Manuscript/Mixed Material Letter with illustrated fable, Theodore Roosevelt to Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., 11 July 1890.
About this Item
- Letter with illustrated fable, Theodore Roosevelt to Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., 11 July 1890.
- Created / Published
- 11 July 1890
- Subject Headings
- - Children
- - Presidents
- - Garfield, James A. (James Abram) (1831-1881)
- - Drawings
- - Harrison, Benjamin (1833-1901)
- - Roosevelt, Theodore (1858-1919)
- - Roosevelt, Theodore (1887-1944)
- - Teddy bears
- - Manuscripts
- - Reproduction number: A113 (color slide; pages 1-2)
- - Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), twenty-sixth president of the United States (1901-09), strived for a life that embodied his ideal of assertive masculinity. At various times, he was an outdoor sportsman, explorer, rancher, and soldier as well as being an aggressive political leader and writer on historical and public affairs. While the American people had ample opportunity to observe Roosevelt's public side, he kept his personal relationships private. The letter exhibited here shows an aspect of Roosevelt's life not often on public display--his role as devoted father to his six children.
- - In 1889 President Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) appointed Roosevelt to the United States Civil Service Commission. In reaction to the assassination of President James A. Garfield (1831-1881) by a disgruntled job seeker, the commission had been created in 1883 to reduce patronage politics in federal employment. Roosevelt's appointment injected considerable energy and attracted much publicity to the commission's activities. During his six years with the commission, Roosevelt established a residence in the nation's capital, but he and his family also spent time during Washington's sweltering summers at Sagamore Hill, their Oyster Bay, New York, residence. This letter comes from a period when Roosevelt's duties kept him in Washington while his family summered at Sagamore Hill.
- - From Washington, D.C., Roosevelt sent this letter to be read to his young son, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (1887-1944), who at less than three years of age, could not yet read. In contrast with Roosevelt's tough, determinedly manly public image, in this letter we see the future president as a tender father who addresses his toddler son in childish language and promises to take him to play in the barn and on the beach. He entertains his young son with an illustrated fable about a bear chasing a pony and a cow, which have strayed too far from the barn. The animals race safely home and "make up their minds they will never run away again."
- - In 1903 a new toy, a soft stuffed bear cub, was introduced on the market and quickly became a favorite of young children. Coincidentally, a cartoon appeared depicting President "Teddy" Roosevelt, known as an enthusiastic game hunter, sparing the life of a cute bear cub. The resemblance of the cartoon cub and the stuffed toy bears provoked many to call the toys "Teddy's bears," which quickly evolved into the term "Teddy bear." This letter shows that perhaps naming these huggable bears after Theodore Roosevelt was, indeed, appropriate.
- - In addition to President Roosevelt's papers, the Manuscript Division holds the papers of three of his children: Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Kermit Roosevelt, and Alice Roosevelt Longworth.
- Source Collection
- Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Papers
- Manuscript Division
- Online Format
- IIIF Presentation Manifest
- Manifest (JSON/LD)
Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.
Chicago citation style:
Letter with illustrated fable, Theodore Roosevelt to Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., 11 July. 11 July, 1890. Manuscript/Mixed Material. https://www.loc.gov/item/mcc.045/.
APA citation style:
(1890) Letter with illustrated fable, Theodore Roosevelt to Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., 11 July. 11 July. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mcc.045/.
MLA citation style:
Letter with illustrated fable, Theodore Roosevelt to Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., 11 July. 11 July, 1890. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/mcc.045/>.
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