Thursday, October 27, 2016

Birthday: A very literary president

roosevelt reading.jpg

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (1858-1919)
Author, public figure

He was born, he said, to be one of the governing class. At 24, he had published his first book, joined the New York National Guard, and been elected to the State Assembly. At 28, he’d become a father, lost his wife in childbirth and most of his fortune in a western ranching venture, and run for mayor of New York. He made most of his living, for the rest of his life, as a writer, both of books and periodical articles. By the time he died, not quite three months after his 60th birthday, he had published 37 books in 36 years.

In between books (and an estimated 150,000 letters), he remarried, fathered five more children, served on the US Civil Service Commission; as New York Police Commissioner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, colonel in a cavalry regiment in the Spanish-American War, governor of New York, Vice President of the United States for 195 days, President for seven and a half years and a candidate for a third term in 1912 (he took time off, mid-campaign, to defend a libel suit and recover from an attempted assassination), and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

One of this last books, A Book Lover's Holiday in the Open (1916) has nothing to do with books, except that, in the preface, he explains how he can still offer frontier adventures and exploits to milksops grown old before their time and reduced to reading books like his.

Roosevelt remains the most-published author of America’s 44 presidents, though with thirty books to his name, former President Jimmy Carter is closing the gap fast. From the Theodore Roosevelt Association’s website, here is President Roosevelt’s bibliography:

1882 The Naval War of 1812

1885 Hunting Trips of a Ranchman

1887 Thomas Hart Benton

1888 Essays on Practical Politics,
Gouverneur Morris
Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail

1889-96 1896 The Winning of the West, 4 vols.

1891 New York

1893 The Wilderness Hunter

1895 Hero Tales from American History (with Henry Cabot Lodge)

1897 American Ideals
Some American Game

1899 The Rough Riders

1900 The Strenuous Life
Oliver Cromwell

1905 Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter

1907 Good Hunting

1909 Outlook Editorials

1910 African and European Addresses
African Game Trails
American Problems
The New Nationalism

1912 The Conservation of Womanhood and Childhood Realizable Ideals

1913 Autobiography, History as Literature and Other Essays
Progressive Principles
Through the Brazilian Wilderness

1914 Life-Histories of African Game Animals 2 vols., co-author with Edmund Heller

1915 America and the World War

1916 Fear God and Take Your Own Part
A Book Lover's Holiday in the Open

1917 The Foes of Our Own Household
National Strength and International Duty

1918 The Great Adventure

Note: Theodore Roosevelt was co-editor with George Bird Grinnell and contributed to three books published by the Boone and Crockett Club: American Big-Game (1893), Hunting in Many Lands (1895), and Trail and Campfire (1897). TR, T. S. Van Dyke, D. G. Elliot, and A. J. Stone were the contributors to the The Deer Family (1902).

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