Margaret Truman

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Margaret Truman
MargaretTruman.jpg
Portrait by Greta Kempton
Born Mary Margaret Truman
(1924-02-17)February 17, 1924
Independence, Missouri
Died January 29, 2008(2008-01-29) (aged 83)
Chicago, Illinois
Occupation Writer
Historian
Alma mater George Washington University
Genre Mystery fiction
Biography
Autobiography
Spouse Clifton Daniel
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 U.S. 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."[1]

Biography[edit]

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.[2] In 1942, she matriculated at George Washington University, where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi[3] and earned a B.A. in History in 1946.[2] In June 1944, she christened the battleship USS Missouri at Brooklyn Navy Yard (and spoke again in 1986 at the ship's recommissioning).

Margaret Truman

On April 21, 1956, Truman married New York Times reporter (and later editor) Clifton Daniel in Independence; he died in 2000. They had four sons:

  • Clifton Truman Daniel (born 1957), Director of Public Relations for Harry S Truman College.[4][5]
  • William Wallace Daniel (May 19, 1959 – September 4, 2000), a psychiatric social worker and researcher at Columbia University.[6]
  • 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.[7] Her ashes, and those of her husband, were interred in Independence, in her parents' burial plot on the grounds of the Truman Library.[8]

Career[edit]

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!"[9] A 1951 Time Magazine cover[10] 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.[11][12] She became part of the team of NBC Radio's Weekday show that premiered in 1955, shortly after its Monitor program made its debut.[13] Paired with Mike Wallace, she presented news and interviews aimed at a female listening audience.[12][14]

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[15]

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). A series of murder mysteries set in and around Washington, D.C. published under her name were ghostwritten, first by William Harrington and then by Donald Bain.[16]

Truman published regularly into her eighties. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum and the Board of Governors of the Roosevelt Institute.

Bibliography[edit]

Fiction[edit]

Book Year Notes
Murder in the White House
(Filmed as Murder at 1600 starring Wesley Snipes)
1980 ISBN 0-87795-245-0
Murder on Capitol Hill 1981 ISBN 0-87795-312-0
Murder in the Supreme Court 1982 ISBN 0-87795-384-8
Murder in the Smithsonian 1983 ISBN 0-87795-475-5
Murder on Embassy Row 1984 ISBN 0-87795-594-8
Murder at the FBI 1985 ISBN 0-87795-680-4
Murder in Georgetown 1986 ISBN 0-87795-797-5
Murder in the CIA 1987 ISBN 0-394-55795-6
Murder at the Kennedy Center 1989 ISBN 0-394-57602-0
Murder at the National Cathedral 1990 ISBN 0-394-57603-9
Murder at the Pentagon 1992 ISBN 0-394-57604-7
Murder on the Potomac 1994 ISBN 0-679-43309-0
Murder at the National Gallery 1996 ISBN 0-679-43530-1
Murder in the House 1997 ISBN 0-679-43528-X
Murder at the Watergate 1998 ISBN 0-679-43535-2
Murder at the Library of Congress 1999 ISBN 0-375-50068-5
Murder in Foggy Bottom 2000 ISBN 0-375-50069-3
Murder in Havana 2001 ISBN 0-375-50070-7
Murder at Ford's Theatre 2002 ISBN 0-345-44489-2
Murder at Union Station 2004 ISBN 0-345-44490-6
Murder at the Washington Tribune 2005 ISBN 0-345-47819-3
Murder at the Opera 2006 ISBN 0-345-47821-5
Murder on K Street 2007 ISBN 0-345-49886-0
Murder inside the Beltway 2008 ISBN 0-345-49888-7
Monument to Murder 2011 ISBN 978-0-7653-2609-6

Non-fiction[edit]

Book Year Notes
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

References[edit]

  1. ^ Times online, February 2, 2008
  2. ^ a b "Margaret Truman Daniel bio". Truman Presidential Library. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Notable Pi Phis". 
  4. ^ "Truman celebrates heritage, history with grandson of US president". Kirksville Daily Express. September 15, 2011. Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  5. ^ Daniel, Clifton Truman (2009). "Adventures with Grandpa Truman". Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Hit by Cab, a Grandson of Harry Truman dies". The New York Times. September 6, 2000. Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  7. ^ Goldstein, Steve (January 31, 2008). "First Daughter". Obit-mag. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  8. ^ Meyer, Gene, "The ashes of Margaret Truman Daniel are put to rest in her roots", Kansas City Star, February 23, 2008. Retrieved March 13, 2008.
  9. ^ "Truman's Letter to Paul Hume". Truman Library, Independence Mo. December 6, 1950. Retrieved June 2, 2011.  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.)
  10. ^ Time, February 26, 1951.
  11. ^ Thomas, Bob (November 2, 1951). "Tallulah Bankhead Praises Margaret Truman's Talents". Reading Eagle. Retrieved March 17, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b House, Allan (11 November 1955). "Margaret Truman Gets a Kick Out of Radio-TV". The Fayetteville Observer. Retrieved March 17, 2012. 
  13. ^ "'Monitor' to debut on KDKA Sunday". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 10, 1955. Retrieved March 17, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Radio:Woman's Home Companion". Time. November 28, 1955. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  15. ^ "The Giselle MacKenzie Show". TV.com. Retrieved May 15, 2009. 
  16. ^ Breen, Jon, The Ghost of Miss Truman, Weekly Standard, November 18, 2002, retrieved January 29, 2008. Adrian, Jack, Obituary: William Harrington, The Independent, London, November 21, 2000, retrieved January 31, 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"[citation needed] credited by at least one verifiable source with ghostwriting all the books published by the child of another US president, Elliott Roosevelt.

External links[edit]