Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quirky History: President Theodore Roosevelt

Do you know who this is?  It's one of my favorite quirky historical figures.  He was a God-fearing, moral, almost arrogant, overachieving political genius.  The amazing thing about him?  He really tried to live what he preached.  He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, yet was the champion of the common worker.  He was sickly and weak through his childhood years, yet is known as one of the brawniest, rough riding-est, boxing cowboys ever.  I sometimes secretly wonder if he was really a cartoon character.  If he liked something, he'd say "Bully!".  If he was happy, he'd say, "dee-lighted!".  He had a crazy zest for life.  Here are my top ten favorite Theodore Roosevelt anecdotes:

10. People made fun of him for his enormous incisors.

9.  He would read a magazine page, then when he was finished, he'd tear it off, crumple it, and throw it on the floor.  He did that through every magazine he read, then would pick them all up and throw them in the trash.

8.  He ran for office the last time as head of the Bull Moose Party.  Who could do that in politics today?

7.  His mother and first wife died on the same day.  He disappeared into the uncivilized Dakota Territory and became a rancher for years to escape his grief.  He could never bear to speak of his first wife again.

6.  He was a naturalist.  He always had animals in his pockets growing up and would draw pictures of them.   He also loved hunting.  He shot a lion in Africa.

5.  He had a squeaky, old womanish voice that people made fun of.

4.  He hated the nickname Teddy.  No one would dare call him that to his face.

3. He loved the exploits of his roudy boys.  They would bring all kinds of animals into the White House and scare public officials and he thought it was great.  Sometimes he'd excuse himself from meetings to go wrestle with his sons for a few minutes.

2. His second wife, Edith, was his neighbor.  She was shy and introverted and had loved him for as long as she could remember.  She stayed true to him even when he married another and grieved her passing.  She raised his daughter as her own child.

1. When he was police commissioner of New York City, he would go undercover to check up on his subordinates.  He'd wear outlandish poor man costumes to disguise his identity, then make sure the laws were being enforced the way people would claim they were.
They say truth is stranger than fiction.  You couldn't make up a life like one would believe you.

****Editor's Note: For more reading on Theodore Roosevelt, try this book:

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
Photos courtesy of Wikipedia


  1. This was awsome! Thanks for the history lesson.

  2. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I hope you can come back and do some reading. I just got my first book published: Home Fires of the Great War. There is plenty to laugh about in it.:)
    And I also love Teddy Roosevelt.:)