FAYETTEVILLE, NC – A lovely painting of the Acropolis hangs in President Harry S. Truman’s home in Independence, Missouri. No one is sure why.
The plaque on the frame says it was a 1954 gift “To President Truman from his faithful friend, G.N. Drakos.”
Mark Marrano, the consul general at the U.S. Embassy in Athens learned about it from a curator at the Truman museum and he hoped Greek-Americans in Fayetteville might know the story.
Marrano first thought Drakos was a native of Evrytania in Central Greece, but having learned that Drakos was short for Drakoulakos, then thought he might be from Mani in the Peloponnese
John Castanes’ late wife Helen’s maiden name was Drakulakos.
He does appear to be related to the donor of the painting
John Castanes’ niece, Angela Drakulakos, sent an email to an embassy official that “My father, Alexander Nicholas Drakulakos, was George’s brother…The three brothers, Fotios, George and Alex as well as my grandfather Nicholas, were Ahepans from High Point in the 1950s.”
George Drakulakos served in the U.S. Army and was a fierce defender of his adopted country, but there is no more information to explain why Drakulakos to send the painting to Truman.
“But the president appreciated the gesture enough to hang the painting and to send a note thanking Drakulakos,” the Observer noted and quoted Marrano that “Although we still are not clear about the motivation behind the gift to President Truman, at least we have identified the real donor and his next of kin…since 1985 when the Truman House was turned into a museum, the painting had been incorrectly attributed.”