Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Edith Roosevelt

On August 6, 1861, Edith Kermit Carow was born in Norwich, Connecticut. Throughout her growing up years in New York City, she was the dear friend and frequent companion of the Roosevelt children at 28 East 20th Street. Teedie and Bamie along with Elliott and Corrine all loved Edith, their little friend. There is a famous photo of Lincoln’s funeral procession passing the Union Square New York home of Cornelius Roosevelt, T.R.’s grandfather. In the second floor window, one can make out the forms of young Theodore and his brother, Elliott. Friend Edith Carow had been locked in the closet by Teedie for her crying was annoying him.
Still, when the Roosevelt family left New York for their great tour of Europe, young Teedie cried for already missing his dear friend Edith.

These loving friends, Teedie and Edith, would be united in marriage from 1886 until T.R.’s death in 1919. They would have five children together, raising the sixth and eldest, Alice, daughter of T.R.’s deceased first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee.

On Edith’s birthday in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt spoke to the great Progressive Party National Convention in Chicago. “We stand at Armageddon, and we battle for the Lord!” he famously shouts in this his “confession of faith” speech.

For nearly twenty-six years before this speech, Edith stood beside her husband as he lived a life of faith and action. When T.R. was Police Commissioner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Rough Rider, Governor, Vice-president and President, it was Edith who was making the Roosevelt household hum. When he was sworn in “in his own right” in 1905, his hand rested upon James 1:22 – “Be though not only hearers of the word, but doers of the word also.” The fellowship of the doers, indeed. Today is a good day to remember that throughout his public service career, at least since their concurrence in 1885 to marry the following year, T.R. had at his side a supportive, intelligent and principled partner, mother to his children, bearing his burdens, helping him to see the way.

As the Wiegand family arrives in New York State, I’m looking forward to seeing some of the Upstate places that were and always will be Teddy Roosevelt territory. Adirondacks here we come.


Virginia said...

I am a great admirer of TR and would love to see this show!

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T.R. Joe said...

Virginia -

I look forward to reading the book and staying posted on your efforts. Stay posted at to see if the show is coming to your region. All the best. TR Joe