Margaret Truman Daniel dies

Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:42pm EST
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By Andrew Stern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Margaret Truman Daniel, the only child of former president and famously proud father Harry Truman who became an author of popular murder mysteries, died on Tuesday at age 83, the Truman Library said.

Daniel, a long-time New York resident, died in a care facility in Chicago from complications from an infection contracted recently, said library director Michael Devine.

After living for decades in the same New York apartment, she moved to Chicago to be closer to the eldest of her four sons, Clifton, Devine said in a telephone interview from the Independence, Missouri, library.

Margaret Truman did not let being the president's daughter keep her from pursuing first a singing career and then one as a mystery writer that took off after her father's death in 1972.

It was her singing and his fatherly protection that ignited President Truman's well-known temper, leading him to write one of the most famous presidential letters in history.

After Washington Post music critic Paul Hume panned one of her vocal recitals -- "Miss Truman cannot sing very well" -- Truman responded from the White House that the review was "poppycock" and the critic was a "frustrated old man" who was "off the beam."

"Some day I hope to meet you," the president wrote Hume, ignoring the fact the critic had called his daughter "extremely attractive." "When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!"

Margaret Truman continued her musical career for several more years, and became a radio and television host.   Continued...

<p>(From right), former president Harry S. Truman, his wife Bess Truman, and his daughter Margaret Truman are seen in a 1951 photo from the U.S. National Archives. REUTERS/National Archives/Handout</p>