Harry Truman's middle initial is rather unique because, unlike most middle initials, it doesn't just represent the first letter of his middle name - it is his middle name.
His parents chose the name Harry after his mother's brother, Harrison "Harry" Young (1846–1916). They chose "S" as his middle initial to please both of his grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young. The "S" did not stand for anything, a common practice among the Scots-Irish.
It appears that the period after the "S" is generally either included or omitted based on the author's preference alone. This brings forth some interesting questions:
- Can a letter be considered an "initial", or part of an initialism, if it isn't actually "short" for anything?
- Is there technically a "right" way to treat initials like this, or is the inclusion or omission of the period entirely a matter of preference so long as one is consistent?
- Is there a specific word to describe these sorts of initials?