Sometimes a picture leads to a post. Yesterday, in doing research on Harry S. Truman, I came across this wonderful photo of Jane Lingo, Margaret Truman, President and Mrs. Truman. The first name I recognized immediately.
Jane Tunstall Lingo was a Pi Phi legacy. Her mother, Marie Tunstall Lingo, was a 1908 initiate of the D.C. Alpha Chapter at George Washington University. Jane and her friend Margaret Truman became members of the same chapter on February 6, 1943.
It was during World War II and their initiation was held in the “chapter apartment, more easily reached than a member’s home where it usually takes place. After the ceremony. the new initiates were feted with a dinner at the home of Mary Ring,” according to a report in the May 1943 Arrow of Pi Beta Phi. Due to food rationing, “it was decided to abandon the custom of having dinner in the rooms on Monday nights. So as not to lose this opportunity for all the girls to get together, it was agreed that everyone should come up for tea every Monday between the hours of four and six.”
On January 31, 1944, Margaret Truman, then the daughter of Senator Harry Truman of Missouri, christened the United States Ship Missouri at the New York Navy Yard on January 31. Her Maids of honor during the festivities included D.C. Alphas Jane Lingo,
daughter of Commander and Mrs. B. H. Lingo, and Edith “Drucie” Snyder, daughter of the Secretary of the Treasury, John Wesley Snyder.
On July 9, 1945, Pi Beta Phi’s, Margaret Truman, was the guest of honor at a picnic hosted by the Kansas City Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi. She was accompanied by her house guest, who was also described in other publications as her “best friend,” Jane Lingo. Approximately 175 alumnae and collegiate members “spent the afternoon swimming, boating, and playing bridge. A buffet supper was served on the lawn.”
In the summer of 1946, with First Daughter Margaret Truman unable to attend, Drucie Snyder was chosen queen of the President’s Regatta. Jane Lingo was in her court, according to a report in The Arrow.
On February 23, 2007, Jane Lingo died. She spent more than 50 years working for her alma mater and, at her death, was its longest serving staff member. In an interview in a GWU publication, she described how she returned to GWU as an employee, “In 1956, I was back on campus taking some classes when I ran into an acquaintance who worked at GW. She told me the University was looking for a staff writer, and the rest is history.”
Her obituary in the February 28, 2007 Washington Times gives a glimpse into her life:
She earned a bachelor’s degree in French language and literature from GW in 1946 with close friend Margaret Truman.
She spent the next decade traveling and performing volunteer service before returning to GW in 1956 as a staff writer in the Office of University Relations.
She then served as assistant director of university relations from 1964 until her death.
During her years at GW, Miss Lingo earned membership in Phi Beta Kappa, and joined Mortar Board, Pi Beta Phi sorority, the GW Hospital Women’s Board, the Faculty Women’s Club and Columbian Women, which is the school’s oldest scholarship support group.
Miss Lingo was one of the first women invited to join the National Press Club in 1971.
A former president of the American News Women’s Club from 1990 to 1992, Miss Lingo was friends with journalist Helen Thomas. The two became acquainted in the 1940s when Miss Lingo attended events at the White House during the Truman administration.
© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2016. All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory.