Getting to Know Roosevelt Outside the Presidency

Jun 05, 2012

It’s that time of year again! We have new interns, and former interns, joining us this summer to help make more and more of our digital materials available. We often ask them to share their experiences through a blog post. Here, a returning intern Ali Caron shares her first project of the summer.

This summer I’m working with the Theodore Roosevelt Center as an editor. I spend my time looking over completed records and making sure all of the important information is included. It also means I get to work with a lot of different types of materials and collections. I recently finished reviewing a series of records that focused on Theodore Roosevelt’s time outside the presidency, mainly his youth and the years after the White House. Working with these records gave me a unique look at Roosevelt’s life.

The first item I found that really grabbed my attention was a photograph taken in 1865. It shows a simple New York City street, but it happens to be the day of President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession. As if that were not interesting enough, the house on the corner belonged to Roosevelt’s grandfather, Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt, and in a window on the second story, two boys are barely visible as they watch the procession. One of these boys was Theodore Roosevelt, the other his brother Elliot. I was blown away by the thought of Roosevelt watching this funeral procession, knowing that one day he would be President and would be making history himself.

Abraham Lincoln's Funeral Procession

Abraham Lincoln’s Funeral Procession. From the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site

I also loved looking at all of the random family portraits. I’ve seen many photos of Roosevelt taken during his presidency, or while he held some kind of office, but it was nice to see photographs of him before he was a public figure. There were some great photographs of Roosevelt as a young boy and a few with his siblings that were a lot of fun. My favorite, however, was a photograph of Roosevelt taken in 1918. He’s holding his granddaughter, Edith Roosevelt Derby, and he just looks happy. It’s a simple portrait, but I found it to be very touching. To me it represented a different side of Roosevelt, not the man who was President, but a man who loved his family.

Theodore Roosevelt and Edith Roosevelt Derby

Theodore Roosevelt and Edith Roosevelt Derby. From the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site.

These little finds have made this first project a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see what comes next and I’m really looking forward to continuing my work this summer. I’ll let you know what I find!

Posted by Ali Caron on Jun 05, 2012 in History  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)  |  Share this post

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