tv The Presidency President Truman White House Restoration CSPAN April 22, 2018 8:00pm-9:07pm EDT
i think movement has come along way in 50 years. i think society, despite the bad things still going on, has come a long way. we just have to keep pushing it forward. host: from our studio in new york, debora spar, former president of barnhart syndicated columnist mona charen and her book, "sex matters." both of you, thank you very much. >> next on the presidency, clifton truman daniel, president harry truman eldest grandson returns to the white house area to deliver a talk about white resident german found it necessary -- president truman found it necessary to move his family out of the white house while it was restored.
the white house restoration association hosted this hour-long event. feared evening, everyone -- everyone. good evening, class. [laughter] i'm the president of the white house historical association and it is my pleasure to welcome you on behalf of my colleagues and our board of directors represented here tonight by secretary john feare.-- john dalton thank you for being here. we also want to welcome our friends from c-span, who are broadcasting tonight's event. we have a wonderful friendship with them. thank you to those watching biases and -- by c-span.
i would also like to welcome mary sessions and her two sisters visiting. i recognize her because she is from the great state of alabama come my home state and her sister is also from alabama. in addition to our distinguished eager, we're joined by several descendents of presidents. we have susan eisenhower, , a descendentey of both presidents mckinley and cleveland. not sure how that ties together. [laughter] >> i'm sure you can explain it for everyone. we have duncan, who is not a grandson were a relative of an american president, he is the great grand president -- great-grandson of winston
churchill. thank you all for being here. [applause] know, the of you white house historical association was founded in 1961 by first lady jacqueline kennedy, who at the very young age of 32 years old as first lady of the united states, had the foresight and wisdom to know that what she and the president needed then, president and first ladies would need over the course of time. that would be to have a private partner. anpartisan, nonprofit, private-public partnership with the white house that we've had since 1961. we provide nongovernment funding for the preservation and restoration of the beautiful museum quality staterooms of the white house. we acquire art and furnishings for the permanent white house collection.
it was also very important for mrs. kennedy that we educate the public about the history of the white house. we have undertaken a very robust education program here that teaches and tells the story of white house history going back dayundred 26 years to the when george washington selected the site of the white house just across the street from where we are tonight. a key part of our education mission would be our publications. this year we will publish seven books related to white house history. we have a quarterly magazine. it is terrific, these are all available to the public and can be purchased online or in our shop here. i will say a little more about that at the end of my remarks. this particular program is sponsored i the david in rubenstein center for white
house history. they undertake the robust education program we have. tonight's speaker is clifton truman daniel, the oldest grandson of president truman and truman, and-- bess the son of margaret truman. his farmer was the former managing editor of "the new york times." clifton had his own career in journalism. in addition, he is the honorary chairman of the board of the truman library institute. he is the board secretary of the harry s truman scholarship foundation. "growing upthor of a book grandfather" and
of his grandfather's letters. i have the privilege of recording a podcast with clifton , and in that conversation, he shared wonderful stories and insights about the white house restoration, which was significant during the truman years. his relationship with his grandparents, wonderful stories, and if his talk tonight is half as interesting as when i talked with him, you are really in a treat. the real reason we involve clifton tonight, and you have to bear with me while i explain this, it is the white house christmas ornament. wasas 1981 and nancy reagan first lady of the united states. the idea was wrong to develop -- to develop asprung white house christmas ornament. mrs. reagan also decided we
would feature a president each year sequentially. so we don't have to decide which president we feature, it takes that part of the conversation away from it. and we have stopped along the way for five times to have commemorative observances for the bicentennial of the white house. for all intents and purposes, from a george washington in 1981 all the way up harry truman in 2018, the white house christmas ornament has told a story about a specific presidents. this year it is harry truman. launched last monday. i want to tell you about the three elements of the ornament that feature harry truman. i have one here you can see. we just revealed it. on the front is the truman
balcony. this was quite controversial in its day, when it was announced harry truman wanted to put a balcony midway between this colonnade on the south portico of the white house. but his persistence and insistence overcame objection and up the balcony went. fors a wonderful feature first families today, to be able to have some family space, to go out on the portico, to look out over the vista and have family time just as we would on patios or decks and enjoy quiet space in washington. it is wonderful legacy of the building itself from the truman years. on the reverse of the ornament is the interior of the blue room of the white house. you will hear tonight about the major restoration that took place during the truman years. this depicts the blue room as it existed when president truman reconstructed the white house during the lengthy restoration.
above the ornament is a gold medallion, which is what we call the truman seal. before he passed in 1945, president roosevelt asked a young navy aide to look into changing what was the presidential seal. harry truman adopted one major change, and that was he took the eagles head, which had been turned to the left, toward the of war, he turned the head toward the all of branch of peace. he in single -- he encircled it .ith 48 stars the only changes since that time where the addition of two stars for alaska and hawaii under president eisenhower. otherwise, it has remained the
same. that is the ornament as it is depicted for 2018. we have these available for you in our shop tonight, i will make a public service announcement it will be open until 8:00 and we also give you a 10% discount. we have a special gift that you have to go and get, it is kind of like disneyland, you have to exit the gift shop before you leave. [laughter] >> we have a brass bookmark for you that has the truman seal on that iell as the legend just told you about the redesign of the seal. that is our gift for you tonight. thank you for being here as front of the association. some of you have been here many times before. i see general hayden, thank you for being here tonight and for your friendship and support, and so many of you who are familiar with this campus, decatur houses 200 years old this year.
although it is owned by the national trust for historic preservation, we are privileged to operate from here and teach and tell those stories of white house history across the country and world. with that, i will return to the main purpose of my remarks, to introduce our speaker, mr. clifton daniel. [applause] mr. daniel: thank you, stewart. thank you, ladies and gentlemen. stewart, thank you for apparently allowing me to do half as well on this lecture as i was planning to. [laughter] mr. daniel: that is very nice. coming, mr.r secretary, mrs. sessions, and i should say mrs. sessions' sisters. [laughter] my children and
grandchildren over there. sands for 10duncan minutes and already he is giving me a hard time. [laughter] mr. daniel: my grandfather was a classically trained and very adept pianist. he often said that had it not been for politics, he would've been happy being a poor house p and a player -- whore house piano player. [laughter] mr. daniel: and interest, he said it is pretty much the same job. [laughter] mr. daniel: when you are here he truman's grandson, you learn to ano whether you want to or not. i had a teacher named charles morris who was the soul of patients. patience. -- of he may still be, i might have buried him prematurely.
but i always used to pray he would be hit by a bus. [laughter] mr. daniel: i hated pml lessons -- piano lessons. my mother could sit at a piano and just play. she could cite read. -- sight read. i cannot, i cheated. piano that she first only the story of the leg of her piano punching through the floor of the white house. she followed that with other stories. grandpa called it a great white jail. sitting alone in it early in his presidency, he heard popping and clicking and wind signings who the crack the house and told
everybody who would listen that it was ghosts. he was there alone, my grandmother went back and forth to misery and he was alone. he said i can imagine old andy and teddy having an argument. peers are doing who was more useless to the country. [laughter] mr. daniel: but he got some work done and i think they knew at this point that this was a serious problem, not just a ghosts. mrs. roosevelt came over to see my grandparents as she was leaving, they were staying at warehouse temporarily. she came over and apologized for the condition of the rooms at the white house. the roosevelt had not spent any money on it during the war and depression. they felt they could not do that. they came over and she apologized to my grandparents.
she said, oh, you also have rats. [laughter] mr. daniel: i was talking to the that, i think it was ed told me here at the historical association, that my grandparents and the roosevelt's were not the only one who have rats. apparently andrew johnson fed them. the joke being that they kept him company during the impeachment process. [laughter] mr. daniel: mrs. roosevelt apparently told my grandparents she'd been having want with friends on the south portico and a big rat ran across an almost the ladies pretended not to see it. [laughter] mr. daniel: so they had rats. the house was falling apart. grandpa saw some of the things himself. list played for my grandfather and my grandfather
invited him back to the white house after the war and he gave a concert. it was at that point that the engineers came to my grandfather the chain holding the center chandelier was stretching. made threehad been or four weeks ago and it was a nice time to tell him. he said if it is followed, he would be in a real fix. those people had that chandelier hanging over their heads. they knew something had to be done, that the condition of the white house was worse than they expected. the reason i put this lecture together originally was because the truman library and independent has hundreds of the were taken of the white house restoration and we did an exhibit last year. i called the guys at the white house historical association looking for some background and history in it were great. we were wonderful. i imagined.
-- i imagined, we talked about the abuse that led to this. i didn't know the causes of the deterioration of that point. i remember reading about this in pound good book, the 400 cheese that was given to andrew jackson, everyone just came in atea on it for weeks -- and on it for weeks. grounded into the carpets. it smelled white cheese. this is a picture of a ball in an east room, looking rather bigger than it actually does. either that or people were much smaller during the civil war. [laughter] mr. daniel: apparently when they had big parties during the war, they had to shore up the floor from underneath with timbers to keep everybody from falling
through the white house into the swampy ground we built it on. i was looking at injuries that could of happened through the years. this is benjamin harrington. government -- i imagined the drilling that had to have happened over the years. -- thereson put in were electric lights put in but he refused to touch them for fear of being electrocuted. he have a service to it for him. very presidential. what i like about that is this turns out to be my wife's ancestor. i have another in my family. my wife is dissented from the harrison spirit presidents like anybody else, people don't take care of their homes. i know i don't always.
i will look at something and decide, i can't afford that now, i will leave it. until it hits -- it gets bigger and bigger. i begin to look at my grandparents' home. you will notice at the truman home in independence, missouri, rather than replace the linoleum, grandfather got some hammer -- some tax in the hammer and nail to back down. tacks and a hammers and nails it back down. this is a door, it looks dandy, but it is missing some blocks from other side of the door. the reason they are missing is because the wallpaper man, he told my grandmother, it is going to cost extra to get the paper behind the blocks in my grandmother said, to help with that, saw hell with
them off. [laughter] mr. daniel: when they had a knothole, they stuffed it with newspaper and put carpet over it so nobody would see it. i love this one. this is how my grandparents rewired the house for more electricity. [laughter] mr. daniel: they just stuck it through the wall. [laughter] mr. daniel: i was in the house before childproofing, i am surprised i am alive, frankly. [laughter] mr. daniel: this is my favorite. this like court, what is cord,eath -- this light you can barely see it going down below the light. there is no light switch downstairs for that and grandpa would go upstairs in the dark
every night and hit his shins trying to find the light cord. they called an electrician, they were going to wire it downstairs, it was too expensive. ,y grandpa got a piece of twine a tested and dangled it all the way down the stairs. to turn on the light, you just reached up and pulled. [laughter] mr. daniel: i have all of this wonderful disaster. i pictured every president removing the house for my uiningather -- president re the house for my grandfather. i called the historical society and i thought i was going to have a lot of fun with this. and they said no, you can blame it on all of the other presidents. they said you can blame it on to presidents,- two
teddy roosevelt and calvin coolidge. but before you can blame it on them, you have to blame it on the british. [laughter] duncan, you're not in the picture, it is fine. thank you all for that, you are the first audience that has left at monty python. everyone else says, why is that funny? i almost took it out. it wasn't mandate -- it was not monty python, it was sailors in 1814. by this time, the war of 1812 was over. they went to the white house, they ate for dinner dolly madison had prepared, they commented favorably on the madeira, and they stepped outside and threw in torches and burned the white house.
that is a scary and great peaking by tom freeman. forfire burns a really hot a time and then it rained. when you had afterward was a inll, cracked stone, it was bad shape, a lot of the stone was unusable and the brick inside was unusual -- was unusable. for to the british again, a different one. field marshal montgomery came to see my grandfather after the war, and you can see they are eating along just fine in that picture. montgomery asked my grandfather, when was this built? 1792,andpa said, once in and then again in 1814 after you burned it. [laughter] the field marshal was quick on his feet, he said, well, if london hasn't paid for by now, you should go burn
whitehall. [laughter] mr. daniel: we rebuilt it fast because it was the symbol of this country. they wanted it to go back up fast after that war. see is a painting, you can the original stone on the outside, you can still see two feet of stone and two feet of brick. 1814they rebuilt it in -1817, they did not use as much brick. i believe the brick was inferior. they were working fast so they had wooden side, which left the building not as strong as it had been in the beginning. so there is the blame the british part. you can also blame them for building it too fast. then along comes theodore roosevelt. president roosevelt -- families lived and worked in the mansion. president roosevelt had a lot of kids and their animals, apparently.
they needed more room. he added the west wing for the office of the president and he wanted a larger state dining room. is the old, this west end of the white house, this is the other staircase. that wall to the left where the chairs are is the wall to what was then the state dining room. president roosevelt wanted it eager so he not only knocked out the stairwell, he took out that loadbearing wall. [laughter] mr. daniel: he had his architect wanted towhy he make the state dining room bigger, so there was room for the antlers. [laughter] mr. daniel: that is very impressive. he took out that loadbearing a weird they rigged steel buttress system from the roof holding up the second floor. instead of the loadbearing wall, you have a loadbearing buttress holding up the second floor.
and along comes, and i apologize to members of the coolidge family, the reason i call them cement cal is because they have to repair the roof of the white house. since 20 years after roosevelt has done his renovation. they have to repair the roof at a cost of about half $1 million. but he used cement. you have a weird, i don't know what holding up the second floor, and then there is cement on top of it. so it is basically squashing the white house into the ground. my grandfather was not a huge fan of president coolidge. i kind of liked him just for being the straightforward, pennypinching vermonter that he was. grandpa did not like that aspect of him. he once told a story about president coolidge's cigar
bands, and he went to the first lady and asked if he would give him one, and she said don't ask him. him the band gave off a cigar, he was not going to give him the cigar itself. [laughter] mr. daniel: the roof restoration created what is now the solarium. susan's sister, mary jean, has a nice story about that. when she was four years old, president eisenhower was out lighting the national kitchen street -- national christmas tree. there was a family retainer that worked for you guys, his wife. she was up there, and she kept looking out the window and kept saying watch. and she jane is four is like, nothing is happening. finally, the christmas tree burst into life. mary jane was stunned.
is god, who, he cares if he is president. he can do anything. [laughter] mr. daniel: that was of the solarium. the truman balcony was mentioned. at the back of the truman home, there is a sitting port on the back some and there is the port on the front. porch on the front. i never used the front door. i always went in through the kitchen. a quick story about the kitchen on this house. a group of israeli officers were and theyeavenworth, went to see my grandfather. they were told, my grandmother
said he had a head cold and they should go over. they wound up speaking in. herzog, being mindful that my grandfather might actually have a head cold, the mindful, he did not take the israeli officers in. he left them in the car. that is the kitchen, right off the porch. you see the porch is enclosed, my grandmother let those bushes grow all the way up the side of the porch so they could have privacy. when it came time for the truman a refuge.hat was that's where my grandparents spend mornings and evenings, if it was nice out. this was a refuge. the truman balcony to him was a natural idea and he said it improved the lives of the white house. everybody disagreed with him at first. he got a lot of flack and congressman not give him the
money forcibly pay for it out of his household budget. it -- hefort, i think saved for it, i think it cost about $14,000 at the time. but at the time, it was the only safe place to stand. [laughter] mr. daniel: there is grandpa on the balcony reading. you can tell who the photographer was because she cut my grandmother in half. you can see my grandmother -- you can hear her, stop that, get that camera away for me. she is yelling at my mother taking the picture. but presidents have loved the balcony ever since. the kennedys playing on the balcony and the carters. i love this picture of president and mrs. bush. i went to my goddaughter's wedding a few years ago and we had a rehearsal and everybody
was worse for wear the next day. we went to the norman rockwell museum and we were walking through it and i kept looking at this attractive, very regal lady looking at the pictures and all i could think was, was she has the party last night? [laughter] mr. daniel: she looks really familiar. realized, it was mrs. bush. [laughter] pulled the i almost president's grandson move, i thought it was going to run over and introduce myself but there were armed men around her so i decided it was probably not a good idea in my condition. i left mrs. bush alone. during the restoration, my grandparents lived at blair house, which i went through this afternoon. i had not been there since i was 16 years old. my father took us over there one afternoon after listening to the watergate hearings for an hour. we had had enough and went to blair house. my father scared a couple of
russian security guys looking under tables for bugs because of a diplomat who was staying there. and said goodin morning at the top of his lungs and one of the guys hit his head. [laughter] mr. daniel: my grandparents liked warehouse because it was easier. it was smaller, more like a family home. they did not have to entertain as much. life was easier and it was a very tense time for my rant ather, the korean war and host of other things. he enjoyed that. whend get a little cranky prime minister churchill came to visit. they had to take official portraits on the steps of blair house and there was not quite the room you would happen they do not have the white house behind, so he blamed president roosevelt and president coolidge rather loudly after having to take the pictures on the blair house steps.
i am sure you all know that warehouse is where the two puerto rican nationalists tried to shoot my grandfather. came running from either side, the white house guard was killed, but he mortally wounded one of the shooters. but blair house was someplace they enjoyed living. i will tell you a slightly grandmother asy i said when home a lot. she was being pulled in two directions. my grandfather wanted her here and his mother-in-law, my great grandma other -- great-grandmother one of her home to help with the house. she was always being pulled back and forth and she was away a long time. which he got back to blair house, the enjoyment was infectious. they were so happy to see each other that the staff got caught up in it. everybody was in a really good mood. my grandmother came down the next day and she took mr.
fields, the head aside, and said, mr. fields, we have a little -- it appears there is a ll, one of the slab on the bed is broken -- slats on the bed is broken. [laughter] mr. daniel: that's as close as i want to get to knowing anything about that. [laughter] mr. daniel: anyway, a good story. restoration,to the hundreds of pictures were taken of the eventual restoration of the white house. took pictures. or as either polio childhood accident, he could not move very well. mrs. roosevelt wrote about him led himolumn and that
to getting a job at the national parks service which eventually led him to the white house. he was a national parks service photographer working at the white house during the restoration. he took hundreds of good studies. this shows you a crack in the wall upstairs. they started to pull away the wallpaper in the shows you the kind of condition behind the walls. the second floor oval study, which my grandfather used as his fields brought him lunch one day of stairs in his study, and as he came across the floor, both of them could feel it moving. the floor was moving under his feet. it was very unstable. inside ahe buttress, wall, holding up the second floor underneath it. and here, this next one, that is the broken floor beam in the family dining room. my mother's piano leg punched
through. m in the the bea ceiling of the family dining room. an aside, my grandfather was very interested in this restoration and early on before they started any of this, he took reporters on a tour of the upstairs. rods tod run steal hold it up while they got everybody out. my grandparents, paintings, the pictures, they got everybody out, but my mother had to live like that for days, a week, ducking in and out. my grandfather took a group of reporters and photographers upstairs to show them how bad it was. a new york times photographer remembered the grandpa stopped outside his bathroom on the second floor and one of those been run next to
the toilet in grandpa looked back at reporters and said, you know, is the scares me. i'm going to be sitting here one night, hit the plunger and wind up in the state dining room. [laughter] mr. daniel: and i am pretty sure they will be playing hills of the chief as i come to the ceiling. [laughter] mr. daniel: they wound up gutting the white house from inside out. they had these steel towers on the inside of the white house. this picture always reminds me of a story that was told to me a couple of years ago. the dog, liberty, was very pregnant when they were in the white house. liberty had her own room on the third floor. she also had a babysitter, a handler to watch her, a professional. one day the professional had a conflict and wanted to go out. the professional turned to president ford and said, can you handle this?
and president ford said yes. she had to go to the bathroom a lot, she had to go out more often. president ford said yes, i can handle it, how will i know? the handler said, she will come over in the middle of the night and let you know. he said all right. sure enough, not long, here comes liberty. president ford got out of bed, put on his slippers, went out the back of the house and let liberty do her business on the south lawn. when she was finished, he went back in house, the door closed behind him. none of the doors leading of the stairwell would open. he was trapped in the stairs in the white house. [laughter] mr. daniel: the secret service had currently not been looking at the cameras at the time so they did not know he was in there. president ford and the poor pregnant dog went up and down the stairs for a while, trying
all of the doors to get back in the white house. finally the secret service, they must've had a heart attack, they looked up and said oh my god. they went and got the president out of that. putting all of those internal stairwells in. i like this photo for two reasons. you see that shadow we figure -- shadowy figure? obviously somebody was standing there and moved. i found this online once as evidence that it was the ghost of abraham lincoln. [laughter] mr. daniel: the reasoning being is that that is the spot under mr. lincoln's bedroom. apparently when they removed the floor, he just fell down through the floor and he is waiting to go back up. [laughter] mr. daniel: i love the internet. more importantly, you see the truck in those are -- truck and
bulldozer. they wanted to knock out the stone walls to get these in and my grandfather would not let them touch a stone on the outside of the white house. they eventually dug down deep enough to where they had a tunnel that went under the outside walls and up, but at first he made them take those bulldozers and trucks apart and carry them in piece by piece. they tried to use a lot of stuff. they had a lot of wood left over in the figured they offset the cost by selling pieces of the white house as souvenirs. the even have little boxes to make souvenir kits. they even have suggestions, you can make a nice gavel. in the lower right, the number seven brick could be cleaned up to make and even prettier number seven brick. [laughter]
mr. daniel: i don't think this made them a lot of money. they did not offset the cost of rebuilding the white house but they tried. some of the souvenirs were nicer than others. remember i told you the picture of a two-story light cord. this is the desk without the tarp over it, that is original white house wood. it was on my grandparents second floor. the carpenters made it for him. they also made the cabinet in a quarter -- in a corner nearby. you can see in the shadow there, there is a filing when i was 12 years old, i got on the roof of the house through the attic. i took my 10-year-old brother and my 40-something-year-old mother with me. the secret service had a heart attack, my grandmother had a heart attack, she ordered us all the roof and she locks the attic and hit the key. three months after she died, the
parks service called my mother and said, do you know where the key to the attic is, and my mother said, hell no, she hid it from me. [laughter] mr. daniel: it was in that filing cabinet, taped to the back of a chore. further evidence of my with money,' care there is no wallpaper behind that covered. ard.hat cupbo [laughter] mr. daniel: were not going to move it, we are just going to paper around it, it will be fine. [laughter] mr. daniel: if my grandparents come back, i am a dead man. [laughter] may start rebuilding the white house, putting entrance hall back together, they start putting the state andng room back together, the west sitting home with a big
crack, i was in there at seven years old. my parents did not tell me that my grandfather had been president of the united states. i found out in school. [laughter] thank god it was first grade and not high school. [laughter] teacher walks up to me and says, wasn't your grandfather president? i said, i don't know. i'll ask. [laughter] mr. daniel: my mother was telling story well into my 50's. i walked home that night come i walked up to my mother, put my hands on my hips and said, mom, did you know -- [laughter] mr. daniel: she looked at me sadly and said yes. just remember something, any little boys grandfather can be president of the united states.
don't let it go to your head. [laughter] mr. daniel: it didn't, it went right over my head. i was six, i had no idea what it meant. she waster amy, when six or so, we were trying to watch the thing together, i landed on a biography of my grandfather, and i said that man was the 33rd president of the united states, your great-grandfather. passedd, go back, you nickelodeon. [laughter] mr. daniel: the west sitting home was where at the age of seven i met president and mrs. johnson the morning after their inauguration. my mother had come for the non-, we stayed at blair house and we went over to have breakfast with the johnsons. and my father looked at his watch and said, we have to catch that train. president johnson said, relax.
the train will wait. [laughter] mr. daniel: my father said, for you. [laughter] mr. daniel: president johnson, sit-down, have another cup of coffee, you have time. he sat down. he got lost in the conversation, looked at his watch and bolted to his feet. we ran out of the white house, dove into the car. it was 10:00, we were cooked, the train was gone. we went to union station and the driver surprised my parents by not -- not pulling into the front he pulled into the back on a train platform. there were two people on the platform, one guy had a baggage cart and the other was a conductor with his watch out. dad started running, he threw the bags at the guy with the cart. the conductor said, slow down, you have plenty of time. the white house called. president johnson had stopped the train. [laughter] mr. daniel: he was right after
all. [laughter] mr. daniel: my father and i have different reactions. my dad said, why did he not tell me? my reaction was wow. that's when it hit me, president of the united states, that's when i learned what it was like having a grandfather who is president. here they are repaying that -- rehanging that dangerous chandelier. and there is the east room as it looked after the restoration. guessin the east room, i i was 10 or 11 years old. my grandparents and the johnsons were close. my grandfather had tried several times during his administration to get health care passed and could not. president johnson got it done and signed the medicare bill on
the stage at the truman presidential library in the surrey with my grandparents -- in missouri with my grandparents and gave them a card number one and card number two. so they were close. there was only one small glitch, lady bird johnson called my in 1966 or 1967 and said, we would like to rehang your official portrait but we can't find it. my grandmother said, that is because it is on my wall. [laughter] mrs. johnson said, you can't do that, that belongs to the american people. my grandmother said, like hell it does. it is a picture of me, it is on my wall. [laughter] artistiel: so the painted two copies. one is in the truman library, the other is in the white house collection. the original is it still on my
grandmother's wall. [laughter] mr. daniel: there is the restored grand stair. i will leave you with one more white house story, a more recent story. last christmass party in the white house, they invited me to light the menorah with a grandson of the first president of israel. he and i went to practice this. we were doing this at the foot of the grand staircase. i keep knocking water off your, i need to stop that. at the foot of the grand staircase, everyone in the entrance hall. we had a little instruction upfront from a rabbi to tell us how to do this correctly. this was mostly for me, the episcopalian, to do this right. but he gave us instruction and at the end of showing us how to do this, he moistened his fingers and put out the candle.
and he said, why are you doing it that way? the rabbi said i never blowout flame of life with the breath of life. but the rabbi said, do what you want, is ok. don't stress about it. so he said ok. we sat down, the thing got started, here comes the president and first lady. we go up to do the lighting. everything goes just great. and he pulls the candle back from the menorah. and i could see his mind working. president and mrs. bush are in the front row. that rabbi is out there somewhere. and he is thinking, i should do with the rabbi told me. up, doesn'tes moistened his fingers. [laughter] mr. daniel: so the end of that cursing]was [muffled
[laughter] mr. daniel: he got back to his seat, and mrs. bush was lovely. acrossush leaned and said, are you all right? and he said yes. the president leaned across and said, a little souvenir of the white house there! [laughter] mr. daniel: it was all i could do to keep from laughing out loud. receptionplomatic room, this was taken in the kennedy era. at the end of this christmas party, resident and mrs. bush went to stand in front of the fireplace and take their pictures taken with all of us. i am sure some of you know how this routine goes, you lineup, get a drink, you wait, you go through several marine officers, you have in front of the president and first lady and shake hands before going to the
party of stairs. this was not long after that iranian journalist has thrown a shoe at the present. my wife told me before i went to washington, she said don't you dare make any shoe jokes. i said all right. i got up to the young marine officer standing somewhere in here making sure we all behaved ourselves in took our turn. he was smiling, everybody in a good mood, it was christmas, president bush was on his way out in a very good mood. just like my grandfather was, it is over. officer, myoung wife told me i cannot make any shoe jokes. should i? the young marine smiled at me and said, oh, yes sir. [laughter] mr. daniel: i immediately did not trust him. he looked like he was going to get me in trouble. i thought, i don't know. it was my turn, i shook hands with president bush and mrs.
bush and i said, my wife told me that i was not allowed to make any shoe jokes and the president's mouth and said, go ahead, everybody else's. [laughter] mr. daniel: that is the end of my presentation. [applause] mr. daniel: thank you. we have 10 minutes or so for questions. i realize this is that my peril, but go ahead. yes? >> [indiscernible] mr. daniel: wow.
, i think so, not to the wrong degree. was a man fromes rome, called on to protect it from invaders twice. they offered him the laurel wreath and he said no, i have done my job, time to go home. my grandfather viewed the presidency as a set of tools to do the best he could. he often said, special interest groups, everybody has their own lobbyist, senators, congressmen, but most of the people in the united states have one lobbyist, and that is the president. so he did the best he could but he was happy to put the tools away. being president did not change him. it made him better, if anything, but it did not change him. and he went home afterward. a reporter asked him after he got off the train in kansas
city, is the first thing you're going to do in retirement? grandfather said, take the suitcases up to the attic. [laughter] mr. daniel: you're getting along answer to this. there were some things he would not do in retirement. i grandfather -- grandmother got after him and said the grass was long. he said, i hate yardwork. she said, yes, but you are not president anymore. he said all right, he did not do it. she nags him, he did not do it. finally he went outside, dr. miller, turned it on, my grandmother looked outside and nearly died. it was sunday morning. everybody in town is going to church, passing the house. this is the ex-president pointedly not going to church, cutting the grass instead and waving and everybody to make sure they saw him. she ran out there and cut off
the mower and said, don't you ever do that again. and he said, ok. [laughter] when i get back from one of these things, i tell my -- it was great. she will say, good, here's the toilet brush. [laughter] mr. daniel: when humans -- >> when you mentioned president truman enjoying the piano, and many think of this famous photo with lauren bacall that he was playing the piano. with that in the white house? mr. daniel: no, he was vice president, that was at the uso. he was playing for the troops and lauren bacall was there and was apparently her agent's idea, he boosted her onto the piano. grandpa's smile dimmed a little
bit because he knew somewhere out there, mrs. truman was watching. [laughter] mr. daniel: and mrs. truman told him that night, it was a tense moment between them, she said, i don't think you should play the p&l in public -- the piano in public anymore. [laughter] but they met in sunday school when they were children and he never looked at another woman. he was smitten. he was very careful. even in the oval office when he had a secretary doing dictation or anything, he kept the door wide open. he was very conscious of his wedding vows. yes? you mentioned the assassination attempt at blair house. i recall this -- i should recall this, that i don't.
was any of the first family in blair house at the time? you mentioned the anecdote about mowing the grass. was there no security provided for former presidents in the 1950's and 1960's? mr. daniel: in the first question, grandpa was in blair house, not only was he there, when he heard the gunfire, he stuck his head out the window. secret service had to yell at him to put it back in. he did, making light of a serious incident, but yes he was home. i don't know if my mother and grandmother were. but he was. didno, the ex-presidents not have secret service protection until after john f. kennedy was assassinated. craft had no secret service until 1964. anybody -- grandpa had no secret service until 1964. anybody could walk up to the house. i tell this story a lot.
car broke down from my grandparents home in the early 1950's. he did not know where he was, there was no sign on it in the 1950's assaying truman home. he walked up the front steps and rang the doorbell and grandpa answered. the man said, my car has broken down, do you have a phone? grandpa said come on in. the guy went in and called a local garage. the grosz said it will take -- the garage said it will take 15 or 20 minutes to get there. the phone and said thank you, i'll go wait in my car. grandpa said no, you can stay here. they talked for 15 or 20 minutes. wrecker pulled up, the man said thank you for the hospitality. grandpa said you're welcome, i hope it doesn't cost you too much. the man got halfway down the
steps and stopped, then he turned back and look at my grandfather, and said, i hope you don't take offense of this, but you look a hell of a lot like that son of a bitch harry truman. [laughter] apparently grandpa just smiled at him and said i am that son of a bitch. [laughter] mr. daniel: thank you, ladies and gentlemen. [applause] >> thank you. i think you did do half as well as you did with the podcast. thank you so much. you came to s ago, me and presented an idea.
apparently there used to be a convening of presidential descendents every year and he posed that we continue that. next summer we are convening 200 presidential sites around the country for a presidential site summit. birth places rks childhood homes, libraries, are all coming to washington. we'll have three or four days of wonderful programming for them. i want to deputize our presidential descendents to join us in inviting as many as we can get for a special evening at the kennedy center that week during the presidential site summit. i'll be visiting with you. all more about that. in front of all of these witnesses i wanted to depp unite ties you to help us out. i'd like you to join us for a reception in the court yard. the store is open. you can use your truman token off.et a 10%
those of you on c-span, thank you all for joining us. ave a wonderful night. >> next sunday at 8:30 a.m. eastern live we continue our series 1968, america in turmoil. americans were eyewitnesses to the war in vietnam. chaos in their city streets, and assassinations. we'll examine the media's role covering these and other events 50 years ago. our guests are the pulitzer award winning photographer and that's next sn here on american istory tv.
> monday, on landmark cases, community school district, a case about student free speech. des 65, five students from moines iowa wore black arm brands to school to protest the vietnam war violating local school policies. the students and the four tinker siblings challenged the school board's free speech restrictions and the resulting supreme court decision established that the students keep their first amendment rights on school grounds. our guests to discuss the landmark case are mary beth pinkert one of the five students who challenged the des moines school district. she was 13 at the time. after two decades as a pediatric nurse she began working as a free speech advocate for students touring nationally as a teacher at schools and youth centers. and eric jaffe an independent federal appellate litigator with experience at the supreme court including work on more than 100 cases.
the clerk or supreme court justice clarence thomas -- he clerked for supreme court justice clarence tomas in 19 the 6. watch landmark cases monday and join the conversation. our # is landmark cases. follow us at c-span. we have resources on our website for background on each case. the landmark cases companion book, a link to the national constitution center's interactive constitution and the landmark case's podcast at c-span.org/landmark cases. >> american history tv is on c-span 3 every weekend featuring museum tours, archival films, and programs on the presidency. the civil war, and more. here is a clip from a recent program. >> the question of how and where to store and secure nuclear material is certainly scientific but also political and this is something we've
seen recur in our discussions about environmental history. all of this nonenvironmental stuff shapes how we navigate environmental challenges. and the history of nuclear america is deeply tangled up with american environmental history. and in far more ways than i could ever imagine covering in a single lecture. today we talked about the survey, we talked about testing, and we talked about ideas concerning the containment of american nuclear waste, which are three examples all connected to a very particular place and landscape. the nevada test site. in order to help us keep thinking about the significance of narrative framing for the kinds of stories which tell about the past and the present. focusing on baby teeth instead of -- maybe a different set of actors or concerns. the same cob said of the history of the test site. if we center our story on the tests, themselves, what do we see that we might not see if our only focus was on cold war
diplomacy and brinksmanship? and the evolving story of yucca mountain which we talked about only briefly brings us back to this question of the scale of our stories. is this a story about 30 years of politics or 10,000 years of containment or a million years of imagined risk or safety? all of these stories offer a window on to nuclear america. on to ideas about contested spaces and their uses. about risk and safety. and about the sometimes hard to see connections between people and the natural world. >> watch this and other american history programs on our website where all our video is archived. hat is c-span.org/history. next on lectures in history john hopkins university professor ronald walters teaches a class about the 1880's anarchist movement in america. he talks about albert parson a confederate soldier who became a soldier and lead -- a
socialist and leader in the anarchist movement. he uses the 1886 haymarket affair, a bombing at a labor protest as a case study in describing anarchist violence and the government's response. his class is just under an hour. ronald: i am going to begin in 1906. a german sociologist and historian published a collection of his essays. one of those essays translated into english as "why is there no socialism in the united states?" he was baffled by perceiving america as an industrial giant at the forefront of a major economic revolution, and according to his ideological worldview we should have produced the kind of radical socialist and communist movements as in europe.