Santa Roosevelt

Wednesday, December 19, AD 2012

Santa Roosevelt

Death had to take him in his sleep, for if he was awake there’d have been a fight.

Thomas R. Marshall, Vice President of the United States, on hearing of the death of Theodore Roosevelt


One of his worst enemies once said about Theodore Roosevelt that a man would have to hate him a lot not to like him a little.  It was hard not to admire Roosevelt for his courage, his enthusiasm and his obvious good will.  That last aspect of his character is illustrated by the fact that for many years he would go to Cove School at Oyster Bay dressed as Santa Claus, talk to the kids, and give them presents he had purchased out of his own pocket.  When he did it in 1898, after achieving renown leading his Rough Riders in Cuba, the little boys at the school mobbed their Santa hero! 

He kept doing it until 1918, shortly before his death, when ill health prevented him from going.  His son Captain Archie Roosevelt, freshly returned from fighting in France in World War I, did Santa duty for his father at the school.  We have had greater presidents than Theodore Roosevelt, but I doubt if we have had a kinder man as president.

2 Responses to Santa Roosevelt

  • I have been to Sagamore Hill a number of times and I admire him very much. Teddy Roosevelt must be one of the most fascinating (and complicated) Americans who ever lived. He is difficult to understand because on the one hand he was the biggest proponent of American way of life while on the other he was infected by European imperialism and the ‘glory’ of war. He was also the biggest advocate for the working man and immigrant up to that time and he understood the perils of an oligarchic economy. I doubt very much if he were alive today that he would approve of globalization and the resultant degradation of the the American standard of living for the working man and woman. He was a broken man after the death of his youngest son Quentin, a pilot in WWI…..very sad and I believe he felt some personal responsibility since he was a very forceful advocate for entry into that war. His son Theodore Jr. went on to fame in WWII and won the Medal of Honor for heroism on the D-Day invasion.