Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, 1858 - 1919

portrait of Theodore Roosevelt
Portrait by B. J. Falk (1898)
Theodore Roosevelt signature

Born: 27 October 1858, New York City
Died: 6 January 1919, Oyster Bay, New York

"TR" was sickly and asthmatic as a child, but managed to get into mischief, often involving dead animals which he brought home, studied, and learned to prepare for display. He was educated at home, entering Harvard in 1876; strong in science, philosophy, and rhetoric but coming up short in Latin and Greek. At Harvard he began an exhaustive analysis of the naval battles in the War of 1812 which he published soon after graduation, it was the first balanced analysis of the subject and was immediately adopted by the newly-created Naval War College and a copy was purchased for every major ship in the US Navy. He married Alice Hathaway Lee in 1880, but two days after the birth of their daughter Alice, his mother died of typhoid fever and his wife died of renal failure in a span of twelve hours. He decamped for North Dakota, raising cattle and serving as deputy sheriff until a severe winter wiped out his herd. After returning to New York and remarrying he continued his historical work, serving as president of the American Historical Association. He served on the US Civil Service Commission, the New York City Police Commission, and was named Assistant Secretary of the Navy. When the Spanish-American war broke out, Roosevelt organized the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, known to the press as the Rough Riders they made good copy going up San Juan Hill in Cuba, even if Roosevelt was the only one with a horse. Returning to civilian life Roosevelt was elected governor of New York and became the scourge of the corrupt political machines. To get rid of him, they talked William McKinley into picking TR as his running mate, which backfired when McKinley died six months into his term. He fought monopolists, created the Forest Service and supported other conservation measures, and built the Panama Canal. Four years after leaving office he took another run at the presidency, this time as head of his own Bull Moose party, coming in second and getting shot in the process. (He delivered a ninety minute speech before seeing a doctor.) After the campaign he headed an exploratory mission into the Amazon basin, discovering a 625-mile-long river not previously charted, now know as Rio Teodoro. He received both the Medal of Honor and a Nobel Peace Prize (1906), the only person to combine those, and was the youngest person ever to serve as president.

Biography from Wikipedia and Theodore Roosevelt Association

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