Washington, D.C. Stories and Tips

What's your T.Q? Take the T.R. Trivia Quiz!

Just how much do you really know about the 26th President? Take the quiz and find out!

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?

a. polio
b. asthma
c. anemia
d. urticaria

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?

a. Yale
b. Princeton
c. Harvard
d. Columbia

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?

a. milk
b. beer
c. water
d. coffee


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.

Been to this destination?

Share Your Story or Tip