13 Facts About Theodore Roosevelt's Wife That Are Surprising! | Kidadl


13 Facts About Theodore Roosevelt's Wife That Are Surprising!

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Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States and married twice during his life.

He first married Alice Hathaway Lee in 1880, but the marriage only lasted for four years as the lady died at the young age of 22 years in 1884. After a couple of years, Theodore Roosevelt married his second wife, Edith Roosevelt, in the year 1886 and the couple stayed married till 1919, the year when Roosevelt died.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was also referred to as Teddy and T.R. He was the 26th United States President in office from 1901 to 1909. Apart from being the president, Theodore Roosevelt was also known for being a statesman, naturalist, historian, and writer. During his lifetime, he had two wives.

In 1880, Roosevelt married a socialite named Alice Hathaway Lee, but she died tragically only four years after the marriage from a case of undiagnosed kidney failure. In his diary, it has been found that Roosevelt made a huge X across the page on the day his wife died, along with the words 'The light has gone out of my life.'

A couple of years later, Theodore Roosevelt got married to a family friend whom he knew from childhood, Edith Kermit Carow. The second marriage was successful, as Roosevelt rose to the presidency later in his life. Edith Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt had five children together, and they raised the daughter from the first marriage as well.

Did you know that the 32nd president of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt, was the first cousin of Theodore Roosevelt!

Read on to know more about both the wives of the 26th President of the United States, Alice Hathaway Lee and Edith Kermit Carow. Afterward, also check out William H Harrison facts and William H Taft facts.

Fun Facts About Theodore Roosevelt's First Wife

The life the wives of Theodore Roosevelt have always been a subject of interest for the media as well as the general public. Do you also often wonder about his relationship with his wives and how they lived their lives as a married couple? If yes, there are some interesting facts about the first wife of Theodore Roosevelt.

Roosevelt's first wife was Alice Hathaway Lee. On July 29, 1861, she was born at Chestnut Hill in Massachusetts to parents Caroline Watts Haskell and George Cabot Lee. Alice Hathaway Lee was well known for being a socialite among the wealthy at the time.

She is described as being about 5 ft 6 in (1.67 m) in height, with beautiful golden hair as well as mesmerizing blue-grey eyes. She is described as being very charming and pretty. Alice Lee was nicknamed 'sunshine' by her family due to her radiant and cheerful persona.

Alice Lee and Theodore Roosevelt first met each other in October 1878 at a gathering at her family's place, the Saltonstalls. In his writings, Theodore Roosevelt has described his first encounter with Alice Hathaway Lee as her being unforgettable to him because of the way she talked to him very sweetly. Not long after, Alice Lee got a marriage proposal from Roosevelt. Although she rejected the proposal at first, Alice Lee accepted the proposal about eight months later. Alice Hathaway Lee and Theodore Roosevelt got engaged on February 14, 1880, and was married a few months later in October 1880. Alice Lee was 19 years old when she got married.

Soon after their marriage, Alice Lee Roosevelt participated in several social events accompanying her husband. They were active socialites within the elite groups of New York. The couple even went on a five-month Europe tour after their marriage in 1881. In October 1882, Alice Lee Roosevelt moved into her husband's boarding house in Albany and took great interest in the political affairs of the New York State.

Alice Lee Roosevelt was conceived in 1883, and in February 1884, Hathaway became a mother to a baby girl. At that time, Theodore Roosevelt was a member of the state assembly of New York when he got a telegram about the news in Albany. Soon after, another telegram followed, which informed him of the news regarding his wife's deteriorating health.

He immediately rushed home at this news, and when he reached home, Alice Lee was already in a semi-comatose stage. During her final hours, Theodore Roosevelt looked after his wife, grieving for his impending loss. She died soon after, only two days later, on February 14, 1884. It was later revealed that she might have been suffering from Bright's disease, which might have gone undiagnosed due to pregnancy. Alice Lee Roosevelt was merely 22 years of age when she met her tragic loss.

Sadly, only hours before her death, Theodore Roosevelt had also lost his mother on the same day. It was a very dark time in his life, which he hardly ever talked about in his life again. Both Roosevelt's first wife and his mother were buried next to each other in a cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

Fun Facts About Theodore Roosevelt's Second Wife

After the death of his first wife, Theodore Roosevelt was left heartbroken. But soon, he did find love in his childhood friend, Edith Carow. They both got married in the year 1886 and remained together till the death of Theodore Roosevelt. But how was his relationship with his second wife, or rather let us discuss some fun facts about the second wife of Theodore Roosevelt to get to know her a bit better:

Theodore Roosevelt's second wife was Edith Kermit Carow, who was born on August 6 in the year 1861, in Norwich, Connecticut. She was the daughter of Charles Carrow, who was a wealthy shipping merchant, and Gertrude Elizabeth Tyler.

Edith Kermit Carow is well known for being the first lady of the United States from 1901 to 1909, as she was the wife of Theodore Roosevelt. It is interesting to note that both Theodore and Edith knew each other from their early childhood because their fathers were friends with each other. Even after getting married, both the fathers socialized often with each other, which is where Theodore Roosevelt and Edith Carow knew each other from.

When Edith Carow was very young, their family business took a hit, due to which Edith and her family had to live with their mother's relatives for some time. Edith Kermit Carow was hardened from a very young age due to her family's misfortunes as well as her father's excessive drinking habits because of it. She was known for being a very private person at the time and used to confide only in her close friend, Corinne Roosevelt.

It is believed that when she was a teenager, she and Theodore Roosevelt developed a romantic relationship, but somehow it ended after some time, the reason for which is unclear. This happened when Roosevelt was at Harvard college. Soon afterward, Theodore Roosevelt started courting Alice Hathaway Lee and married her shortly after his graduation in 1880.

It is known that Edith Carow attended his wedding, as well as kept in contact with Theodore and his family, and met at social events. When Alice Roosevelt died in 1884, Theodore Roosevelt was stricken with sorrow. He left his infant daughter in the care of his older sister and went to live on a ranch in Badlands in South Dakota.

On one of his trips to New York to see his daughter, he came across Edith Kermit Carow, and soon they began seeing each other more often. On November 17, 1885, Theodore Roosevelt and Edith Carow got engaged. Their wedding was held in London a year later, on December 2, 1886. Soon after, Edith Roosevelt and her husband returned to the States and lived in a house at Oyster Bay, Long Island, which Roosevelt had been building for his first wife.

Theodore and Edith Roosevelt named the house Sagamore Hill after moving in together. For the consequent years, the Sagamore Hills house became their family retreat home as well as Edith Roosevelt's principal residence.

After their wedding, not long after, Theodore and Edith Roosevelt also resumed the custody of Theodore's now three-year-old daughter, who was also named Alice Lee Roosevelt. Together, the couple had five children, one girl and four boys named Theodore, Kermit, Ethel, Archibald, and Quentin.

Edith Roosevelt was known for being the first successful and well-liked first lady. She started several customs during her time at the White House, which to this day are being practiced. She started the custom of holding a bouquet in each hand, as she found shaking some stranger's hands as an overly familiar gesture, and instead preferred to greet by bowing and nodding her head. She was the family's matriarch and was mainly responsible for looking after all the kids as Theodore Roosevelt was kept busy with his presidential duties.

Both the parents also looked after their children diligently, as well as saw to it that they spent time with them as well. President Roosevelt and Edith Roosevelt were also the first president and first ladies to travel abroad for a trip to Panama while Theodore Roosevelt was in office. Edith Kermit Roosevelt died after living a very fulfilling life of more than 85 years, on September 30, 1948, at their family home in Sagamore Hill.

Interests And Hobbies Of Theodore Roosevelt's Wives

When it comes to the lives of both the wives of Theodore Roosevelt, the information available is relatively sparse for his first wife, Alice Roosevelt, as the marriage lasted for only four years. But detailed information regarding the interest and hobbies of his second wife is readily available. Here are some interesting facts about the interests and hobbies of Theodore Roosevelt's wives:

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information about Theodore Roosevelt's first wife, Alice Lee Roosevelt, as she was hardly mentioned by him in his writings and autobiography.

Alice Lee is described as being of a cheerful disposition, which also earned her the nickname 'sunshine' from her loved ones. Several references mention that Alice Lee was tall, athletic, and willowy in stature and had gray-blue eyes and wavy blond hair. It is known that she enjoyed activities like playing the piano, playing tennis, and practicing sports like archery and boating from time to time. Her untimely death at a very young age has left very few accounts of her personal life and hobbies.

Edith Kermit Carow was a family friend of Theodore's from a very young age. It is known that Edith was close friends with Theodore's younger sister, Corinne Roosevelt, with whom she also attended a girl's school in 1871. During this time, Edith Carow inculcated the hobby of reading a lot of books. Her taste in literature was even mentioned as superior to Roosevelt himself in one of his own accounts.

When Theodore Roosevelt was the chairman of the United States Civil Service Commission, he and his family lived together in Washington, D.C. During this time, Edith Roosevelt was introduced to the Washington society, which prepared her for the time when she was to become the first lady of the nation.

When Theodore Roosevelt became the president in 1901, it was found that the living space in the presidential mansion was very small for a family of 8 people. Hence, in order to make more living space for her family, she proposed the construction of the West Wing. In 1902, Theodore Roosevelt officially named the mansion the White House. She also redesigned the interior of the mansion by removing a large staircase in the main room in order to make a huge state dining room. All the other rooms were redecorated to go with the style of the mansion in a more elegant and classy manner.

During her time at the White House, Edith Roosevelt was known for being a very welcoming hostess, who increased the number of social events which were being held in the mansion at the time. She also started a local women's club with the wives of the members of the Cabinet. She saw to it that her parties were not overly extravagant and that they fit the reputation of the first lady.

Edith Roosevelt also assisted her husband with daily correspondence. She was the first first lady who appointed a full-time, salaried social secretary named Isabelle Hagner to serve duties like communicating with the press, issuing official information on the family as well as releasing news about any official functions to the public or members. Subsequently, her idea of having a social secretary was followed by subsequent first ladies of the White House. Due to this, a social secretary became an integral part of the staff at White House.

Edith Roosevelt is also believed to have a certain degree of influence over her husband, as she was well respected by him. She read various newspapers daily and marked any clippings which she thought could be helpful for Theodore. Many historians claim that her most important contribution was when she acted as an informal liaison between president Theodore Roosevelt and a British diplomat named Cecil Spring Rice.

Due to their alliance formed with the help of Edith Roosevelt, the president was able to obtain unofficial information about the ongoing Russo-Japanese war. This conflict came to an end when President Roosevelt acted as a negotiator for both countries to form a treaty of peace between the two countries. For this negotiation, president Theodore Roosevelt won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1906, thanks to the significant contribution from his wife and first lady, Edith Roosevelt.

After her husband retired from his duties in 1909 and until he died in 1919, Edith Roosevelt traveled to various places. She continued to travel to places like Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa until she returned to their Sagamore Hill house for the rest of her life. She was known among her peers and staff for her organizational skills, as she was also dubbed during her lifetime as the first lady who never made a mistake. Edith Roosevelt is also considered among the top three of the first ladies who served the nation in the White House.

Edith Roosevelt grew up in New York City, which was not far from the residence of Theodore Roosevelt. Edith had a younger sister Emily and both the sisters faced a difficult childhood for a variety of reasons. The most prominent reason was the alcoholism of her father's declining fortunes, prolonged illness, and subsequent death that took place in the year 1883. Devastated by the loss of her father, Edith Roosevelt took refuge in the comfort of books and that of her best friend, Corinne Roosevelt. This is where Edith met Theodore Roosevelt, and the two developed a close relationship. It was speculated that their proximity had grown so much that most of the family members belied that Theodore may soon propose marriage. As a matter of fact, Theodore Roosevelt called Edith one of the most cultivated and educated girls that he knew.

But then, Theodore Roosevelt left to study at Harvard College, putting the budding relationship to rest. At Harvard, Theodore Roosevelt met Alice, who would go on to become his first wife.

Edith Roosevelt always exhibited exceptional literary abilities, and these abilities came to the fore when he took up the role as the editor for the family papers, aided by her son Kermit. The family papers edited by her were later published as American backlogs by Scribner's in the year 1928. She held the belief that women who choose to be mothers might feel that they have wasted the best time of their lives in taking care of the kids. This is why she promoted mothers to take up reading, writing, and working with the help of her experiences as an active widow. She actively encouraged other ladies to follow the same while at the same time taking good care of their health and wellbeing. She remained active in public life even after several years of the death of her decorated husband.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created many interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 13 Facts About Theodore Roosevelt's Wife That Are Surprising! then why not take a look at William Harvey facts or William James facts.

Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

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