Historian, and Author
On February 14, 1884, Roosevelt's first wife,
Alice Lee Roosevelt, died during childbirth.
His mother died on the same day. After these
tragedies, Roosevelt spent time during the next
two years on his ranch in the Badlands of the
Dakota Territory. There, he had invested $40,000
in cattle on the Maltese Cross Ranch. He also
set up a second ranch, the Elkhorn and spent
many years as a cattle rancher. He mastered
his sorrow living in the saddle, driving cattle,
and hunting big game. He even captured an outlaw.
When he first arrived in the West, many questioned
his cowboy capabilities, but Roosevelt quickly
became highly respected by his fellow ranchers.
took an active part in ranch life, even looking
the part of a cowboy. He had his spurs, belt
buckles and his pearl-handled revolvers made
for him by Tiffany's, the famous jewelry store.
He also had a woman hand-make a fringed cowboy
shirt for him out of a kind of buckskin. The
cost of his cowboy outfit was $100. Today, this
same type of personalized cowboy garb would
cost over $1,000.
ranching, Roosevelt hunted in the badlands and
on several continents. He married Edith Carow
during a visit to London in December 1886. A
devoted father, he raised a family of six rambunctious
children, often including them in his outdoor
In addition to his family, Roosevelt had an
extraordinary network of friends and contacts.
He kept in touch with them mostly by mail, writing
over 150,000 letters during his lifetime.
and writing were two of Roosevelt's favorite
pastimes. He would often read an entire book
in one day. He also wrote books, authoring over
35 on many different subjects. These included
hunting, the West, and politics. Look for these
books by Theodore Roosevelt: Hunting Trips
of a Ranchman (which he finished in 1885
while at his Maltese Cross Cabin in North Dakota),
Thomas Hart Benton, Gouverneur Morris,
The Winning of the West, and City of
New York. (These books were published in
1887 and 1888.)
also established himself as historian and served
as president of the American Historical Association.
He was a noted naturalist and was considered
the world's authority on large American mammals.
He led two major scientific expeditions for
prominent American museums. One expedition was
to South America, and the other to Africa. Both
lasted for many months. If Roosevelt had not
become President of the United States, many
historians feel he would best be remembered
for his contributions in both of these scientific
all his pursuits-as a politician, rancher, historian,
author, and later President-Theodore Roosevelt
firmly believed one learned by doing. His views
are summed up well in the following passage
from "The Man in the Arena: Citizenship
in a Republic."
"It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong
man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could
have done them better. The credit belongs
to the man who is actually in the arena, whose
face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes
short again and again, because there is no
effort without error and shortcoming; but
who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows the great enthusiasms, the great
devotions; who spends himself in a worthy
cause; who at the best knows in the end the
triumph of high achievement, and who at the
worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring
greatly, so that his place shall never be
with those cold and timid souls who know neither
victory nor defeat."
more about Theodore Roosevelt:
Before the Presidency
Roosevelt: Rancher, Historian, and Author
Did You Know?
The Father of Conservation
Life After the Presidency