"It's only when you grow up, and step back from him, or leave him for your own career and your own home - it's only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it. Pride reinforces love." -- Margaret Truman
Mary Margaret Truman Daniel (February 17, 1924 ... January 29, 2008), widely known throughout her life as Margaret Truman, was an American singer who later became a successful writer. She was the only child of Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States, and Bess Truman.
Born in Independence, Missouri, she was christened Mary Margaret Truman (for her aunt Mary Jane Truman and her maternal grandmother Margaret Gates Wallace) but was called Margaret from early childhood.
In 1944 Truman christened the battleship USS Missouri, which was named after her home state (when the ship was recommissioned in 1986 she was a featured speaker at the ceremony).
Truman pursued a singing career in the late 1940s. After graduating from George Washington University and receiving some operatic vocal training, she debuted with the radio broadcast of a vocal recital in March 1947. After a performance in December 1950, Washington Post music critic Paul Hume wrote she was “extremely attractive on the stage... [but] cannot sing very well. She is flat a good deal of the time.” Her father, then President, wrote to Hume, "I have never met you, but if I do you'll need a new nose and plenty of beefsteak and perhaps a supporter below." Years later she recalled, “I thought it was funny. Sold tickets.” Truman's singing career was widely publicized during her father's presidency and the February 26, 1951 cover of Time Magazine carried her image with a single musical note floating by her head. She performed on stage, radio, and television until the mid 1950s.
Truman's place in pop culture was confirmed by her appearances as a guest panelist on the popular game show What's My Line?, replacing Dorothy Kilgallen several times, and also appearing as a mystery guest. In 1957, she guest starred on an episode of NBC's variety show, The Gisele MacKenzie Show, joining Gisele MacKenzie in a duet of "I Only Have Eyes For You" playing the piano together in a version of "Sisters".
Truman wrote several non-fiction and fiction books. Harry S. Truman (1972) was a critically acclaimed, full length biography of her father drawn from extensive resources at the Truman Library, published shortly before his death. Bess W. Truman (1986) was a detailed personal biography of her mother. She also wrote books on White House first ladies and pets, the history of the White House and its inhabitants, along with a critically successful series of fictional murder mysteries set in various locations in and around Washington, D.C. There have been claims these murder mysteries were ghost-written, perhaps by Donald Bain, but he denies this. She continued to write and publish regularly into her eighties.
In later life Daniel resided in her Park Avenue home in Manhattan and served on the Board of Directors for the Harry S Truman Presidential Library and Museum along with the Board of Governors for the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute.
Margaret Truman Daniel died in Chicago on January 29, 2008, following a brief illness during which she was on a respirator and living in an assisted care facility. On February 23, following a private memorial service, her ashes and those of her husband E. Clifton Daniel were interred in her parents' burial plot at the Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri.