Theodore Roosevelt was the product of a loving and supportive family – influencing his entire life. TR’s record of social concern, the American people, ethical standards, honesty, scholarship and the safeguarding of our national resources are incomparable hallmarks of his life, passions and presidency.
“My father, Theodore Roosevelt, was 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. The same standard of clean living was demanded for the boys as for the girls. With great love and patience and the most understanding sympathy and consideration, he combined insistence on discipline.
I never knew anyone who got greater joy of living than did my father, or anyone who more whole-heartedly performed every duty. He was interested in every social reform movement, and he did an immense amount of practical charitable work himself.
My mother … was a sweet, gracious, beautiful southern woman, a delightful companion and beloved by everybody. She was also blessed with a strong sense of humor. Her mother, my grandmother, one of the dearest old ladies, lived with us, and was distinctly over-indulgent to us children, being quite unable to harden her heart towards us, even when occasion demanded it.
I was a sickly and delicate boy, suffered much from asthma, and frequently had to be taken away on trips to find a place where I could breathe. One of my memories is … sitting up in bed gasping, with my mother and father trying to help me.
I never grew to have keen powers of observation. Quite unknown to myself, I was, while a boy, under a hopeless disadvantage in studying nature. I was very near-sighted, so that the only things I could study were those I ran against or stumbled over. I spoke of this to my father, and soon afterwards got my first pair of spectacles, which literally opened an entirely new world to me.
I had no idea how beautiful the world was until I got those spectacles!”
Dakota Datebook: Remembering Theodore Roosevelt is written and performed by Steve Stark. Funding provided by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.