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. This symposium explored 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.

For more information, explore the tabs above.


"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 ScharffVirginia Scharff

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

Kimberly Hamlin

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

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

Katherine Joslin

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





Virginia Scharff opens the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium with her keynote address "If Theodore Roosevelt Were a Woman" on Thursday, September 20, 2018.

Kimberly Hamlin is the first of the presenters on Friday, September 21, 2018, with her talk "Rough Riders, Bearded Ladies, and Suffragists: Gender in the Age of TR"

Stacy Cordery presents her talk "Defining a Woman's Duty: The Effect of the Roosevelt Women on TR's Views About Women"

Panel discussion with Clay S. Jenkinson, Stacy Cordery, and Kimberly Hamlin

Katherine Joslin gives her talk "The Kidskin Library"

The evening's entertainment is a conversation between the presenters and Theodore Roosevelt, portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson, about TR's views of gender, women's roles, suffrage, the workplace, family, sex, and marriage. The discussion is interspersed with a display of fashions from this era.

For more videos, please visit our YouTube channel.