Harry S. Truman (1884–1972) was the 33rd President of the United States of America. Truman was a military veteran, having served in the National Guard during World War I. He initiated the U.S involvement in the Korean War, and under his leadership, Gen. MacArthur expelled the occupying North Korean troops in short order.
President Truman's Lodge Application
In 1973, the Grand Lodge of Scotland published an Obituary for Brother Truman:
OBITUARY OF HARRY S. TRUMAN
(This article taken from the Grand Lodge Year Book for 1973)
Now approaching its 240th year, The Grand Lodge of Scotland has conferred the honour and dignity of
Honorary Membership on but twenty-four brethren – of whom Harry S. Truman, President of the United
States of America was one.
Born in Missouri in 1884 he succeeded Franklin D. Roosevelt, also a member of the craft, as President
of the United States of America in 1945 and the measure of the man can be judged from the words he
used when addressing the American people for the first time as President. He said – “At this moment I
have in my heart a prayer. As I assume my heavy duties, I humbly pray to Almighty God, in the words of
Solomon: ‘Give therefore Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern
between good and bad; for who is able to judge this Thy so great a people’ – I only ask to be a good and
faithful servant of my Lord and my people.”
Harry Truman was initiated in Lodge Belton, No 450, under the Grand Lodge of Missouri on February
9th, 1909 and became the Junior Warden of his Lodge the following year. A year later, in 1911, he was a
Founder Member and the first Master of Grandview Lodge, No. 618, and for a time served that Lodge as
secretary. He was called to the chair again in 1917.
In 1940 he was elected as the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Missouri and though he was at that
time a Senator he carried his duties without any thought of excusing himself on the grounds of more
pressing public business. It was during his term of office as Grand Master that a Charter was issued to
the Missouri Lodge of Research and it is believed that this Charter to a Lodge is the only one carrying the
signature of a President of the United States. He accepted the office of Marshal in the new Lodge and
attended its meetings as often as he could arrange it.
The holding of the highest office his country could confer upon him in no way diminished his interest in
the craft. In 1948, in the midst of his presidential campaign he installed the Master of Grandview Lodge
in Kansas City and he also attended the initiation of Dr. Thomas Burns, the White House physician,
taking part in the ceremony and, according to all accounts, being word perfect – which was more than
could be said for some of the other members of the Lodge who were probably put off their stride by the
presence of the President in the Lodge.
On the death of Andrew O’Reilly, who had long been the Representative of the Grand Lodge of
Scotland near the Grand Lodge of Missouri, Brother Harry Truman was appointed in his stead and was at
the time of his death still Scotland’s Representative at the Grand Lodge of Missouri.
As might be expected Brother Truman was a member of a number of other masonic bodies. He
became a Mark Master Mason and a Royal Arch Mason in November 1919 and of the Order of the
Knights Templars in 1923. He was also a member of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them – so wrote
Shakespeare in Twelfth Night. Harry Truman was not born great for he was the son of a small farmer; he
both achieved greatness as President of his country and had greatness thrust upon him with the sudden
death, in office, of his predecessor. Harry Truman was one of those men who, when given responsibility
or having it thrust upon them, rose to the occasion and revealed to the world and, one suspects, even to
himself, that there was more in him than anyone had envisaged.
The Grand Lodge of Missouri has lost a great Grand Master, the United States a great President and the
Grand Lodge of Scotland a great Honorary Member.
The Biography Channel has a brief Bio of President Truman.