Letter from Theodore Roosevelt to R. T. Bower, February 14, 1903. From Library of Congress Manuscript division.
Sometimes when I am working on copyright review, I’ll hit a lot of letters discussing the same event or person. After a while, one gets bored of a hundred letters in a row all discussing who should be named postmaster of a small town in North Carolina. However, in the last couple of weeks, as I finished up the reels of Theodore Roosevelt’s outgoing correspondence from 1902, I stumbled across a sprinkling of letters all sharing the same subject tag, Families.
Theodore Roosevelt was a big proponent of having large families. He lived in an era when fears of race suicide were rampant as large immigrant families moved to American shores, overwhelming the Anglo-American population. Roosevelt himself had six children and adored the rambunctious household they created. The letters you find when you run a subject search for families in the Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library are all letters complimenting husbands and wives on their fine families, which were often quite large. Notations on the letters indicate that photographs were attached; however, most of these photos have become separated from the original letters, and we have not yet been able to knit them back together.
Many of the letters compliment the parents having large families and express TR's hopes that the children will grow up to be good Americans. We often do not know much about the families themselves; these were not families of senators or famous early 20th century personalities but everyday American citizens writing to their president and having him write back! If you’re interested, check out the full list we have. Run an advanced search for Families, limited to subject and see what you find!