Lisa shares the connection she felt living near the Panama Canal while interning at the Theodore Roosevelt Center.
During part of my internship with the Theodore Roosevelt Center this summer, I lived in Panama, just a few miles from the Panama Canal Zone. And though I was somewhat familiar with President Roosevelt’s role in the construction of the Canal, it was an interesting surprise and coincidence to stumble upon his “St. Louis Speech.”
St. Louis Speech, October 2, 1907. MS Am 1454.50 (150). Houghton Library. Harvard University. Electronic copy sponsored by the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University. For reproduction or publication permission, contact the Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Houghton Library.
In the speech, given over a hundred years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt discusses the financial benefits of the Panama Canal and other tributaries to the American economy. It was startling to be in such close proximity to the Canal while reading the President's words and goals for the Canal. Mr. Roosevelt imagined an achievement for the United States and an engineering marvel.
Today the United States no longer manages the Canal, having handed back ownership to the Republic of Panama in 1999. Needless to say, it was serendipitous having such a special archival connection to my visit to Central America.
Lisa Cruces Welty completed her MS in Information Studies at the University of Texas at Austin in May of 2012, specializing in archival enterprise and academic librarianship. She recently joined the University of Notre Dame this fall as an academic librarian, working in digital libraries and special collections.