Theodore Roosevelt: In the Arena of the West took a new look at Roosevelt’s time in the Dakota badlands (1883-87) and his fascination with the American West. Several new books, including Douglas Brinkley’s Wilderness Warrior and Roger Di Silvestro’s Theodore Roosevelt in the Badlands, and new research at the Theodore Roosevelt Center on Roosevelt and Hermann Hagedorn, was the basis of a fresh exploration of what brought Roosevelt to the American West, what he learned there, how his western experiences contributed to the nation’s idea of Theodore Roosevelt, and how his time in Dakota Territory and other western landscapes shaped TR’s presidential policies, including his conservation agenda.
TR: In the Arena of the West featured the unveiling of North Dakota’s first pedestrian statue of Theodore Roosevelt, on the site where he delivered his first great national speech on July 4, 1886; the world premiere of a symphonic arrangement on TR in the badlands by Chris Brubeck; and a reprise of Douglas Brinkley’s Majic Bus adventures in the Dakota badlands.
For further information, see the
symposium's brochure and explore the information in the tabs on this page.
The symposium began on Thursday evening, October 27, with a general session at 7 p.m.; and ended on Sunday, October 30, by 5 p.m. Activities were offered “a la carte,” allowing you to select those in which you have the most interest.
All lectures and panel discussions are free. A registration fee will be charged for meals, featured events, and transportation.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Registration - May Hall
Welcome and Introductions
Keynote Address: Elliott West - “Roosevelt’s West”
Friday, October 28, 2011
Registration/Continental Breakfast - May Hall
Roger DiSilvestro - “Theodore Roosevelt in the Badlands: An Easterner's Sojourn on the Last Frontier”
Panel: “TR in the West Reconsidered”
G. Edward White -“Theodore Roosevelt and the Fashioning of the Cowboy Myth”
Lunch - Student Center (Paid Event)
Simon Cordery - “Taming the Railroads, Taking the Train: Theodore Roosevelt’s Ambivalent Attitude Toward the Iron Road” - May Hall
Clay Jenkinson - “Roosevelt's 1903 Western Transfusion"
Unveiling of Bronze Sculpture - Stark County Courthouse Lawn
Dickinson State University and the Dickinson State University Foundation have collaborated to commission a bronze sculpture of Theodore Roosevelt, to be placed on the site where he gave his first great national speech on July 4, 1886, in Dickinson, Dakota Territory. With generous support from Stark County and from the City of Dickinson, along with individual donors, the statue will be dedicated at the site on Friday, October 28, at 3:30 p.m.
Gifting opportunities are still available. If you wish to contribute, please contact Kevin Thompson at the DSU Foundation – 701-483-2004 or .
A 17.5 x 6 x 5 maquette of the sculpture is available for purchase from the Dickinson State University Alumni and Foundation. For more information, visit their
Social/Dinner – Badlands Activities Center (Paid Event)
In Cowboy Land” performed by the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra - Stickney Auditorium (Paid Event)
Presidents' Hospitality Hour - Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge (Cash Bar)
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Field trip to Medora – dress casual (Paid Event)
Registration for Medora Field Trip/Continental Breakfast - Student Center
Buses leave for Medora
Film debut of
Through the Roosevelt Country with Roosevelt’s Friends - Rough Riders Hotel
Patricia Limerick - “The Winning of the West Revisited”
Panel: “Roosevelt in the Arena of the West”
Presentation on upcoming TRA events
Optional activities: Guided hikes in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Tour of Roosevelt’s Maltese Cross cabin, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park Visitors’ Center
TRA Annual Dinner - Rough Riders Hotel
TRA Distinguished Service Medal Recipients: Edmund Morris and Sylvia Jukes Morris
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Douglas Brinkley - “The Majic Bus” - Student Center
The Majic Bus journey will take most of the daylight hours of Sunday, October 30. Aside from the interstate highway from Dickinson to Medora, almost all of the trip will be on gravel roads. These are high-quality roads, however, and you will find them as enchanting as they are comfortable. There will be bathroom stops in Medora and in Marmarth. Other than that, we will use the facilities on the coaches. Light snacks will be available on the coaches, and a full lunch will be provided at the Pastime Restaurant in Marmarth, North Dakota.
We will be visiting some of the most remote countryside in North Dakota. Roosevelt had adventures throughout the North Dakota badlands, and we have chosen the less often visited southern badlands for the Majic Bus tour. Those who wish to visit the Elkhorn Ranch site will be able to do so on Saturday, October 29. The landscapes we will be traveling through are some of the most beautiful on the Great Plains. No wonder TR fell in love with North Dakota! Please see the
Majic Bus Tour Map for further information (PDF)
Majic Bus tour departs for lower badlands (Paid Event)
Bus returns to Dickinson
Title: “Roosevelt’s West”
: A distinguished scholar and teacher, Elliott West is a recognized authority on the American West. The topics of his seven books have included mining, childhood, saloons, and Native Americans. Biography The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers, and the Rush to Colorado (1998) received five awards including the Francis Parkman Prize, the Caroline Bancroft Prize, and the PEN Center Award. Dr. West’s most recent book, The Last Indian War: The Nez Perce Story (2009), was the winner of the Western History Association’s Caughey Prize and the Westerners International's Best Book award. Dr. West’s teaching has been similarly recognized for excellence. Decorated four times at his own institution, the University of Arkansas, in 2009 he was one of three national finalists for the Robert Foster Cherry Award for outstanding classroom teaching. Elliott West is a fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Henry E. Huntington Library. His service to the academic community includes presidency of the Western Historical Association, leadership in the Arkansas Humanities Council, advisory board member for History Book-of-the-Month Club, and juror for the Pulitzer Prize in History.
ROGER L. DI SILVESTRO
Title: "Theodore Roosevelt in the Badlands: An Easterner's Sojourn on the Last Frontier"
Biography : Roger L. Di Silvestro is well-known for his nature writing, including The Endangered Kingdom: The Struggle to Save America's Wildlife (1989), Reclaiming the Last Wild Places: A New Agenda for Biodiversity (1993), and The African Elephant: Twilight in Eden (1991). Di Silvestro also explored the 1890 shootout between Lakota Indians and the U.S. Army in his book In the Shadow of Wounded Knee: The Untold Final Story of the Indian Wars (2005). His interest in the West, and in Theodore Roosevelt in particular, prompted Di Silvestro’s most recent book, Theodore Roosevelt in the Badlands: A Young Politician's Quest for Recovery in the American West. His article, “Teddy’s Ride to Recovery,” published in Wild West Magazine, won the 2010 Western Writers of America Spur Award for short nonfiction. Mr. Di Silvestro has served as an editor and writer for Defenders of Wildlife and the National Audubon Society and as communications director for the National Parks Conservation Association. He is currently a senior editor at the National Wildlife Federation’s National Wildlife magazine.
G. EDWARD WHITE
Title: "Theodore Roosevelt and the Fashioning of the Cowboy Myth"
Biography: Harvard and Yale educated attorney G. Edward White is the David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia. He has clerked with Chief Justice Earl Warren and been a visiting scholar at the American Bar Foundation, a Guggenheim Fellow, a senior fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a member of the American Law Institute. Dr. White has authored fourteen books, on topics ranging from baseball to constitutional reform, from legal biographies to Theodore Roosevelt. His publications have won accolades from the American Bar Association, the Law & Society Association, the American Historical Association, and the Association of American Law Schools. Dr. White is a member of member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Law Institute, and the Society of American Historians. He has served on the Commission for Undergraduate Education in Law and the Humanities, and taught National Endowment for the Humanities seminars for lawyers and judges. The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experience: The West of Frederic Remington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Owen Wister (1968/rev. 1989) will serve as the basis for Edward White’s exploration of Roosevelt and the creation of the cowboy myth in the American west.
Title: "Taming the Railroads, Taking the Train: Theodore Roosevelt’s Ambivalent Attitude Toward the Iron Road"
Biography : Simon Cordery is Professor of History at Monmouth College, in Monmouth, Illinois. He earned his graduate degrees in history from the University of York and the University of Texas. Dr. Cordery also studied at the British Studies Centre, Canterbury, England, and at the Folger Institute, Washington, D.C. He worked for three years in the nation’s capital as a researcher and editor before returning to graduate school. His research fields are modern British social and labor history; the transatlantic world after 1830; and American labor history. He has published two books, British Friendly Societies 1750-1914 (2003) and Mother Jones: Raising Cain and Consciousness ( 2010), and articles in Biography, the Journal of British Studies, and Labour History Review. He is currently writing a history of railroading in Illinois. Dr. Cordery has presented scholarly papers in France, Great Britain, Greece, and the United States. He is currently an Illinois Humanities Council “Road Scholar” and, since 2000, has served as chair of the Nominating Committee of the National Railroad Hall of Fame.
PATRICIA NELSON LIMERICK
Title : " The Winning of the West revisited"
Biography : Dr. Patricia Nelson Limerick is the founder and chair of the board of the prestigious Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, where she is also a Professor of History. Upon earning her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale, Dr. Limerick taught at Harvard University before relocating to Boulder. Her book Desert Passages: Encounters with the American Deserts (1985) was followed by The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West (1987), a celebrated and provocative reinterpretation of Western American history. Dr. Limerick has received a number of honors for her scholarship and pedagogy, including a MacArthur Fellowship and the Hazel Barnes Prize, University of Colorado’s highest award for teaching and research. She has served as president of several professional organizations, advised documentary and film projects, and completed two tours as a Pulitzer Nonfiction jurist. A prolific essayist, Dr. Limerick regularly engages the public on the op-ed pages of local and national newspapers. At the Center of the American West, she presides over a forum committed to the civil, respectful, problem-solving exploration of important public issues.
Title: "The Majic Bus"
Douglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University and a fellow in history at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. He completed his bachelor’s degree at The Ohio State University and received his doctorate in U.S. diplomatic history from Georgetown University. He then spent a year teaching history at the U.S. Naval Academy and Princeton University. Biography:
While a professor at Hofstra University, Brinkley spearheaded the American Odyssey course, in which he took students on cross-country treks on which they visited historic sites and met seminal figures in politics and literature. He later chronicled these adventures in
The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey (1993).
Brinkley’s most recent publications include
The Quiet World: Saving Alaska's Wilderness Kingdom, 1879-1960 (2011) and The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America (2010). Brinkley is a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times Book Review and American Heritage, as well as a frequent contributor to The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly.
Theodore Roosevelt Association Distinguished Service Medal Recipient
Biography : Edmund Morris was born and educated in Kenya and went to college in South Africa. He worked as an advertising copywriter in London before immigrating to the United States in 1968. His biography The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt won the Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award in 1980. After spending several years as President Reagan’s authorized biographer, he published the national bestseller Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan in 1999. He has since written two additional works on Roosevelt: Theodore Rex in 2001 and the recently published Colonel Roosevelt, as well as Beethoven: The Universal Composer in 2005. Morris has written extensively on travel and the arts for such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Harper’s Magazine.
SYLVIA JUKES MORRIS
Theodore Roosevelt Association Distinguished Service Medal Recipient
Sylvia Jukes Morris was born and educated in England where she taught English literature before emigrating to America. She is the author of
Rage for Fame: The Ascent of Clare Boothe Luce (1997), as well as the definitive biography of Theodore Roosevelt's second wife, Edith Kermit Roosevelt: Portrait of a First Lady (2001).
Below are resources you may find useful to prepare for the Symposium
The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey Douglas Brinkley,
The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America Roger L. Di Silvestro,
Theodore Roosevelt in the Badlands: A Young Politician’s Quest for Recovery in the American West Clay Jenkinson,
Theodore Roosevelt in the Dakota Badlands: An Historical Guide Clay Jenkinson,
A Free and Hardy Life: Theodore Roosevelt's Sojourn in the American West Patricia Nelson Limerick,
The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West Edmund Morris,
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt Edmund Morris,
Theodore Rex Edmund Morris,
Colonel Roosevelt Elliott West,
The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers, and the Rush to Colorado Elliott West,
The Last Indian War: The Nez Perce Story Elliott West,
Growing Up with the Country: Childhood on the Far Western Frontier G. Edward White,
The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experience: The West of Frederic Remington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Owen Wister
Roosevelt in the Bad Lands Carleton Putnam,
Theodore Roosevelt: The Formative Years 1858-1886 David McCullough,
Mornings on Horseback Albert Tangeman Vollweiler,
“Roosevelt’s Ranch life in North Dakota,” University of North Dakota Quarterly Journal, October 1918.
Theodore Roosevelt: A Cowboy's Ride to the White House (DVD), Dorgan Films
TR’s Own Words
Welcome and Introductions at the 2011 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium, October 27, 2011
Elliott West delivers his keynote address, "Roosevelt's West," at the 2011 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium, October 27, 2011
Question and Answer Session with Elliott West at the 2011 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium, October 27, 2011
Opening Remarks at the 2011 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium, October 28, 2011
Roger Di Silvestro delivers his lecture, "Theodore Roosevelt in the Badlands: An Easterner's Sojourn on the Last Frontier," at the 2011 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium, October 28, 2011
"TR in the West Reconsidered" panel with Roger Di Silvestro, Doug Ellison, and Valerie Naylor, moderated by Clay Jenkinson at the 2011 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium, October 28, 2011
G. Edward White delivers his lecture, "Theodore Roosevelt and the Fashioning of the Cowboy Myth," at the 2011 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium, October 28, 2011
Simon Cordery delivers his lecture, "Taming the Railroads, Taking the Train: Theodore Roosevelt's Ambivalent Attitude Toward the Iron Road" at the 2011 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium, October 28, 2011
The Unveiling of the new Theodore Roosevelt bronze sculpture in downtown Dickinson, North Dakota during the 2011 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium, October 28, 2011
Patricia Limerick delivers her lecture, "The Winning of the West Revisited" at the 2011 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium, October 29, 2011 in Medora, North Dakota
The closing panel of the 2011 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium with Elliott West, G. Edward White, Simon Cordery and Patricia Limerick. Moderated by Clay Jenkinson in Medora, North Dakota, on October 29, 2011