Served: September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
Born: October 27, 1858
Birthplace: New York City
Died: January 6, 1919
Occupations: Author, historian, explorer, conservationist
Political Party: Republican
Spouse: Alice Hathaway Lee (1880-1884), Edith Kermit Carow (1886-1919)
A Macho Man Becomes President
Theodore Roosevelt Jr. is a name synonymous with the idea of hyper-masculinity for many Americans. As the 26th president of the United States, Roosevelt had a larger-than-life persona and many interests outside of politics for which he is equally famous. These interests include hunting, exploring, environmental concerns, and writing.
One of his main interests throughout his life remained politics, and as the leader of the Republican Party and Progressive movement, he achieved a great deal during his presidency, including winning a Nobel Peace Prize.
Sickness, Tragedy, and Perseverance
As a child Roosevelt was often sick, and he suffered from asthma. He was home-schooled because of this, and from an early age he developed a strong interest in nature. His early childhood illnesses seem to have directly contributed to his later love of physical exercise as well as the outdoors.
Roosevelt attended Harvard University and studied biology. After graduation, he immediately went into politics and was elected to the New York State Assembly.
At 22, Roosevelt married Alice Hathaway Lee, his first wife. She died of Bright’s disease after giving birth to their daughter. The same day, Roosevelt’s mother died of typhoid fever. The deaths of the two most important women in his life, both on the same day, deeply affected Roosevelt; he subsequently retired from politics and became a rancher.
In 1886 Roosevelt remarried. His second wife, Edith Kermit Carow, had five children.
Theodore Roosevelt’s Pets
- Bleistein, Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite horse
- Renown, Roswell, Rusty, Jocko, Root, Grey, Dawn, Wyoming, and Yangenka, all horses
- General and Judge, carriage horses
- Algonquin, Archie Roosevelt’s Shetland pony
- Pete, a bull terrier, was a favorite pet
- Rollo, Saint Bernard
- Sailor Boy, a Chesapeake Bay retriever
- Blackjack (Jack), Kermit Roosevelt’s Manchester terrier
- Skip, a mixed-breed dog
- Manchu, Alice Roosevelt’s Pekingese
- Emily Spinach, Alice Roosevelt’s snake
- Snakes belonging to Quentin Roosevelt
- Eli Yale, a Hyacinth macaw also belonging to Quentin Roosevelt
- Tom Quartz, cat
- Slippers, cat
- Josiah, badger (!)
- Rabbit named Peter
- Jonathan, a piebald rat “of most friendly and affectionate nature”
- Two kangaroo rats
- Flying squirrel
- Guinea pigs named Admiral Dewey, Dr. Johnson, Bob Evans, Bishop Doan, and Father O’Grady
- Also: lion, hyena, wildcat, coyote, five bears, two parrots, zebra, barn owl, lizard, roosters, hen, pig, raccoon
MORE PETS! Check out our photo gallery of selected White House pets
“Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick”
After his brief foray into ranching, Theodore Roosevelt returned to politics and held various political and military positions, including governor, vice president, and volunteer and founder of a cavalry regiment during the Spanish-American War named the Rough Riders.
After William McKinley’s assassination, Roosevelt assumed the presidency and championed the causes of trust busting and the regulation of businesses. He was re-elected in 1904, the first president to be re-elected after an assassination, and forged ahead with the building of the Panama Canal and ending the Russo-Japanese War.
After his presidency, Roosevelt traveled extensively throughout Europe and Africa.
Did You Know…?
- One of Roosevelt’s nicknames was “Teddy,” and the teddy bear was named after him.
- Roosevelt wrote many books with subjects ranging from history to hunting to politics. In 1882, he published his first book, The Naval War of 1812.
- Roosevelt believed strongly in a separation of church and state — so much so that he chose not to swear on a Bible during his inauguration.
- Being an ever-athletic president, Roosevelt was interested in a wide variety of sports, including boxing. In fact, at 50 years old, he sustained boxing injuries that left him blind in his left eye. These injuries occurred while in office, though they were a secret.