Theodore Roosevelt Sr.

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Theodore "Thee" Roosevelt senior (born September 22, 1831 in New York City , † February 9, 1878 ibid) was an American businessman and philanthropist .


Theodore joined the family business Roosevelt & Son , at that time the largest importer of flat glass in New York City, and became a business partner of his father Cornelius . When he finally withdrew from the management in 1865, he passed it on to him and his brother James . Both continued to run the business until 1876, when they finally converted the company into a banking house.

He was a supporter of the Northern States and belonged to the Republican Party . During the civil war he helped raise and equip regiments . He also joined the Union League Club , worked for the Loyal Publication Society and helped set up the hygiene committee. He saw himself confirmed in his actions, as the comfort of the soldiers in the field and those who left their homes improved significantly. In addition, he drafted a bill to create Allotment Commissions , which was passed on December 24, 1861 by the US Congress . US President Abraham Lincoln appointed him one of the commissioners of New York. Theodore also helped create the Protective War Claims Association , which handled the claims of crippled veterans and survivors without charging any fees. The Soldiers' Employment Bureau was established in his home. He was vice president of the State Charities Aid Association , a member of the Board of United Charities, and President of the State Board of Charities . Theodore was a co-founder of the Orthopedic Hospital in New York City, which specializes in the treatment of diseases of the spine and hip, and a co-founder of the Children's Aid Society , where he served as a trustee . In December 1877 he was nominated by US President Rutherford B. Hayes for the post of Collector of the Port of New York , but rejected by the US Senate .

Washroom in Newsboys Lodging House (1867)
American Museum of Natural History on West Central Park and 79th Street in New York (2013)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue in New York (2007)

When his father died in his summer residence in Oyster Bay in 1871, he left him over $ 3 million. Theodore used much of his fortune for charitable causes such as the Newsboys' Lodging House and the Young Men's Christian Association . He was a co-founder of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History .

In his private life he drove a team of four to the park, sailed a boat, loved the woods, participated in every athletic sport and was the heart and soul of every business.

He died at the age of 46 from complications from a gastrointestinal stromal tumor , which caused great pain and prevented him from eating for months. At first he kept the extent of his illness a secret from his eldest son Theodore, who was attending Harvard University at the time. In the end, however, he was informed so that he immediately took a train from Cambridge to New York City. Upon his arrival, Theodore found that his father had died a few hours earlier. The early death of his father had a major impact on Theodore's psyche and the rest of his life.


Theodore senior was born in New York City in 1831, the fifth son of Margaret Barnhill (1799–1861) and Cornelius Roosevelt (1794–1871). His four older brothers were Silas, James , Cornelius junior and Robert . But he also had a younger brother, William, who died at the age of one.

On 22 December 1853 he married Martha Stewart "Mittie" Bulloch (1835-1884) from Roswell ( Georgia ). She was the youngest daughter of Martha P. "Patsy" Stewart (1799–1864) and Major James Stephens Bulloch (1793–1849). Her brother Irvine Stephens Bulloch (1842–1898) and her half-brother James Dunwoody Bulloch (1823–1901) fought for the Confederate States during the Civil War . Their wedding took place at the family estate Bulloch Hall , where she had met her husband in 1849 when he was visiting Roswell for a friend's wedding. The couple had four children together, all of whom were born in their house on 28th East 20th Street , which was a wedding present from Theodor's father:

Elliott was the father of First Lady Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962), the wife of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882–1945) - a distant cousin of the Hyde Park Roosevelts .


In his autobiography, Theodore Roosevelt described his relationship with his father Theodore senior. He gives an insight into the strict lifestyle that his father imposed on himself and his family:

“My father, Theodore Roosevelt, what the best man I ever knew. He combined strength and courage with gentleness, tenderness, and great unselfishness. He would not tolerate in us children selfishness or cruelty, idleness, cowardice or untruthfulness. As we grew older he made us understand that the same standard of clean living was demanded for the boys as for the girls; that what was wrong in a woman could not be right in a man. With great love and patience, and the most understanding sympathy and consideration, he combined insistence on discipline. He never physically punished me but once, but he was the only man of whom I was ever really afraid. I do not mean that it was a wrong fear, for he was entirely just, and we children adored him. ... "

“I never knew any one who got greater joy out of living than did my father, or any one who more whole-heartedly performed every duty; and no one whom I have ever met approached his combination of enjoyment of life and performance of duty. He and my mother were given to a hospitality that at that time was associated more commonly with southern than northern households. ... "

"My father worked hard at his business, for he died when he was forty-six, too early to have retired. He was interested in every social reform movement, and he did an immense amount of practical charitable work himself. He was a big, powerful man, with a leonine face, and his heart filled with gentleness for those who needed help or protection, and with the possibility of much wrath against a bully or an oppressor. ... [He] was greatly interested in the societies to prevent cruelty to children and cruelty to animals. On Sundays he had a mission class. "

In a letter from 1900, Theodore Roosevelt described his father as follows:

"I was fortunate enough in having a father whom I have always been able to regard as an ideal man. It sounds a little like cant to say what I am going to say, but he really did combine the strength and courage and will and energy of the strongest man with the tenderness, cleanness and purity of a woman. I was a sickly and timid boy. He not only took great and untiring care of me - some of my earliest remembrances are of nights when he would walk up and down with me for an hour at a time in his arms when I was a wretched mite suffering acutely with asthma - but he Also most wisely refused to coddle me, and made me feel that I must force myself to hold my own with other boys and prepare to do the rough work of the world. I cannot say that he ever put it into words, but he certainly gave me the feeling that I was always to be both decent and manly, and that if I were manly nobody would laugh at my being decent. In all my childhood he never laid hand on me but once, but I always knew perfectly well that in case it became necessary he would not have the slightest hesitancy in doing so again, and alike from my love and respect, and in a certain sense , my fear of him, I would have hated and dreaded beyond measure to have him know that I had been guilty of a lie, or of cruelty, or of bullying, or of uncleanness or of cowardice. Gradually I grew to have the feeling on my own account, and not merely on his. "

As part of glamorous New York society, Theodore senior has been described by a historian as a man of "good works and good times" .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ McFarland, Philip: Mark Twain and the Colonel: Samuel L. Clemens, Theodore Roosevelt, and the Arrival of a New Century , Rowman & Littlefield (2014, 86)
  2. Renehan, Edward J. Jr .: The Lion's Pride: Theodore Roosevelt and His Family in Peace and War: Theodore Roosevelt and His Family in Peace and War , Oxford University Press, 1998, ISBN 9780198029274 , p. 16
  3. a b c d Theodore Roosevelt on the Five Gateways Genealogy website
  4. a b c Cook, Blanche Wiesen: Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume I, 1884-1933 , Penguin, 1993, ISBN 9781101567463 , page 35
  5. ^ Report of the Protective War Claim Association of the State of New-York (1864) on the website
  6. ^ The Protective War Claim Association , The New York Times, June 21, 1865
  7. ^ Protective War Claim Association. , The New York Times, July 7, 1865
  8. ^ Hawley, Joshua David: Theodore Roosevelt: Preacher of Righteousness , Yale University Press, 2008, ISBN 9780300145144 , 31
  9. ^ Members of the Metropolitan Museum of Art - May 1, 1877
  10. American Museum of Natural History - History 1869-1900
  11. Brands, 1997, p. 80
  12. Thomas Pott on the website
  13. Martha Bulloch Roosevelt on the National Park Service website
  14. ^ Helferich, Gerard: Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin: Madness, Vengeance, and the Campaign of 1912 , Globe Pequot, 2013, ISBN 9781493000760 , page 119
  15. Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace on the website ( Memento of the original dated February 8, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  16. Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography (online)
  17. ^ Lansford, Tom: Theodore Roosevelt in Perspective , Nova Publishers, 2005, ISBN 9781594546563 , p. 2
  18. ^ Bishop, Joseph Bucklin: Theodore Roosevelt and His Time Shown in His Own Letters, Volume 1 , C. Scribner's Sons, 1920, p. 2

Web links