The following article appeared on page 1 of the Madison, Capital Times in November of 1948. The article along with the pictures he took that are mentioned in the article were sent to me by Robert Sievert, a member of the class of 1949.


Young "Reporters" Write Stories On Truman's Visit

7th, 8th Graders of Local Lutheran School Provide "Children's-Eye" Reports

The Capital Times received complete "childrens'-eye coverage" of Pres. Harry S. Truman's visit to Madison Thursday by a volunteer staff of 7th and 8th grade "reporters from the Madison Lutheran school.

Morton A. Schroeder, principal, took 40 youngsters from the 5th through 8th grades at the school to the stock pavilion to see the nation's chief executive. Seven pupils, six girls and one boy, in the 7th and 8th grades, were asked to report the event as they saw it.

MOST ENTERPRISING of the school's reportorial contingent was BOB SIEVERT, who brought his flash camera along.

"I'm sure the Michigan football team could not plow through that crowd," Bob wrote. He confessed that he was unable to get in a position to snap a picture when the president's party drove up to the stock pavilion. Like a good photographer, he bided his time.

"The shortest introduction ever given to Mr. Truman was given by William T. Evjue, editor of The Capital Times," Bob commented. "While Mr. Truman was giving his 11 and 1/2 minute speech, I got ready for him to come out."

"After giving reasons why we should vote for him," Bob continued, "Pres. Truman came out by the entrance where we were standing. I had to wait until he got into the Packard waiting for him. While standing up and waving his hat, he looked right at me. I snapped two pictures of him."

Bob didn't mention in his story whether the pictures turned out, but he did comment, "I have often said that I want to be a press photographer, but after being pushed around, I don't know. . . ."

JOAN BRADLEY admitted in her account that the crowd at the stock pavilion was too much for her and that a trip around the building failed to reveal any unguarded entrances.

"There were many cameras flashing and people yelling. The groups of children had to split up and go separately. It so happened that about six of us were with Mr. Schroeder, and he was kind enough to lift us up over the many heads to see the procession."

Joan reported that she was impressed by Mr. Evjue's short introduction of the president, which she apparently heard over a loud speaker.

"Mr. Evjue's introduction was short and simple," she wrote.

BARBARA NOTH claimed in her report that she saw the president four times, but it was a tough grind.

"We weaved in and out of the crowd and finally when the president was coming, I lost track of Mr. Schroeder. Two other girls and I tried to see him. We pushed and pulled and finally we saw the president when he went into the pavilion."

Barbara also noted that the introduction by Mr. Evjue was "very, very short." She outlined the remainder of her trials as follows, "When the speech was over we followed the president's car around the road that leads to University Ave. We also saw Gov. and Mrs. Rennebohm, Margaret and Mrs. Truman, and a bunch of press agents and secret service men. Altogether I saw the president four times." JEAN LARSON reported that she got a very good view of the president from her position near the pavilion.

"Pres. Truman was riding in a yellow Packard with five other men," she wrote. "Much to our advantage, he was sitting on the side where we were standing. He looked as I expected him to, very plain. We also saw Margaret and Mrs. Truman."

Jean revealed that she has the eye of a good society reporter in commenting of Mrs. Truman, "If I remember correctly, Mrs. Truman had a fur piece about her shoulders."

KARI-ELLEN HILL reported that seven of the 40 Lutheran school pupils were lucky enough to get inside the stock pavilion, but she admitted that she was not one of the lucky ones. She heard enough of the speech from the outside to make the following summary, "The president talkd for about 15 minutes. He said something about the Republican 80th congress and what Dewey had said."

ANNE HARDER described the fruitless battle she had in the crowd in her effort to see the president. Only when the president was leaving the pavilion did she succeed.

"We ran through paths in the experimental gardens so we could get to the road where he turned to go back to the station," she wrote. "By hurrying and pushing, we got up to the road. We saw Pres. Truman, Mrs. Truman and Margaret very well."

Anne confessed that most of the children were disappointed at not being able to get into the stock pavioion, but the day was a success from her standpoint.

"I don't mind being pushed around for something like seeing the president, but I wouldn't do it very often," Anne concluded.

AMONG THE MOST observant of the young reporters was DONNA HILLESTAD, who got within 2 feet of the presidential car when it pulled up to the stock pavilion.

"By this time the police were shoving everyone back," she wrote. "You could see flash cameras and movie cameras all around, and, if I am not mistaken, I think I saw a man taking a movie with the cap over the lens."

Donna later took a look at the presidential train on her way home.

"I walked home proud because I was the only one in our family who ever saw a president of the United States," she concluded.


added May 10, 2009