The Who2 Blog

President Harry Truman Was ‘Kind of a Sissy’

A photo of Harry Truman as a young boy, with round glasses and bow tie

Was President Harry Truman a “sissy”?  Yes he was, says… Harry Truman.

One day in the auditorium of the Truman Library, a small boy ‘whose ears had grown up but not his face’ asked Truman, ‘Mr. President, was you popular when you was a boy?’

‘Why, no,’ Truman replied. ‘I was never popular. The popular boys were the ones who were good at games and had big, tight fists. I was never like that. Without my glasses I was blind as a bat, and to tell the truth, I was kind of a sissy.  If there was any danger of getting into a fight, I always ran. I guess that’s why I am here today.’

Heh! Good old President Truman. The quote comes from historian William Lee Miller in his new book Two Americans: Truman, Eisenhower and a Dangerous World. Miller says the anecdote came originally from Plain Speaking, Merle Miller‘s 1974 oral biography of Truman.

Plain speaking, indeed.

(Photo: Harry Truman with glasses, at age 13, in 1897. From the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. ID: 62-412)


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