window in the picture frames a small knot of spectators, watching the excitement of the president's arrival, the roaring, sirening motorcycle escort, the less fortunate watchers packed behind ropes on the street below, and the president himself, perched on the top of the back seat of an open car, flashing his famous grin.

 Click to enlarge."Evening-gowned women and Tuxedoed men stood in line at the stage door of the Shrine Mosque Friday night, getting a thorough "screening" by the Secret Service before they were permitted to enter the building for President Truman's reception.
The guests were there by invitation only- about 300 of them- and each one held his engraved invitation.  But the invitation wasn't enough.  On the stage door steps stood two Secret Service men, polite but very, very firm, each with a typed list of the guests.  Beside them stood F.W. McClerkin, Heer's manager, who knows many Springfieldians.  His duty was to introduce each guest to the Secret Service men, so they could check the names against the list.

"The line moved slowly through the humid evening.  On the other side of the steps, a corps of disgruntled photographers watched to take pictures at the reception but they didn't get the job done.  Nobody -repeat nobody- got in without an invitation and the photographers had been omitted on the list.  The photographers, however, weren't the only ones omitted.  There are still murmurings among some of the city's more prominent Democrats who were not invited to the reception.  For example, the brothers Collinson-Circuit Judge William and Attorney Wayne (the latter a close friend of Attorney General W. E. Taylor, the president's choice for U.S. Senator in the coming primary)- were not on the list, but Pros. Atty. Milton Kirby, a Republican, got two invitations."

Many state offices and agencies are closed on Truman Day but the library will be open.  View an index of newspaper articles about Harry Truman.  There are several books to check out to round out your Truman Day celebration.

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