Veronica from Michigan reflects on her experience as a summer intern for the Theodore Roosevelt Center.
As an intern, I have had the opportunity to work with several letters associated with Theodore Roosevelt. For my first assignment, I was responsible for creating and completing records by filling in the creator, date, description, etc. This batch of letters was from the summer of 1912 when Roosevelt was accepting the Progressive Party nomination for President. I found this particularly interesting, as we are in the middle of an election year. Not only were these letters written 100 years ago, but the issues written about are still relevant. It is comforting to know that Americans in the early 20th century were worried about unemployment, the economy, and taxes! While important topics were discussed in some of the letters, most of them were simply to inform individuals of Roosevelt’s absence. Written by the assistant secretary, the recipients of these letters were generally people of plain standing, who were offering their support. Even though these letters could be referred to as “form letters”, it struck me how much they were not. The wording was unique in every case, and everything read so eloquently. Having been on the receiving end of quite a few form letters myself, it was a refreshing change, but I’m sure the assistant secretary was very tired of writing them. Though many of the letters displayed such a polite regard for the concerned citizen they were being sent to, I found one letter in particular to be very amusing. It is a letter from the assistant secretary to Frederick H. Leaky of England, and I can only assume it was written after a very long day at the office.
Letter from the Assistant Secretary of Theodore Roosevelt to Frederick H. Leaky, June 19, 1912. From the Library of Congress Manuscripts Division.
Form letters and all, I have greatly enjoyed peeking into Roosevelt’s life this past summer.