Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Harry S. Truman Typed Letter Signed as president. One page, 8" x 10.5", Washington, D.C., December 7, 1948, on White House letterhead. In the letter, the thirty-third president explains to student Helen Hamilton of Lucas, Michigan, why he, as Franklin Roosevelt's vice president, is entitled to be called president. Using the Constitutional crisis that occurred following the death of President William Henry Harrison, President Truman explains:

    "I think you are right, Helen, about my being President. If you will look at the Constitution . . . you will find that when a President dies, the powers and duties of his office 'devolve on the Vice President.' This certainly makes the incoming man the President in fact, since he must assume all the powers and duties of the Presidential office. The question raised by your teacher, as to the title of the new holder of the office, came up in the Congress 107 years ago, and the House of Representatives decided that a Vice President succeeding to the Presidency should be called 'the President.' You will find this recorded in a book called Hinds' Precedents, which is used as a guide by the House of Representatives. President William Henry Harrison had died and Vice President Tyler had taken his place. This was the first time such a thing had happened in our history. When the House of Representatives met on May 31, 1841, Mr. Henry A. Wise, of Virginia, proposed. . . ."

    The president ends his patient explanation by writing, "This established a precedent which has been followed ever since. That is, a Vice President who takes the place of a Chief Executive who has died becomes 'the President.' I hope that this letter will straighten things out for you." The letter, with folds, is accompanied by the transmittal envelope. Both are age-toned.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-15th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,390

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Oct 15, 2010 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 September 26 Autumn Luxury Accessories Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The pre and post sales experience was wonderful and flawless. Heritage has the best in-house operation I have ever seen and their people are not only professional but fun to work with, especially Steve C.

    As for Heritage's online system… Yes the interface is more complex than what we are used to with SAN but what is behind that interface is amazing for sellers and buyers alike. It is real time and for a real serious auction buyer there is nothing better in the auction industry, bar none.
    Ron Cipolla,
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search