Elizabeth “Bess” Truman (1885-1982) was an American first lady (1945-53) and the wife of Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States. An intensely private woman, Bess reluctantly agreed to attend political events with her husband throughout his career. but rarely offered her own opinions on issues, a sharp contrast to her activist predecessor, Eleanor Roosevelt. Though the Trumans were an extremely close family, Bess did not enjoy many of the social aspects of the position, instead preferring to return to her Missouri home as often as possible. Her most significant contribution as first lady was overseeing an extensive structural renovation of the White House, which saved the aging executive mansion from demolition.