Portrait by Greta Kempton
February 17, 1924|
|Died||January 29, 2008
|Alma mater||George Washington University|
|Children||Clifton, William, Harrison, Thomas|
Mary Margaret Truman Daniel (February 17, 1924 – January 29, 2008), also known as Margaret Truman or Margaret Daniel, was an American singer who later became the successful author of a series of murder mysteries and a number of works on US First Ladies and First Families, including a biography of her father, President Harry S. Truman. The only child of Harry Truman and First Lady Bess Truman, she was "a witty, hard-working Midwestern girl with singing talent who was neither particularly pretty nor terribly plain."
Born in Independence, Missouri, she was christened Mary Margaret Truman (for her aunt Mary Jane Truman and maternal grandmother Margaret Gates Wallace) but was called Margaret from early childhood.
She attended school in Independence until her father's 1934 election to the U.S. Senate, after which her education was split between schools in Washington, D.C. and Independence. In 1942, she matriculated at George Washington University, where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi and earned a B.A. in History in 1946. In June 1944, she christened the battleship USS Missouri at Brooklyn Navy Yard (and spoke again in 1986 at the ship's recommissioning).
- Clifton Truman Daniel (born 1957), Director of Public Relations for Harry S Truman College.
- William Wallace Daniel (May 19, 1959–Sept. 4, 2000), a psychiatric social worker and researcher at Columbia University.
- Harrison Gates Daniel (born 1963)
- Thomas Washington Daniel (born 1966)
In later life, Truman lived in her Park Avenue home. She died on January 29, 2008, in Chicago (to which she was relocating to be nearer her son Clifton). She was said to have been suffering from "a simple infection" and had been breathing with the assistance of a respirator. Her ashes, and those of her husband, were interred in Independence, in her parents' burial plot on the grounds of the Truman Library.
After operatic vocal training, Truman's singing career began with a debut radio recital in March 1947. Reviewers were not always kind, but her father was fiercely protective: when in 1950 Washington Post music critic Paul Hume wrote that Truman was “extremely attractive on the stage... [but] cannot sing very well. She is flat a good deal of the time. And still cannot sing with anything approaching professional finish,” President Truman wrote to Hume, "Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!" A 1951 Time Magazine cover featured Truman with a single musical note floating by her head. She performed on stage, radio, and television until the mid-1950s.
Truman also performed on the NBC Radio program The Big Show. There she met writer Goodman Ace, who gave her advice and pointers; Ace became a lifelong friend, advising Truman even after The Big Show. She became part of the team of NBC Radio's Weekday show that premiered in 1955, shortly after its Monitor program made its debut. Paired with Mike Wallace, she presented news and interviews aimed at a female listening audience.
She appeared several times as a panelist (and once as a mystery guest) on the game show What's My Line? and guest-starred more than once on NBC's The Martha Raye Show. In 1957, she sang and played piano on The Gisele MacKenzie Show
Truman's full-length biography of her father, published shortly before his death, was critically acclaimed. She also wrote a personal biography of her mother, histories of the White House and its inhabitants (including first ladies and pets), and a series of murder mysteries set in and around Washington, D.C. (though there have been allegations - which have been denied - that these mysteries were ghostwritten, perhaps by Donald Bain or William Harrington).
|Souvenir, Margaret Truman's Own Story||1956||OCLC 629282|
|White House Pets||1969||OCLC 70279|
|Harry S. Truman||1973||ISBN 0-688-00005-3|
|Women of Courage||1976||ISBN 0-688-03038-6|
|Letters From Father: The Truman Family's Personal Correspondence||1981||ISBN 0-87795-313-9|
|Bess W. Truman||1986||ISBN 0-02-529470-9|
|Where The Buck Stops: The Personal and Private Writings of Harry S. Truman||1989||ISBN 0-446-51494-2|
|First Ladies||1995||ISBN 0-679-43439-9|
|The President's House: 1800 to the Present||2004||ISBN 0-345-47248-9|
|The Life Of A White House Girl||2003|
- Times online, February 2, 2008
- "Margaret Truman Daniel bio". Truman Presidential Library. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
- "Notable Pi Phis".
- "Truman celebrates heritage, history with grandson of US president". Kirksville Daily Express. 2011-09-15. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- Daniel, Clifton Truman (2009). "Adventures with Grandpa Truman". Retrieved 2013-04-20.
- "Hit by Cab, a Grandson of Harry Truman dies". The New York Times. 2000-09-06. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- Goldstein, Steve (January 31, 2008). "First Daughter". Obit-mag. Retrieved April 3, 2010.
- Meyer, Gene, "The ashes of Margaret Truman Daniel are put to rest in her roots", Kansas City Star, 2008-02-23. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- "Truman's Letter to Paul Hume". Truman Library, Independence Mo. Retrieved 2011-06-02. Unknown parameter
|date of letter=ignored (help) Years later Margaret Truman recalled, “I thought it was funny. Sold tickets.” (Staff writer, Truman's only child dies at 83, MSNBC, January 29, 2008, retrieved January 29, 2008.)
- Time, February 26, 1951.
- Thomas, Bob (2 November 1951). "Tallulah Bankhead Praises Margaret Truman's Talents". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- House, Allan (11 November 1955). "Margaret Truman Gets a Kick Out of Radio-TV". The Fayetteville Observer. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- "'Monitor' to debut on KDKA Sunday". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 10 June 1955. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- "Radio:Woman's Home Companion". Time. 28 November 1955. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "The Giselle MacKenzie Show". TV.com. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
- Breen, Jon, The Ghost of Miss Truman, Weekly Standard, November 18, 2002, retrieved January 29, 2008. Adrian, Jack, Obituary: William Harrington, The Independent, London, 21 November 2000, retrieved 31 January 2008. After Harrington's apparent suicide, a self-written obituary was found in which he referred to Margaret Truman and others as his "clients". Harrington's literary agent (who was also Truman's agent) denied any collaboration with Truman, while somewhat obliquely acknowledging Harrington had "worked on" books credited to another author. Harrington has been "squarely" credited by at least one verifiable source with ghostwriting all the books published by the child of another US president, Elliott Roosevelt.
- Margaret Truman at Find a Grave
- Works by or about Margaret Truman in libraries (WorldCat catalog)