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Collection Theodore Roosevelt Papers

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.

A current finding aid (PDF and HTML) to the Theodore Roosevelt Papers is also available online with links to the digital content on this site.

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: