A travel journal
to Washington, D.C. by Idler
Quote: Tracking the legendary Bull Moose, Theodore Roosevelt, led me to unexpected places in Washington: up steep hills in Rock Creek Park, along corridors of the Library of Congress, into the lunchtime crush of a fashionable bistro, through halls of the Smithsonian, and to other interesting places.
It is one thing to be driven by circumstance on a journey and quite another to take a more deliberate approach, carefully planning one’s itinerary. I enjoy both methods, but increasingly I find get the most from researched "voyages of discovery."
This journal reflects my interest in an era and in one man who, for me, symbolized what was best about it. While I’ve been a resident of the D.C. suburbs for several decades, I confess that I had never found downtown D.C. that appealing. Finally, however, I was moved to go on a private odyssey in search of Theodore Roosevelt. . . and I gained a new perspective on Washington.
Before visiting, orient yourself to the general layout of the Mall and surrounding areas. You’ll save yourself a lot of confusion and your feet will thank you. You can also get a good orientation by taking one of the many sightseeing trolleys.
Most museums and major sights become crowded later in the day. If there’s something you particularly want to see, plan to be there when it opens. Pace yourself. There’s no way you can do it all in a day, so relax. Take a break in one of the lovely gardens tucked between the Smithsonian museums or have a cup of tea in one of the quieter museum cafes.
The Metro is clean. The Metro is safe. The Metro is fast. A day Metro pass (good after 9:30 a.m. until closing) is only five bucks. What’s not to like about the Metro?
Okay, so you can’t eat on the Metro. They’re picky about that. And you should stand to the right on the escalators so that the people late for those Very Important Meetings can rush by you on the left.
Hotel | "A "Dee-lightful" Stay at the Bull Moose B&B"
The Bull Moose Bed and Breakfast sits on a nicely-landscaped corner lot. We had the good fortune to come on a lovely late spring day, with the earliest flush of summer blooms, including a lovely oakleaf hydrangea near the B&B’s gate.
Upon entering, we found an envelope containing a welcome letter and the key to our room, "Kermit on Safari." Perhaps a word of explanation is in order here. The ten rooms in the Bull Moose are named after and decorated with Rooseveltian themes, such as the "Rough Rider Room," "The Square Deal," and "The Sequoia."
Okay, I admit it. I’m a sucker for a themed anything. The notion of Roosevelt-themed rooms – if they were well done - intrigued me. I was not disappointed. "Kermit on Safari" was a cozy room with masculine, rustic-looking furnishings. A queen bed decked out with a leopard-pattern throw and zebra-stripe cushions had pride of place, with antique steamer trunks, a distressed wardrobe, a manly leather chair, a simple desk, wooden shutters, and wicker lamps completing the furnishings. Various pictures of T.R. and his son Kermit on safari in Africa accented the room. I was especially happy to find the room had a large, quiet ceiling fan, for nothing makes me sleep better than a gentle breeze.
Everything was meticulously clean in the room and its small bath, and thoughtful touches – bottles of spring water, Q-tips in a bathroom canister – made us feel at home.
However, I was torn between taking a nap on the comfortable bed and going downstairs to sit in a capacious armchair and read one of the newspapers laid out on the coffee table. So I did both. The Bull Moose is quiet, especially given that it’s in the city, with a relaxed, almost contemplative atmosphere. Light filtered through trees streamed through the paneled windows, setting off the warm russet tones of the elaborate antique oak fireplace, detailed molding, and oversized plush armchairs. Lovingly restored houses have a special quality that no modern luxury hotel can match.
I must put in a good word for the young woman – I neglected to learn her name – who was our hostess at breakfast the next morning. She showed a genuine concern for the guests, arranging a taxi for one, advising metro routes to another, and going online to find information for us. Her warm hospitality was matched only by the excellent breakfast of fresh fruit, assorted cereals and baked goods, juice, and delicious coffee. We lingered over breakfast, taking cups of coffee into the lounge with us, and sat happily reading the morning paper before setting out to explore Washington.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 14, 2002
Bull Moose Bed & Breakfast on Capitol Hill
101 5th Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
The Old Ebbitt bills itself as the oldest saloon in Washington, but this is somewhat disingenuous as its location has changed several times. A boarding house in Chinatown originally housed the Old Ebbitt, which was where Presidents Grant, Andrew Johnson, Cleveland, and Roosevelt came to refresh themselves at the stand-around bar. When the boarding house was demolished, the establishment moved to the National Press Building on F Street, then moved again when that building was razed. However, the contents of the saloon were put up for auction and the owners of Clyde’s of Georgetown snapped them up, happy to get "a lot of history and myth" for their money. The new proprietors have played that historical legacy to the hilt, and the heady Gilded Age atmosphere of the new restaurant is so thick you can practically chew it. The place is "deservedly mobbed" at lunchtime, while reservations are essential for dinner.
The grill is divided into several sections. The crowd in the opulent, paneled Main Dining Room is a virtual who’s who of White House staffers, lobbyists, journalists, and Capitol Hill types intermixed with goggle-eyed tourists. The decoration is Edwardian men’s sporting club, with museum-quality paintings and antiques. Downstairs is a handsome private dining room, while to the side are separate areas for an Oyster Bar, Corner Bar, and Grants Bar, which features a large painting of a reclining nude. Elaborate murals of Washington sights are painted on various ceilings and walls.
While the main dining room is where the action’s at, the Atrium offers a less frenetic, garden-like atmosphere under tall palm trees in an almost hushed marble foyer. This is where a friend and I had lunch after a free noontime concert at the nearby Church of the Epiphany. I splurged and had the Maryland crab cakes, while she opted for a salad with gorgonzola cheese. Neither item was particular expensive by Washington standards, though frankly the food didn’t match the setting. (I confess, though, that being a Marylander makes me finicky in the matter of crab cakes.) The menu changes daily but generally offers upscale pub fare as well as "oysters of the day" from the raw bar.
Don’t leave without looking at the Old Bar, where those famous Roosevelt game trophies are mounted. The maitre ‘d informed me that the two wooden bears placed along the bar once belonged to Alexander Hamilton. One of the bears was hollowed out and used to hide bottles of liquor during the Prohibition.
The power lunch crowd, a heady atmosphere, and hearty food – that’s the Old Ebbitt Grill.
Old Ebbitt Grill
675 15th Street North West
Washington, District of Columbia 20005
A farmer’s market is set up outside under a long awning set before the brick building housing the South Hall Market, home to quality florists, butchers, delicatessens, fruit vendors, bakers, fish sellers, and, most notably, the Market Lunch.
On a busy Saturday, the line for the Market Lunch snakes through the hall and out the door, but don’t let this deter you. The line moves relatively quickly. Standing in it will give you ample time to survey what others are eating that looks good. My decision was made the instant I saw a patron hefting a huge fried fish sandwich– the fillets a golden brown and the crusty bread freshly baked on the premises. This noble sandwich is a mere $3.95. I had to give one of the three big pieces of fish to my bottomless-pit husband as it was more than I could handle. For an additional $1.50, you can add two "sides," such as a mound of French fries or tangy coleslaw.
The Market Lunch was opened back before the term "low-density lipoprotein" began to strike fear in the hearts of Americans. Almost everything on the menu is fried - fried perch, fried clams, fried oysters, fried shrimp – but there are also two types of crab cakes (shredded or lump) and savory North Carolina-style barbecue on offer, along with down-home accompaniments such as corn on the cob. For seventy-five cents, add iced tea (sweetened or un-), sodas, or lemonade (medium or sweet). The Market Lunch also serves homestyle breakfasts featuring grits, bacon, eggs, scrapple, and pancakes.
Everything on the menu is very reasonably priced, though be forewarned that this is not a place to linger. People come here to EAT, perching themselves on stools along a long crowded counter or taking their overflowing plates outside to one of the picnic tables. A hand-lettered sign declares. "No saving seats, no reading newspapers. Market Lunch patrons only. $100 fine for violations." I couldn’t help but wonder who enforces those rules; the friendly ladies behind the lunch counter didn’t look like candidates. The sign was more bark than bite, I decided, but the meaning is clear: eat your food and go about your business.
Some postprandial exercise was in order, so we strolled around the market, buying a teapot at the flea market across the street and eyeing straw hats, antiques, silver jewelry, oriental rugs, and watercolor paintings at the arts-and-crafts fair. As we left, my sole regret was that we didn’t live right around the corner from the Market Lunch.
225 7th Street South East
Washington, District of Columbia 20003
Attraction | ""Over, Under, or Through" - TR in Rock Creek Park"
One man who did appreciate Rock Creek Park, however, was Theodore Roosevelt. When he first became president he was a vigorous 42 year old, an advocate of "the strenuous life" fond of chopping down trees on the outskirts of Washington and swimming across the Potomac. The press had a field day covering his athletic outings. Roosevelt was particularly fond of what he called "scrambles," exhausting cross-country hikes. His favorite place in Washington for these expeditions was Rock Creek Park, where he led members of his "Tennis Cabinet" and various hapless foreign diplomats on grueling hikes. His motto was "Over, Under or Through – But Never Around."
In January 1905, for example, he led a group of nine boys, including three of his sons, on a hike through Rock Creek Park. "I do not think that one of them saw anything incongruous in the President’s getting as bedaubed as mud as they got," he wrote, "or in my wiggling and clambering around jutting rocks, through cracks, and up what were really small cliff faces, just like the rest of them."
While the boys may have not found the President’s behavior odd, others were less forgiving. "Theodore!" Senator Henry Cabot Lodge once exclaimed, "if you knew how ridiculous you look up in that tree, you’d come down at once!"
The challenging "Theodore Roosevelt Trail" winds its way through gorges and woodlands of Rock Creek Park, but a hiker can rest at the Jules Jusserand Memorial bench near Pierce Mill on Beach Drive. Jusserand, the French Ambassador, was like Roosevelt an avid birdwatcher. The natty Jusserand gamely followed T.R. on many excursions, writing of one occasion when they forded a creek, "I, too, for the honor of France removed my apparel, everything except my lavender kid gloves. The President cast an inquiring look at this as if they, too, must come off, but I quickly forestalled any remark by saying, ‘With your permission, Mr. President, I will keep these on; otherwise it would be embarrassing if we should meet ladies.’"
Taking a drive or stroll through Rock Creek Park makes a refreshing change from the federal regularity of downtown Washington. Stop by the Nature Center off of Military Road for a guide and orientation to the park’s many facilities, which include a public riding stable, the Carter Barron amphitheater, a public golf course, and a planetarium.
Rock Creek Park, Nature Center/Planetarium
5200 Glover Road NW
Washington, DC 20015
Attraction | ""Light gone out" - TR at the Library of Congress"
The normally wordy Roosevelt made but a single entry in his pocket diary that day: a large black X with the words, "The light has gone out of my life" beneath it. Afterwards, he rarely mentioned his wife. It was as if he were putting an event too painful to contemplate behind him.
For insight into the inner Roosevelt, historians rely on his private papers, over 250,000 of which are housed at the Library of Congress. On a recent visit, the pocket diary containing the above entry was on display in the "American Treasures" exhibit on the second floor, in a glass case also containing diaries of Walt Whitman, Clara Barton, and George Patton. Elsewhere in the exhibit are documents from the Progressive Era: manuscripts by Ida R. Tarbell and other "muck-rakers", a charming photo of the Roosevelt children lining up for "roll call" at the White House, and newsreel footage of the Spanish-American war, the war that made T.R. an American icon.
T.R.’s personal hero was Abraham Lincoln, and numerous Lincoln artifacts are in evidence, including the contents of his pockets on the night he was assassinated. To walk through the exhibit is to walk through American history. Here is George Washington’s school copybook; there the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. Items are selected and rotated from the library’s 121,000,000-object collection.
"American Treasures" is divided into three parts: Memory, Reason, and Imagination, the organizing themes of Thomas Jefferson’s personal library. In truth I can scarcely do justice to this single exhibit at the Library of Congress, whose architectural and cultural glories are legion. By taking a narrower approach, tracking T.R., I soon realized that had I picked virtually any figure of importance in American history I would have been richly rewarded.
An interesting mental game to pursue at the exhibit was to find the T.R. connections. In the "Imagination" section a first edition of Owen Whister’s The Virginian is displayed. Roosevelt was a friend of Whister’s, and like him was an Eastern "dude" who went west, became a rancher, then came back East to write about – and romanticize – the life of the cowboy. Next to Whister’s book is a letter from Frederick Remington, whose paintings and sculptures did so much to establish the Wild West in the popular imagination. Remington, also a T.R. confederate, illustrated many of his books.
Noted for his prodigious reading habits, Roosevelt liberally exercised his presidential borrowing privileges at the Library of Congress. While he was a man of action, he was also one of our most intellectually accomplished presidents. "He was our kind," said Robert Frost. "He quoted poetry to me. He knew poetry."
Jefferson's Legacy: The Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave, SE
Washington, D.C., United States 20540
Attraction | ""Nothing More Beautiful - TR at the Forest Service"
Roosevelt set up the Forest Service in 1905, at a critical point in conservation history. He opposed the unrestricted exploitation of the forest reserves that the "land grabbers," as he called them, sought. Accordingly, he planned to set aside National Forests as part of a broader Agricultural Bill. However, the timber industry pressured Congress into attaching a rider limiting the president’s ability to set forest lands aside. Roosevelt outwitted the timbermen in a classic end-run maneuver by signing an additional 16 million acres of forest over to federal protection before approving the bill. Before anyone realized it, Roosevelt had succeeded in setting aside an area of forest roughly the size of France, Belgium, and The Netherlands combined.
Of course, the folks at the Forest Service museum have a lot to say about T.R., and they were more than happy to talk to me about him on the day I visited. The three women at the front desk were extremely welcoming, and they showered me with Forest Service publications before I left. The museum is geared primarily toward schoolchildren but is a place adults can enjoy as well. The central display area is imaginatively set up like a rustic cabin, with snowshoes, skis, canoe paddles and other appurtenances of outdoor life set here and there. Five brief videos telling the Forest Service story are shown in rotation on screens set into the walls. Of course there are sections on T.R.’s part in establishing the Forest Service, but even more on the man he selected to head the newly-created department, his close friend and fellow ardent conservationist, Gilford Pinchot.
Roosevelt, Pinchot, Aldo Leopold, and others associated with the early days of the Forest Service were true visionaries, and the museum pays modest but moving homage to them. "There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of giant sequoias and redwoods," wrote T.R. "Our people should see to it that they are preserved for the children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred."
Despite all odds, this vision has endured. The legacy we enjoy today arose from T.R.’s peculiar blend of concern for the common man, his love of the wilderness, and his headstrong willingness to seize the bull by the horns and make it so. "Is there any law that prevents me declaring Pelican Island a National Bird Sanctuary?" T.R. once asked, scarcely waiting for an answer. "Very well, then," he said as he reached for his pen, "I do declare it."
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 14, 2002
USDA Forest Service
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, District of Columbia 20250-0003
Attraction | "TR at the National Museum of American History"
The natural place to begin a T.R. hunt is in"The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden" exhibit on the third floor just off the escalator. A couple of years back several enlightened curators were given full rein in what had been a random display of presidential artifacts and gave it focus; today it’s one of the more successful displays in the museum.
The 900-some items in the exhibit illustrate how the occupants of the White House have shaped or been shaped by the office. The president’s various roles - ceremonial, military, political – are demonstrated with lively interactive exhibits. For example, a presidential podium and teleprompter are set up under bright lights next to a large monitor screen, and extroverted museum-goers can entertain others by declaiming a selected presidential speech.
Another more somber area is devoted to assassinations. Most of this display focuses on Lincoln, but there are also artifacts from the assassination attempt on Roosevelt during his 1912 "Bull Moose" campaign. T.R. was shot in the chest on the way to giving a speech, the bullet denting his metal eyeglass case and going through a folded 50-page speech he had in his breast pocket. Roosevelt insisted on going on to give the speech, standing dramatically before the crowd waving the first page of his speech rent by the bullet. "It takes more than that to kill a bull moose!" he thundered. In fact, there is good reason to believe that had his prepared speech been any shorter the bullet would have pierced his heart.
The "American Presidency" contains ample Rooseveltiana. Some of the more interesting items are merchandise, such as a "Roosevelt whistle" modeled after T.R.’s famous teeth. A nearby plaster cast of Roosevelt’s mouth makes it clear that the whistle’s dimensions are essentially correct. The most famous item associated with Roosevelt was, of course, the Teddy bear. One of the earliest teddies, made by the Ideal Toy Company, is on display, along with a T.R. "Rough Rider" doll. Among Roosevelt’s personal effects are the folding desk he used during his African travels and a pair of chaps he wore on his ranch in the Dakota Territory. And, as TR was the first president to be filmed, there are flickering images of him chopping down trees around the White House in the media section.
Near the exhibit’s exit a vast museum shop contains just about every presidential key-chain, tea-towel, postcard, or do-dad ever produced, including T.R. barbecue sauce and T.R. Christmas ornaments. Happily, there’s also a fine selection of books by and about T.R. Oh, and uh, there are lots of books on those other forty-two guys as well.
Smithsonian National Museum of American History
14th Street And Constitution Avenue, NW
Attraction | "Spirit of the Wilderness - Theodore Roosevelt Isle"
Just east of Key Bridge in the Potomac River lies a small island with a varied history. Once home to Anolostan Indians, it passed through several well-known colonial families’ hands, including George Mason’s son’s. Later it hosted a unit of black Union troops during the Civil War. In the late 1800’s, the Strathmore family built a mansion on the island, but a dramatic turn of events forced their departure. The story goes that the daughter of the family planned to elope with an Englishman who sent Indian messengers to the house to tell her that he was coming. Her enraged father killed the messengers, and in turn an Indian chief set the mansion ablaze in revenge.
Little of note happened after that, the island reverting to woodland, until the Theodore Roosevelt Association purchased it in 1931 and donated to the National Park Service with the understanding that a TR memorial would be built there. Initially there were plans to build a 200-car parking lot on the island, allowing vehicular access, but Alice Roosevelt Longworth, TR’s outspoken daughter, was incensed. She declared, "That lovely, wild island should be left just as it is."
As was usually the case, Alice got her way. Today the island stands a wild oasis just across from the gleaming buildings of downtown Rosslyn.
Countless times driving into Washington from Maryland along the G.W. Parkway, I’d passed by the island and wondered about it. However, there is only access coming from the opposite direction, away from Washington. Resolved to visit the island, one fine spring day we turned around at Memorial Bridge and came back up the parkway.
On weekends the smallish parking lot across from the island is usually full, but on a weekday morning there were only a handful of cars. We walked across the long footbridge spanning the Potomac to the island, then stopped at the bulletin board the Park Service has set up. The maps there show several trails, the longest going some 2-1/2 miles around the island’s shoreline. We chose to head straight toward the memorial set in the center of the island.
It’s a lovely place. A 17-foot statue of Roosevelt in a characteristic pose – hand raised in exhortation, the famous teeth bared – stands before an immense slab of granite. The memorial, flanked by woods, features moats on either side of a large circular plaza, with low granite bridges arching out across the waters. Large standing tablets bear T.R. quotations. Birdsong vies with the sound of distant traffic and airplanes heading into National Airport.
A large snapping turtle swam lazily in the moat on the day we came. Visitors have reported seeing foxes on the island, and the fishing is good from the island’s shores. In May, the majestic purple-flowered paulownia trees are in bloom.
I think T.R. would have liked it.
Theodore Roosevelt Island
Attraction | "TR and the Freer Gallery of Art"
Including the Freer Gallery in a T.R.-themed journal is admittedly a bit of a stretch, but not as much as you might think. Roosevelt, by his own admission, was no art connoisseur. However, had he not personally intervened, the Freer Gallery would probably never have been built. As the Freer, with its hushed, cool marble halls built around a lovely central courtyard, is one of my favorite places in Washington, I feel a personal indebtedness to T.R. whenever I seek refuge there on a hot summer’s day.
When wealthy Detroit businessman and art collector Charles Lang Freer wanted to donate his extensive collection of Asian and American art to the Smithsonian in 1904, the Board of Regents was not inclined to accept it. Short on funds and focused exclusively on the sciences, the Smithsonian directors were suspicious of new endeavors. However, Freer knew Roosevelt, and soon T.R. took a personal interest in the matter, exerting his not-inconsiderable influence. The regents duly accepted Freer’s bequest. The Freer Gallery of Art thus become the first Smithsonian museum dedicated to the arts.
The Freer Gallery is peculiar in – or should I say distinguished by – the fact that it represents the personal tastes of essentially one man. Freer stipulated that his collection be neither added to, loaned, or borrow from other sources, although he later agreed to allow additions to the ancient Asian collection. The objects a visitor sees at the gallery are all from Freer’s own collection or have been added to a collection he started. The displays of Japanese screens and pottery, Chinese bronzes and calligraphy, and Egyptian and Near Eastern artifacts are exquisite.
But it is in the area of turn-of-the-century American painting that the Freer truly shines. The gallery houses one of the largest – if not the largest - collection of works by James McNeill Whistler, including the famous "Peacock Room" originally done for Frederick Leyland’s London home. Roosevelt, I might add, was a great admirer of Whistler, but it is the work of another artist Freer collected, Abbott H. Thayer, that establishes a true artistic connection between T.R. and the Freer.
Thayer, like Roosevelt, was a dedicated conservationist and avid birdwatcher. The two men shared similar interests and were friends and frequent correspondents. An eccentric blend of scientist, naturalist, and artist, Thayer formulated a theory of natural protective coloration, and in 1909 he published a book on the subject. His ideas were not well received, however. Chief among his critics was fellow naturalist Roosevelt, who took exception to his theories. The two men had a bitter falling out.
However, Thayer was one of the few men to have the last laugh on T.R. His ideas were later used during W.W.I, when the science of "camouflage" was born. And whom did Thayer contact about a possible military application for his theories? Why, none other than Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Freer Gallery of Art
1000 Jefferson Dr SW
Washington, District of Columbia 20560
Attraction | ""Last Chance" -TR at the Museum of Natural History"
Wrong. The newly-renovated display in the Rotunda gives credit to another. I felt saddened by my disillusionment.
However, there are numerous birds and mammals bagged by Roosevelt in the Smithsonian, which houses the world’s largest collection of mammals and the third-largest ornithological collection.
Back in his boyhood, T.R. had his own small natural history museum, with birds and animals he skinned and prepared himself after learning taxidermy from the man who once worked for Audubon. Young Roosevelt was above all things an enthusiastic naturalist; at one point he contemplated going into some branch of the natural sciences. Of course, he took quite a different path, but the boyish naturalist was never far below the veneer of the politician.
In 1909, having seen his designated successor, Taft, follow him as president, Roosevelt set out on a collecting trip in East Africa sponsored by the Smithsonian. He and his son Kermit between them shot 512 specimens, most of which went to the Smithsonian.
The truth of the matter, however, is that Roosevelt was not the best of shots. Myopic from birth, he later concealed the fact that he’d lost sight completely in his left eye during a boxing accident at the White House. But he was an undisputed authority on big game, and he more than compensated for his poor vision by his courage and cunning as a hunter. His tales of hunting grizzlies out west and stalking lions in Africa make thrilling reading.
Unfortunately, on my most recent trip to the Smithsonian, the Mammal Hall had been closed for much-needed renovation, so I was foiled in my search for possible Roosevelt specimens. I made do by visiting the African ethnographic exhibit, the Orkin Bug Museum (a personal favorite), and a stroll through the revamped Gem and Mineral Hall, all the while recalling that Roosevelt had been a pan-enthusiast: bugs, minerals, fossils, you name it – if it had to do with natural phenomena, he collected it.
Roosevelt once wrote, "Life is a great adventure…accept it in such spirit." It was his willingness to accept one last great adventure that proved his undoing, however. In 1913, he joined an expedition to Brazil, on a 900-mile journey through the jungle and up the uncharted "River of Doubt" (later renamed Rio Roosevelt in his honor). He nearly died en route. His health shattered, he suffered recurring bouts of malaria until his premature death six years later.
His family and friends had pleaded with him not to go. He had to, he replied. "It is my last chance to be a boy again."
That quality of being a boy never left him. "The thing you have to remember about the President," said his good friend Cecil Spring Rice, "is that he’s about six."
And yet surely, in a way, that was a compliment.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
10th Street & Constitution Avenue NW
1. What relationship was Eleanor Roosevelt to T.R.?
a. His cousin
b. His niece
c. His daughter
d. No blood relation
2. T.R. selected his "Rough Riders" from a pool of over 23,000 enthusiastic volunteers, drawing a disproportionate number from which of the following groups?
a. Cowboys, Ivy League athletes, and Native Americans
b. Black "Buffalo Soldiers," cavalry veterans, and circus riders
c. West Point graduates, sharpshooters, and Pinkerton men
d. Working class men, non-commissioned officers, and recent immigrants
3. What condition did T.R. suffer from in his youth?
4. Which of the following is NOT a T.R. quote?
a. "Speak softly and carry a big stick."
b. "No president has ever enjoyed himself as much as I."
c. "A splendid little war."
d. "Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground."
5. T.R. graduated from which of the following universities?
6. T.R. was the first American president to accept which honor?
a. The Congressional Medal of Honor
b. The Medal of Freedom
c. The Pulitzer Prize
d. The Nobel Peace Prize
7. T.R. was the first president to do this:
a. have a child born in the White House
b. ride in an airplane
c. hold regular press briefings
d. attend a baseball game
8. T.R. served in all but one of the following capacities:
a. Assistant Secretary of the Navy
b. New York City Police Commissioner
c. New York District Attorney
d. Governor of New York
9. Who were Jonathan Edwards, Eli Yale, and Bishop Doane?
a. TR’s trusted servants
b. TR’s children’s pets
c. companions on T.R.’s Smithsonian-sponsored expedition to Africa
d. Rough Riders
10. T.R. drank about a gallon of WHAT a day?
1 – B. Eleanor was the only child of T.R.’s brother Elliott. She later married her distant cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt and was given away at her 1905 wedding by her uncle, the President. After the ceremony, TR turned to Franklin and said, "Well Franklin, there’s nothing like keeping the name in the family." Many of the guests at the wedding were more interested in seeing TR than the ceremony, almost completely ignoring the newlywed couple. TR’s daughter Alice, who was noted for her acerbic wit, later remarked, "Father always wanted to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral."
2 – A. The Rough Riders included several hundred cowboys, several dozen Indians, and any number of assorted upper-crust athletes: polo players, Princeton quarterbacks, steeplechase riders, oarsmen, and pugilists. Many of the recruits knew T.R. personally. Some had known him during his time out West, where he earned the respect of fellow ranchers and cowboys despite his dandified speech and dress. (Once, during a cattle round-up, T.R. admonished a cowboy to "Hasten forward quickly there!" The other cowhands practically fell out of their saddles laughing upon hearing this. T.R.’s phrase was repeated and spread throughout the Bad Lands, where thirsty cowboys would call for the bartender to "hasten forward quickly there!" with their drinks.) Along with these hardened Western characters, T.R. choose a number of Eastern acquaintances or acquaintances-of -acquaintances. Approached by one athletic-looking young man during recruiting, Roosevelt smiled broadly and remarked, "I know you. You are the man who saved the day for Harvard in the great football game with Yale. You are one of the kind of men we want." T.R.’s selection process, though erratic, was highly effective; furthermore, he treated all the men equally, from rough-neck cowboy to Eastern dandy. They were devoted to him.
3 – B. T.R.’s childhood was dominated by his battles with severe asthma, and his entire family was affected by his alarming attacks. Finally, T.R’s father had a heart-to-heart with him: "Theodore, you have the mind, but you have not the body… you must make your body." T.R. was thereafter taken to a gymnasium for daily workouts; later, the Roosevelt home was equipped with a private gym, where T.R. spent countless hours swinging at punching bags, lifting dumbbells, and hoisting himself onto the horizontal bars. Ultimately, T.R. conquered his asthma and became an ardent advocate of the "strenuous life."
4 – C. Ambassador John Hay, writing from London to Theodore Roosevelt, described the Spanish-American War as "a splendid little war."
5 - C. T.R. attended Harvard, where he did extremely well in the subjects that interested him such as zoology and well enough in those that didn’t. He spent money in a grand style and was regarded on the whole as a harmless "little fellow." In later years T.R. remarked that Harvard had done little to prepare him for "the big world," though perhaps he paid a back-handed compliment to the value of a college education or at any rate the educated classes when he noted that, "A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad."
6. – D. This is a trick question. T.R. was the first President to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (for mediation in the Russo-Japanese War; he was, incidentally, also the first American to receive a Nobel). T.R. was also the first – and to date only - president to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, for his valor at San Juan Hill. This was a distinction he greatly wished for but never received during his lifetime. His descendents continued to push for it, however, and the Congressional Medal of Honor was awarded to him posthumously in 2001. Of course, he wasn’t on hand then to accept it! TR’s oldest son, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., was also awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor, posthumously.
7 -- B. Not only was T.R. the first president to ride in an airplane, he was also the first president to ride in an automobile and the first to be submerged in a submarine. (Grover Cleveland was the first president to have a child born in the White House - the Baby Ruth candy bar was named after her. Woodrow Wilson was the first president to hold regular press briefings, while Benjamin Harrison was the first to attend a baseball game.)
8 – C. In fact, T.R. wouldn’t have been qualified to act as a district attorney, as he never completed his law degree at Columbia, dropping out after one year to pursue politics. Never one to let the law get in the way of his larger purposes, Roosevelt once undertook to expound on the legal rights of the United States to the Cabinet after he had engineered Panama’s succession from Colombia. His Attorney-General, Philander Knox, merely sighed, "Oh, Mr President, do not let so great an achievement suffer from any taint of legality."
9 – B. Jonathan Edwards was a black bear cub, Eli Yale was a scarlet macaw, and Bishop Doane was a guinea pig, all pets in the large menagerie kept by T.R.’s children. Other inmates included a one-legged rooster, a hyena, a barn owl, a badger, and numerous cats, horses, and dogs, many of them named after people the children liked (or sometimes disliked). T.R. was in an important Oval Office meeting once when one of his children burst in and announced, "Father, come quickly! Bishop Doane has just had babies!" On another occasion, Senators and party officials were sent scrambling when T.R.’s son Quentin dropped four snakes he’d had brought in to show his father onto the meeting’s table. When T.R.’s son Archie was in bed sick, brothers Kermit and Quentin brought Archie’s beloved pony Algonquin up to his White House room in the elevator to cheer him up. Unfortunately, Algonquin was so enamored of his reflection in the mirror in the elevator that he refused to come out.
10 – D. T.R. drank copious amounts of coffee. Once, after drinking a cup of coffee at the Hermitage (the home of Andrew Jackson in Nashville, TN), he declared that it was "good to the last drop." That particular coffee, which had come from the Maxwell House hotel in Nashville, was a regional brand produced by the Cheek family, who later sold the brand to General Foods. Needless to say, General Foods got a lot of mileage from T.R.’s compliment.