This was dictated before the world fell in on me

The main body of this letter was dictated by then-Vice President of the United States Harry Truman on the morning of April 12th, 1945. In it, he tells sister-in-law May Wallace of his ever-increasing workload after just three months in a role for which he didn’t actually campaign. Just hours after the letter was dictated, President Roosevelt passed away, and when a shocked Harry Truman eventually returned to sign the letter – at which point he also hand-wrote the postscript – he was President of the United States.

Transcript follows.



April 12, 1945

Mrs. George P. Wallace
605 West Van Horn Road
Independence, Missouri

Dear May:

Certainly did appreciate your letter of the Ninth and so did the whole family.

I am sending young Perryman the picture which you suggested.

I imagine that Spott is getting fatter and fatter. I have gained nine pounds myself. What do you think of that? So Spot and I will be in the same class.

Glad you liked the Buffalo speech.

The situation here gets no better fast. It looks as if I have more to do than ever and less time to do it, but some way we get it done. If I don’t get this letter dictated to you, I will never get it written.

Tell George and Frank and Natalie hello. Bess and Margaret and Mrs. Wallace all want to be remembered. They are all in good health and spirits.

Sincerely yours,

(Signed, ‘Harry’)

Harry S. Truman

This was dictated before the world fell in on me. But I’ve talked to you since and you know what a blow it was. But – I must meet it.