From plowing Grandview fields with a bull‐tongue, to crafting the Rural Electrification Act, to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki…Harry S. Truman re‐enactor Raymond Starzmann explores energy policy from the past with implications for our future.
Raymond Starzmann (b.1945) has a lifelong passion for politics and the American Presidency.
Starzmann’s fascination with history dates to his student days at Girard College, a boarding school for grades one through 12 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His third-grade teacher Isabelle C. Brown, instilled in him the love and importance of history. He states: “As I got older, I started reading history and began corresponding with people who made history.” He possess volumes of letters signed by American political figures including Harry S. Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Adlai Stevenson and numerous others. He met and visited with President Truman on several occasions.
Starzmann earned a political science degree from Park University in Parkville, Missouri. He has been on staff at the bookstore at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri for 20 years, greeting visitors from around the world with a generous smile, sharing his deep knowledge of history and art.
A natural born educator, in 1998 Starzmann found an opportunity to share his love of history with broad audiences performing as a historical re-enactor largely focused on the history and life of Harry S. Truman. Subsequently Starzmann has added Franklin D. Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson and regional figures to his repertoire.
Over the past 18 years Starzmann has given presentations to groups ranging from schoolchildren to state legislators. He has spoken to diverse audiences at historical venues such as The Truman Library and Institute, The Mount Rushmore Memorial Society, and the Smithsonian Associates, and to business organizations including Delotte Consulting LLP. International Convention, the American Business Women’s Association and the J. Reuben Clark Law Society National Conference. He has taken his programs to 12 states from Vermont to South Dakota to California.
Starzmann has starred on the Kansas City Public Library program “Meet the Past,” in conjunction with Kansas City Public Television. He was a featured guest speaker for the 57th Reunion of the 509th Composite Group, the veterans who dropped the two atomic bombs.
In his role as Harry Truman he makes frequent appearances and does programs for the Truman Library. Additionally, he accepted a position as the Kansas City Coordinator for the National Road Scholar Travel programs as both tour guide and presenter.
Speaking extemporaneously from vast personal research and knowledge while in character, Starzmann aims to educate and entertain and often leaves groups asking for more. Starzmann states: “I bring history alive. I believe if you put a face on history, history is more accessible.”