“More than any one man, dear Mr. Roosevelt, your influence & your example during the last 30 years have made our country what she is today, & have inspired her to play the part she is playing …” Edith Wharton wrote those words to Theodore Roosevelt on July 23, 1918.
Today the TR Center publishes a series of letters between Wharton and Roosevelt. The letters show the depth of the relationship TR had with the great American writer of such works as The Age of Innocence, House of Mirth, and Ethan Frome. Topics discussed in the letters range from Wharton’s thoughts on war refugees to communicating feelings of concern after Edith Roosevelt’s accident. As is true of any great friendship, Wharton and TR cared about the well-being of each other’s families. During World War I, Wharton mourned for Quentin. When Theodore Roosevelt died, Wharton wrote an elegy entitled “With the Tide.” Themes of glory and honor, ideas close to TR’s heart, are emphasized in the poem.
For more information on Wharton’s writing during World War I, please refer to Julie Olin-Ammentorp’s Edith Wharton’s Writings from the Great War (University Press of Florida, 2004).
Letter from Edith Wharton to Theodore Roosevelt, July 23, 1918. From the Library of Congress Manuscript Division.