I’m not one to talk politics, but I did want to do a post on the outdoorsman also known as our 26th president. Beyond his presidency, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was best known as a naturalist, hunter, historian, and being robustly masculine. His interest in the outdoors began at an early age. As a sickly child who suffered greatly from asthma, he founded the “Roosevelt Museum of Natural History” in his bedroom and spent many hours studying natural history. Despite his illness, Teddy pursued a life filled with rigorous physical activities, including hunting and boxing while at Harvard University. After a disappointing effort in politics, Roosevelt left the East coast determined to permanently retire from public life at his ranch in the Badlands. On the banks of the Little Missouri he learned how to ride western style, rope, and hunt big game. He also began to write about his frontier lifestyle for several magazines on the East coast. As deputy sheriff, Roosevelt hunted down three outlaws and single handedly guarded them for forty hours without sleep (evidently he read Tolstoy aloud to keep himself awake). Unfortunately, his investments out West were wiped out by the winter of 188, forcing him to move back East and reenter the world of politics in New York. During the Spanish-American war, Teddy became a conspicuous war hero as lieutenant colonel of the Rough Riders, a group of volunteers including Roosevelt’s western frontier and Ivy League buddies. Throughout his political career, Roosevelt never lost touch with his love of the outdoors. He was a forefather of natural conservation and during his presidency he increased the natural forests in the West and reserved lands for public use. Unfortunately, his love of adventure would be the culprit in deteriorating his health. Roosevelt contracted malaria during his major Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition to South America and never fully recovered. Despite his declining health, he continued to remain active and was a key supporter of the Boys Scouts. To this day he is the only person to hold the title of Chief Scout Citizen granted to him by the Boy Scouts for his immense support. Teddy Roosevelt died in his sleep of a heart attack in 1919. Upon hearing the news, his son Archie telegraphed his siblings informing them that simply, “the old lion is dead”.
For further reading on Roosevelt’s life and accomplishments as an outdoorsman, I recommend Theodore Roosevelt – Outdoorsman by R. L. Wilson