Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Table of Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

Kristie Miller provided photocopies of Edith Roosevelt’s extensive correspondence with her son in the Kermit Roosevelt Papers. That task involved the photocopying of hundreds of letters in what took many, many hours to accomplish. I am deeply in her debt for hard work and kindness on my behalf. Kristie also read...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-2

Few first ladies have enjoyed a better reputation among historians than Edith Kermit Roosevelt. Favorable adjectives have accompanied most descriptions of her years in the White House from 1901 to 1909. She was a sure-footed mistress of the mansion who never slipped up in executing her duties as hostess and mother...

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1. “An Aristocrat to the Tips of Her Fingers”

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pp. 3-24

During the summer of 1901, few Americans thought much about the first lady as a national institution. Ida Saxton McKinley was the twentieth woman who had occupied the Executive Mansion as “the first lady of the land.” Wives of the presidents hosted receptions during Washington’s busy social seasons. At some of these events...

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2. The First Year in the White House

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pp. 25-47

Edith Roosevelt came to the position of first lady in September 1901 at a time when the role of the president’s wife was still undefined. Since the beginning of the nation, there had been popular interest in the spouse of the president, but her duties and responsibilities had never been established in a coherent manner. The role was...

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3. Charities and Culture

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pp. 48-67

The historical image of Edith Roosevelt as first lady is one of restraint and withdrawal. She was, said one author, “the woman in the background” who watched from the sidelines while her charismatic husband captivated the nation. Such a retiring role suited Edith Roosevelt’s temperament and reflected her own deep desires...

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4. Wife and Mother

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pp. 68-88

In August 1914, Edith Roosevelt learned from Belle Hagner, who be- came the social secretary for the president and Mrs. Wilson, of the death of Ellen Axson Wilson from the effects of kidney disease. As she thought about the tragic situation of one of her successors as first lady, she looked back to her own years in the...

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5. A Woman of Influence

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pp. 89-113

Given Edith Roosevelt’s public silence throughout her husband’s presidency and the scarcity of letters between them for that period, Roosevelt biographers and scholars have not had much to go on in measuring the influence of the first lady on the president’s decisions. There are a number of statements from close friends of the...

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6. After the White House

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pp. 114-132

The White House years ended for Edith Roosevelt in a difficult pre- inauguration evening that foreshadowed the four years of political tension between Theodore and his successor, William Howard Taft. Without consulting either of their spouses, Theodore and Will Taft agreed that the president-elect and his wife would spend the...

Notes

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pp. 133-156

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Bibliographic Essay

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pp. 157-162

The literature on Theodore Roosevelt is vast and growing each year. There is not enough space in this brief essay to mention all the biographies of him that say something about Edith Roosevelt. I have concentrated on the volumes I found most useful for understanding her role as first lady. The absence of any partic- ular book on Theodore Roosevelt should not be construed as a...

Index

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pp. 163-171

Back Cover

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