Western New York Heritage

Endnotes: More on Truman in Buffalo

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After reading Christine Gibbons’ article, “Wild About Harry: Truman in Buffalo” in our recent Summer 2021 issue, Buffalo Presidential Center trustee and long-time Western New York Heritage subscriber Bren Price sent us this additional anecdote, courtesy of Gail Proctor, a colleague of Bren’s at Explore Buffalo. 

The information comes from a 1988 book by Ellen Parisi, titled A Century in the Fold: A History of the Church of the Good Shepherd.  As such, it details the vice president’s visit to the Parkside church, providing some interesting additional insight into Truman’s personality, as well as his brief visit to Western New York.  Thanks for sharing, Bren and Ellen!!  And we hope the rest of you enjoy this additional piece of Truman trivia!

Excerpted from an article in the former Diocesan news magazine, Forth, an accounting of Vice-President Truman’s attendance at Sunday [April 8th] services at the Church of the Good Shepherd was detailed.  Truman was invited to worship there by two parishioners who knew him.  He sat in the second pew with his friend and church warden, Charles Diebold Jr., while assistant rector Rev. Allen Pendergraft conducted the service.

Then Diebold led Truman to the Children’s Chapel, where he greeted a number of youngsters.  Shortly thereafter, “…members of the Vestry were presented to Mr. Truman, and Mr. Diebold produced a copy of the church bulletin, asking for the Vice-President’s autograph. ‘Won’t you sign it please?’ he asked. ‘Usually I do the autographing,’ said the guest, ‘but this time I want YOU to do it; and I’m going to present this autographed bulletin to Mrs. Truman to show her I attended church today.’”

Four days later, Vice-President Truman was inaugurated as the 33rd president of the United States upon the death of Franklin D Roosevelt.  Reverend Prendergraft eulogized him the following Sunday.  While this was Truman’s first visit to Buffalo, he would travel to the region four more times during and after his presidency.

The full content is available in the Fall 2021 Issue.