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Re: The buck stops here

Posted by Bruce Kahl on September 01, 2005

In Reply to: Re: The buck stops here posted by Smokey Stover on September 01, 2005

: : : : Who was the first writer to use the phrase "the buck stops here"?

: : : Could it have been President Truman? I await correction!

: : Truman had a sign on his desk that said it....

: "The sign "The Buck Stops Here" that was on President Truman's desk in his White House office was made in the Federal Reformatory at El Reno, Oklahoma. Fred M. Canfil, then United States Marshal for the Western District of Missouri and a friend of Mr. Truman, saw a similar sign while visiting the Reformatory and asked the Warden if a sign like it could be made for President Truman. The sign was made and mailed to President on October 2, 1945."
: From: Mitford M. Mathews, ed., A Dictionary of Americanisms on Historical Principles (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1951), I, pages 198-199.
: This doesn't quite answer the question, except negatively. The expression may be as old as the expression, "pass the buck," q.v. SS

From the Trumanlibrary.org:

"The Buck Stops Here" is a famous sign that is a part of American political folklore. It was given to President Truman in 1945, but it is unclear how long it sat on his oval office desk.

The saying derives from the expression "to pass the buck", which means to avoid responsibility. The sign came to express Truman's decisiveness and accountability.

As he stated during an early crisis, "I don't pass the buck. Nor, do I alibi out of any decision I make."