Harry Truman's middle name

Several times I’ve run across the statement that Harry Truman did not use a period following the letter S between his first and last name. What’s up with that?

As he often said, since he had no middle name and the teachers bullied him into naming one, the S was not short for anything.

Well, since the ‘S’ didn’t stand for anything, so maybe he felt permitted to leave out the period.

According to a recent article in American Heritage magazine, Truman in fact used a period after the S. most of the time, and told others he preferred it that way.

Unfortunately, the magazine does not appear to be searchable online.

Did you realize that everyone on Mount Rushmore has no middle name?
A sign of greatness that Harry had and lost!

The straight dope on Truman’s middle initial, from the Truman Library:

My middle name is “T.” With the period. It doesn’t “stand for” anything. When people ask me what it stands for, I tell them “klipspringer.” Apparently this is enraging since klipspringer doesn’t start wirth a T. Go figure.

One story, possibly untrue, is that the “S” stood for two names, maiden names on each side and his parents didn’t want to choose one name over the other. So to satisfy both sides, they left it as a letter.

From the www.trumanlibrary.org website: Mr. Truman apparently initiated the “period” controversy in 1962 when, perhaps in jest, he told newspapermen that the period should be omitted. In explanation he said that the “S” did not stand for any name but was a compromise between the names of his grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young. He was later heard to say that the use of the period dated after 1962 as well as before.