Harry S. Truman’s Desk Sign

1945 -1953

President Harry S. Truman kept this sign on his desk in the Oval Office at the White House. It was a gift from Fred A. Canfield, then a United States Marshal for Missouri’s Western District and Truman’s personal friend. The phrase “The Buck Stops Here” appears on the front of the 13 inch painted glass sign, while “I’m from Missouri” is written on the backside. The sign acted both as a nod to his home state and to his personal responsibility in making decisions.

Truman often referred to this sign—and philosophy—in public statements during his administration. In his 1953 farewell address, Truman stated, “The President—whoever he is—has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job.” Truman’s famous motto encapsulates character and leadership style as President and as an American citizen. 

Object Details

Categories: People, Politics & Government

Date: 1945 -1953

Subject: Harry S. Truman

Contributing Institution: Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Accession Number: 77-3799

Rights: Public Domain - This item is in the public domain and can be used freely without further permission.

County: Jackson

Region: Kansas City Metro

Type: Object

Language: English

Latitude: 39.1031309603483

Longitude: -94.4214819862682