On August 31, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt gave what historian Kathleen Dalton called “the most important speech of his political career.” At a memorial ceremony for John Brown in Osawatomie, Kansas, Roosevelt spoke at length about his ideals for American government and what citizens should expect from the political leaders. He proclaimed himself for workman’s compensation, labor laws to protect women and children, a graduated income tax and an inheritance tax. It put some of his most radical ideas out into the world for all to hear and changed the course of American political history.
Sagamore Hill, the Roosevelt family homestead, has lived a storied existence. Theodore Roosevelt purchased the property when he married his first wife, Alice Lee. Theodore’s family had summered in the Oyster Bay area for years and he could think of no better place to start his own family. However, with the early death of Alice, construction of the house was almost stopped, until family members managed to convince the grieving Theodore that he still needed a home in which to raise his newborn daughter.
Today, one of our historian interns, Chris from Grand Forks, will share with you how the TRDL has helped with his own research interests as he has helped review our materials for the launch:
A recent paper that I wrote for a graduate seminar investigated the role of an anti-Catholic nativism in Progressive and World War I-era North Dakota. My work on the Theodore Roosevelt collection indicated that President Roosevelt, though not a Roman Catholic himself, treated adherents of this religious organization with respect. He even went so far as to appoint some of them to political offices.
Today, Katie from New York, one of our summer interns, shares some of her discoveries while cataloging in the Theodore Roosevelt digital library collections.
As the volume of letters in the early fall of 1904 increased the focus was frequently on Roosevelt’s re-election efforts and the work of the Republican Committees across the nation. These documents demonstrated how much strategy and hard work went into political campaigns even before today’s continual polling and 24-hour news cycle.
On August 14, 1894, Theodore Roosevelt’s brother Elliott died from a seizure suffered a few days after he attempted suicide by jumping out of a window. It was a tragic end to a life that had slowly disintegrated from a promising start.
Ethel Carow Roosevelt was born on August 13, 1891 at Oyster Bay, New York in the family home, Sagamore Hill. She was the second daughter for Theodore Roosevelt and the first by his second wife, Edith.
The last of our interns are finishing up this month but they still have things to share! Today, Charity from Texas who looks at Theodore Roosevelt’s old West and the hard lessons to be learned there.
Theodore Roosevelt’s writings burst with his personality. Reading his letters was like reading an e-mail from a good friend describing the events of his day, his opinion on a variety of issues. They were truly a joy to read. I was most touched by Roosevelt’s understanding and acceptance of people’s foibles. He gave leaders little leeway in abusing their office or endangering the country. But for the everyday things, he neither turned a blind eye nor did he judge harshly.
As part of their time with us, we ask our digital cataloging interns to write a blog post to share some of their experiences and “finds” while working in the Roosevelt collections. As they start to wrap up their internship hours, we will start to share their blog entries with you. This one is from Ali in New York:
During my internship at the Theodore Roosevelt Center, I have been cataloging letters sent to President Theodore Roosevelt, dated from late August to mid-September of 1905. This was an important time in American history...Reading the hundreds of letters he received in a month, I was able to get a glimpse of history through the eyes of the people making it. Among all of the letters marking important moments in history were letters marking small, but equally important, events. I loved finding these letters while working through my assignment. They gave me a glimpse into the lives of the people, rather than the political events of the day.