President Theodore Roosevelt was a larger than life man who connected with people, all kinds of people. Cataloging his many documents, I saw numerous requests and advice asked of him. TR was a “go-to” type of man. What surprises and tickles me is the variety of correspondence. Some of the wide variety includes a 30 year old single woman asking for TR to arrange a meeting between her and “some refined intelligent gentleman.”
Another example is an adorable letter from a precocious soon-to-be 7 year old requesting a picture of Roosevelt’s children. The letter includes a drawing of a barrel of kisses for TR.
The next two letters show TR’s appeal to every day, common people. Such people also request help for larger, more pressing problems. One example is this request for help in finding a kidnapped and missing child.
Roosevelt also asked to intervene on behalf of an immigrant family whose two children are in danger of being deported because of an illness.
These letters humor and touch me. Theodore Roosevelt was a leader and seen as someone who truly cared for people, voters or not. The world has changed since a president could correspond with a 7 year old boy, but it brings a smile to my face thinking about that time.
Letter from Donald Brown to Theodore Roosevelt. 1901. Theodore Roosevelt Papers. Library of Congress Manuscript Division. Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library. Dickinson State University.