2018 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium

Women in the Arena (and a bit of Roosevelt, too)

September 20-22, 2018

TR and CowgirlFor a man whose whole life appears to embody a Cult of Masculinity, Theodore Roosevelt was surprisingly enlightened about the roles and rights of women. Beginning with his senior thesis at Harvard, and extending through his whole remarkable life, TR argued that women should have better protections and broader rights in American society.

Join us as we explore Roosevelt's relations with the women in his life—and, more importantly, his understanding of the role of women in American politics and American life, including Jane Addams, Margaret Sanger, Emma Goldman, and others.

For more information, explore the tabs above.

Registration for meals and the field trip is closed as of Friday, September 14. Guests are still welcome to join in any - or all - of the talks and panel discussions, as well as the Friday evening entertainment. In addition, the symposium sessions on Thursday evening and all day Friday will be live streamed.

To watch the event, go to http://education.video.nd.gov and use the following login information:

Login: [email protected]

Password: dsu

Microsoft Internet Explorer is the required web browser, and Microsoft Silverlight is required. If prompted, download the free plug-in at https://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/.

UPDATE: Once you have logged in, if you do not see the symposium sessions, click on Advanced at the upper right (under “Hello HE DSU Guest!”), type “symposium” (without quotation marks) in the Title field, and then Search. A list of sessions should appear, with the current one underway listed at the top. Click the play button at the left to begin streaming.

Email [email protected] if you have questions.


"Viewed purely in the abstract, I think there can be no question that women should have equal rights with men; that is, in an ideally perfect state of society strict justice would at once place both sexes on an equality....The qualities needed in the world as it now is being so different from those required in the world as it should be, I shall, in discussing the present question, merely consider the possibility of equalizing men and women before the law, society being still in its semibarbarous state."

Remarks at Harvard University Commencement, June 1880, from his senior thesis, "Practicality of giving men and women equal rights"

(subject to change)

All times are in Mountain Daylight Time.

Thursday, September 20

6:00 p.m. Registration - May Hall 
7:00 p.m. Welcome and Introductions
7:30 p.m. Keynote Address: Virginia Scharff
  If Theodore Roosevelt Were a Woman
8:30 p.m. Book Signing with Virginia Scharff

Friday, September 21

8:00 a.m. Registration/Continental Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Opening Remarks
9:15 a.m. Kimberly Hamlin
   Rough Riders, Bearded Ladies, and Suffragists: Gender in the Age of TR
10 a.m. Q & A with Kimberly Hamlin
10:30 a.m. Break & Book Signing with Kimberly Hamlin
10:45 a.m. Stacy Cordery
   Defining a Woman’s Duty: The Effect of The Roosevelt Women on TR’s Views About Women
11:25 a.m. Q & A with Stacy Cordery
11:45 a.m. Break & Book Signing with Stacy Cordery
Noon Lunch
1:00 p.m. Panel Discussion with Scholars
2:00 p.m. Break
2:15 p.m. Katherine Joslin
   The Kidskin Library
3:00 p.m. Q & A with Katherine Joslin
3:30 p.m. Break and Book Signing with Katherine Joslin
4:30 p.m. Social
5:15 p.m. Dinner
7:00 p.m. "TR on the Hot Seat" - presenters' conversation with Theodore Roosevelt about his views of gender, women’s roles, suffrage, the workplace, family, sex, and marriage

Saturday, September 22

Field trip to Medora, North Dakota

8:00 a.m. Registration for Field Trip/Breakfast
8:30 a.m. Depart for Badlands Ministries Historic Lodge
9:30 a.m. Clay Jenkinson
   23 Crossings at Breakneck Speed: Edith and Corinne in the Badlands
10:30 a.m. Panel with guest scholars - A wide-ranging discussion and synthesis of symposium themes 
11:45 p.m. Lunch and field trip in southern Badlands
4 p.m. Closing reception

Virginia Scharff - “If Theodore Roosevelt Were a Woman”Virginia Scharff

Based on the biography of TR, Virginia Scharff will explore pivotal experiences and ideas in Theodore Roosevelt’s life that would have gone very differently had he been born into his world as a female. Celebrated figures in women’s history, including Edith Wharton, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Alice Longworth, will be considered for comparison.

Virginia Scharff is Distinguished Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Southwest at the University of New Mexico. She has published numerous books including Home Lands: How Women Made the West and Taking the Wheel: Women and the Coming of the Motor Age. Her most recent book, The Women Jefferson Loved, was named a New York Times “Editor’s Choice.” She is also the author of four mystery suspense novels, written under the name of Virginia Swift:  Brown-Eyed Girl, Bad Company, Bye, Bye, Love, and Hello, Stranger.

Kimberly Hamlin - “Rough Riders, Bearded Ladies, and Suffragists: Gender in the Age of TR”

Kimberly HamlinFor generations of Americans, Theodore Roosevelt revolutionized and then personified what it meant to be a man in America. The storied manliness of TR attracted followers and photographers, intimidated opponents, and helped to cement his unique legacy. At the same time, Roosevelt had a lot to say about what the ideal woman should be like—strong, maternal, and very fertile—the type of woman that many Progressive Era women no longer aspired to be. This talk will explore how Roosevelt’s macho image shaped his approach to politics, foreign affairs, and women’s rights, including his stance on women’s suffrage and his relationships with female reformers.

Author of From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women’s Rights in Gilded Age America, Kimberly A. Hamlin researches, writes, and speaks about the history of women in America. She is a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar and is writing the biography of Helen Hamilton Gardener, the suffragists’ lead negotiator to President Woodrow Wilson and Congress and the woman who donated her brain to science to prove the intellectual equality of women. Hamlin is an associate professor of history and American Studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Stacy CorderyStacy Cordery - “Defining a Woman’s Duty: The Effect of The Roosevelt Women on TR’s Views About Women”

Theodore Roosevelt’s sense of women was always bound up in his over-arching commitment to the concept of duty. Duty was his life-long measuring stick. A woman’s duty, for Roosevelt, simultaneously was defined by and transcended her gender. The shaping of his increasingly broad-minded thinking concerning women’s roles began in his own family. His observations of and conversations with his mother, sisters, wives, daughters, daughters-in-law, and nieces helped him work out what became his public positions, many of which found their way into legislation during the Progressive Era. This talk will examine the influences of the women in the Roosevelt family and explore how his unique relationship with them allowed his views concerning women and their public and private duties to evolve, even as they retained aspects of the societal expectations of his mother’s generation.

Stacy Cordery’s biography Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker was a New York Times Notable Book. Cordery has also published two books about Theodore Roosevelt. She is a professor of history at Iowa State University, the bibliographer for the National First Ladies Library, and a visiting distinguished scholar with the Theodore Roosevelt Center. She is currently working on a biography of American entrepreneur Elizabeth Arden.

Katherine Joslin - “The Kidskin Library”

Katherine JoslinPigskin famously covered books by Roosevelt’s favorite male writers. What favorite books by women might we clad in elegant kidskin? What did the ladies teach Theodore Roosevelt about being a woman? With his siblings, he read books by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Adeline Train Whitney, and Louisa May Alcott. Throughout his life, TR devoured dime novels and romances by Augusta Jane Evans, Octave Thanet, The Duchess, Ouida, Charles Egbert Craddock (actually a woman), the Van Vorst Sisters, and Laura Jean Libbey.  We will also look at his friendships with Jane Addams, Lady Gregory, and Edith Wharton, all women in the literary arena. 

Katherine Joslin is a distinguished professor of English at Western Michigan University and founding director of the WMU Center for the Humanities. Among her books are Jane Addams, A Writer’s Life; Edith Wharton and the Making of Fashion; and, with Thomas Bailey, Theodore Roosevelt, A Literary Life


Please make travel and hotel arrangements early to ensure availability. Discounted guest rooms are available for symposium registrants at the following hotels:


10-minute drive from Dickinson State University
532 15th Street W, Dickinson
$79 plus tax
Reservation code "Theodore Roosevelt Symposium"
Reservation deadline is August 31, 2018



Rough Riders Hotel, MedoraROUGH RIDERS HOTEL

40-minute drive from Dickinson State University
301 3rd Avenue, Medora
701-623-4444 or 800-633-6721
$119 plus tax
Reservation deadline is August 20, 2018