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.
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.
Region: Kansas City Metro