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Lessons of history: Truman Library events

By The Examiner staff

As it awaits word on when it can reopen, the Truman Library in Independence continues to offer programs, including an event this Saturday marking the 136th anniversary of First Lady Bess Wallace Truman’s birthday.

Register for free Truman Library Institute online events at

Cassie Pikarsky of the Truman Library Institute explains a new exhibit in the renovated Truman Library while producing a virtual tour video. The library was closed in mid-2019 for the biggest renovation in its six-decade history but, with the pandemic, is stlll awaiting word from the National Archies and Records Administration on when it can reopen.

Saturday’s program is “The Daughters of Yalta.” It’s at 2 p.m. and features writer and historian Catherine Grace Katz, whose book “The Daughters of Yalta” tells the story of three young women who accompanied their famous fathers to the Yalta Conference in waning days of World War II in February 1945. The Yalta Conference is where President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin discussed the post-war future of Germany and the rest of Europe.

Kathleen Harriman was a champion skier, war correspondent, and daughter of the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, Averell Harriman. Sarah Churchill was an actress-turned-RAF officer. FDR’s daughter, Anna, was chosen instead of her mother, Eleanor, to accompany the president to Yalta. The book explores how all three worked with their fathers at the conference.

This event is presented by the Independence Pioneers Chapter, National Society of the Daughters of the Revolution in partnership with the Truman Library.

Another upcoming Truman Library Institute event takes a look at the roots of the Cold War.

“The Long Telegram: George Kennan and the Most Influential Cable in American History” is at 5:30 p.m., Feb. 23. It is a conversation featuring author and former Time and Newsweek editor Evan Thomas and Truman Library Director Kurt Graham. 

“The Long Telegram” was issued 75 years ago this month, from Moscow-based U.S. diplomat to George Kennan to President Truman’s State Department – a 19-page telegram cable. Kennan argued that the “problem of how to cope with (the Soviets), is undoubtedly the greatest task our diplomacy has ever faced and probably the greatest it will ever have to face.” Today, “The Long Telegram” is regarded as a foundational U.S. document near the Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers and George Washington’s Farewell Address and the genesis of America’s Cold War containment policy.