About this Collection
The papers of Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), public official, author, decorated veteran of the Spanish-American War, governor of New York, and president of the United States (1901-1909), consist of approximately 276,000 documents (roughly 461,000 images), most of which were digitized from 485 reels of previously reproduced microfilm. Held in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, these papers constitute the largest collection of original Roosevelt documents in the world. The collection contains personal, family, and official correspondence, diaries, book drafts, articles, speeches, and scrapbooks, dating from 1759 to 1993 with the bulk of material from the period between 1878 and 1919.
Roosevelt's papers thoroughly document his career of public service, especially his presidential administration from 1901 to 1909. The materials address the major issues that confronted his presidency, including regulation of corporations, conservation of natural resources, mediation during the Russo-Japanese War, and the construction of the Panama Canal. The papers provide documentation on his service as vice president of the United States, governor of New York, New York City police commissioner, and U.S. Civil Service Commissioner. His experience fighting as a cavalry officer in the Spanish-American War is also documented in this collection. The papers cover Roosevelt's post-presidential pursuits, including the founding of the Progressive Party and his run for the presidency in 1912. The collection also contains substantial material concerning his personal and family life.
The Index to the Theodore Roosevelt Papers, created by the Manuscript Division in 1969 after the bulk of the collection was microfilmed, provides a full list of the correspondents and notes the series number and dates of the items indexed. It spans three volumes, each of which is available online: Volume 1: A-G; Volume 2: H-Q; and Volume 3: R-Z. The information in these volumes is helpful in finding individual letters or documents in the online version. Materials from the Additions series (Series 16) of the collection, which came to the Library from 1964 to 2002, are not listed in the index.
Brief History of the Roosevelt Papers
The Theodore Roosevelt Papers were acquired by the Library of Congress through gift and purchase during the years 1919-2002. In 1917, Roosevelt sent the first shipment of his papers from his Oyster Bay home to the Library of Congress for safe keeping. The only other installment during his lifetime came from his Metropolitan office. In 1919, Roosevelt made his deposits with the Library of Congress a permanent gift. Supplements followed in the immediate years after his death through the assistance of his literary executor Joseph Bucklin Bishop. Edith Roosevelt and other members of the Roosevelt family made valuable additions in later years, including Alice Roosevelt Longworth's 1958 donation of seven volumes of her father's diaries for the years 1878-1884. Other additions to the papers include additional family correspondence, especially with his son Archibald.
The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association, led by Hermann Hagedorn, worked to gather research material concerning Roosevelt to supplement the papers at the Library of Congress. When the association closed its library in New York City during World War II, its collections that had grown to include many Roosevelt papers, especially from his life before and after the presidency, went to the Harvard University Library to form a second major archival collection documenting the life and career of Theodore Roosevelt.
This online edition includes all documents from the Library of Congress microfilm edition of the Theodore Roosevelt Papers plus the Additions (Series 16) to the collection received from 1964 to 2002, which have not been microfilmed and were scanned from the originals. The Roosevelt papers at Harvard University are not included in this online collection.
A fuller history of the provenance of the collection was prepared for the Index to the Theodore Roosevelt Papers, pp. v-xii, and subsequently reproduced in the finding aid (PDF and HTML). A version appears on this website as the essay Provenance of the Theodore Roosevelt Papers.
Description of Series
The Theodore Roosevelt Papers are arranged in 16 series:
- Series 1, Letters Received and Related Material, 1759-1919 (Reels 1-308)
Mainly correspondence with some memoranda. Arranged chronologically. Printed enclosures are filed at the end of the correspondence according to the date of the cover letter.
- Subseries A, Additional Letters Received and Fragments, 1857-1919 (Reels 308-309)
- Subseries B, Letters from Royalty, 1904-1914 (Reel 309)
- Subseries C, Undated Letters. In two period groups: 1901-1909 and 1910-1919 (Reels 309-313)
- Series 2, Letterpress Copybooks, 1897-1916 (Reels 313-362)
This series includes outgoing letters of Roosevelt's wife, Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt, in volumes 105-107. Volume 108 contains the president's personal and financial correspondence, and volume 109 relates entirely to White House social functions. Roughly chronological in arrangement. Each volume has its own index in the front of the volume.
- Series 3, Letters Sent, 1888-1919 (Reels 363-415)
This series consists of two subseries: Carbon Copies, 1894-1919, and Additional Copies, 1888-1918. The first subseries contains mainly letters of Roosevelt's post-presidential period with a few letters from earlier years. The second subseries includes carbon copies, loose letters, press copies, and file drafts. Both subseries are arranged chronologically.
- Series 4, Recipients' Copies, 1887-1918 (Reels 415-417)
This series consists of three subseries: Letters to C. A. Spring-Rice, Jacob Riis, and others, 1887-1918; Roosevelt-John Hay Letters, 1897-1905; and Undelivered Letters, 1898-1918. All three subseries are arranged chronologically.
- Series 5, Speeches and Executive Orders, 1899-1918 (Reels 417-427)
- Subseries A, Speeches and Executive Orders, 1899-1918 (Reels 417-424)
Drafts, typed copies, reading copies, and printed copies of speeches and typescripts of
Executive Orders. Arranged chronologically.
- Subseries B, "White House Volumes," 1901-1909 (Reels 424-426)
Mainly typed transcripts, with a few printed copies, of speeches made by Roosevelt during his presidency on trips and on other special occasions. Compiled by the White
House staff. Arranged chronologically.
- Subseries C, Published Speeches, 1901-1917 (Reels 426-427)
Speeches and messages to Congress. Arranged chronologically.
- Subseries A, Speeches and Executive Orders, 1899-1918 (Reels 417-424)
- Series 6, Press Releases and Proclamations, 1901-1909 (Reels 427-428)
Typed copies of letters and statements concerning Roosevelt and the Roosevelt family, as well as a few proclamations, released by the White House. Arranged chronologically.
- Series 7, Articles and Public Statements, 1886-1919 (Reels 428-429)
Mainly typescript and printed copies of Roosevelt's articles published in The Outlook, the Metropolitan, and the Kansas City Star, and other publications, with related memoranda and a few public statements. Arranged chronologically.
- Series 8, Personal Diaries, 1878-1884 (Reels 429-430)
Pocket diaries in Roosevelt's handwriting. Arranged chronologically.
- Series 9, Desk Diaries, 1901-1909 (Reels 430-431)
Entries mainly concern appointments of Roosevelt with callers at the White House. Arranged chronologically.
- Series 10, Reception Books, 1901-1909 (Reels 431-437)
Official White House guest lists with separate lists containing names and addresses of members of the cabinet, diplomatic corps, Supreme Court, military establishment, and other categories of Washington officials.
- Series 11, Letter Record Books, 1901-1909 (Reels 437-438)
Records of letters received at the White House and forwarded to other government agencies. Entries are listed alphabetically by the first letter of the correspondent's last name. Under each letter of the alphabet correspondence is listed chronologically by the date received.
- Series 12, Shorthand Notebooks (Reels 439-446)
Stenographic notes of Roosevelt's letters and speeches.
- Series 13, Miscellany (Reels 446-452)
This series consists of fourteen subseries:
- Series 13A, Business Papers, 1901-1919
- Series 13B, "A Brief Summary of the Administration of Theodore Roosevelt, Governor, 1899-1900," by William J. Young, 1904
- Series 13C, "The Immigrant in America," a report of the Committee for Immigrants in America, 1913
- Series 13D, Progressive Party Minutes, 1912-1916: 1912; 1912-1916
- Series 13E, Puerto Rico Journals, 1900-1901
- Series 13F, Cross References, 1901-1909: A-C, C-W, and W-Z
- Series 13G, Muster Rolls, 1898
- Series 13H, Miscellaneous Notes and Memoranda, 1881-1920
- Series 13I, Diplomas, Certificates, Maps, and Portrait 1899-1931
- Series 13J, Clippings
- Series 13K, Calling Cards
- Series 13L, Photographs
- Series 13M, Maps and Photostats
- Series 13N, Printed Matter
- Series 14, Additional Correspondence and Other Documents, 1897-1903 (Reel 453)
Donated to the Library of Congress by George B. Cortelyou, Jr., and arranged chronologically into three groups: Precautionary File; General Correspondence; and Speeches.
- Series 15, Scrapbooks, 1895-1909 (Reels 454-485)
Newspaper and magazine clippings relating chiefly to Roosevelt's services as New York City Police Commissioner, Governor of New York, Vice President, and President.
- Series 16, Additions, 1760-1993 (not filmed; scanned from originals)
- Correspondence, speeches, writings, and other papers.