Theodore Roosevelt, an introduction: Theodore Roosevelt (TR) lived in Manhattan, at 28 E 20th St., from his birth until about 13 years of age. His family, life circumstances, and experiences influenced the adult he eventually became: hunter, rancher, rough rider, politician, family man. This unit, will explore how various aspects of TR’s childhood affected the famous man he becomes later in his life. Use these lessons individually, or as a unit, and explore how this National Park Service site can augment classroom teaching. Theodore Roosevelt (TR) was born on Oct. 27, 1858 at 28 E. 20 th St. in Manhattan to a wealthy family and spends the first 13 formative years of his life at this address. In 1872, after a trip overseas, he moves with his family to a home at 6 West 57 th St. TR’s paternal (father’s) lineage can be traced back to Claes Martenzen van Rosenvelt who immigrated to New Amsterdam in 1644. TR’s grandfather, Cornelius Van Schacck (“CVS”) Roosevelt was a wealthy merchant involved with importing plated glass, real estate, and banking. CVS’ wife, Margaret Barnhill Roosevelt was of the Quaker religion, and instilled certain family values into her sons. TR’s grandparents lived on the corner of 14th St. and Broadway. It was at CVS’ home where TR, as a young boy would look upon Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession as it passed up Broadway. CVS and Margaret’s youngest son (TR’s father), was Theodore (“Thee”) Sr., a 6 th generation Roosevelt. A well-known philanthropist, Thee helped found the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and was involved with a NewsBoys Lodging home. In his autobiography, TR described his father as “…the best man I ever knew. He combined strength and courage with gentleness, tenderness, and great unselfishness.” TR’s mother, Martha Bulloch (“Mittie”) Roosevelt was raised in Roswell, Georgia to a planter family that owned enslaved individuals. Mittie’s sister, Anna Bulloch, would later become the Roosevelt children’s Governess/tutor. Thee and Mittie moved into their home at 28 E. 20 th St. in 1854 and proceeded to raise four children: Anna (“Bamie”), Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (“Teedie”) Elliot (“Ellie” or “Nell”), and Corinne (“Connie”). The family lived in the residence until 1872, when the family left the 28 E 20th St. address and moved into a residence at 6 West 57 th St. It was in this residence where TR loses his father to stomach cancer (1878). Additionally, on February 14, 1884, TR loses both his mother (to typhoid fever) and his first wife Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt (to Brights Disease) within hours of one another. Furthermore, Alice died two days after giving birth to her first child, a baby girl named “Alice.” As a young boy, “Teedie” as TR was nicknamed, suffered from a severe case of asthma. He recalls being given cigars to smoke and black coffee to drink as some of the treatments for asthma. Eventually, Thee would challenge his son telling him he “must make his body” with a custom made gym at his childhood home, TR built his body and went on to live an adventurous life including such activities as boxing, hiking, rowing hunting and exploring. Growing up, Teedie had an instinctive interest in natural history and adventure. Theodore began his collection, classification and display of taxidermy samples early in his life, and this collection continued throughout his life. He recalls an adventure with a seal in his childhood: “I was walking up Broadway….I suddenly saw a dead seal laid out on a slab of wood. That seal filled me with every possible feeling of romance and adventure … I had vague aspirations of in some way or another owning and preserving that seal… I did get the seal’s skull and with two of my cousins promptly started…the “Roosevelt Museum of Natural History.” Theodore Roosevelt, an Autobiography As a boy, “Teedie” had an innate attraction for, and interest in, the natural world. Severely nearsighted, at the age of 13, Teedie received a pair of spectacles and an “entirely new world”1 opened up to him. Mr. Bell (a companion to James D. Audubon) helped Theodore Roosevelt with some lessons in taxidermy at the age of 13. Today, some of TR’s taxidermy (formerly part of the Roosevelt Museum of Natural History which was in his bedroom), is on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City in the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall. One piece on display is a Snowy Owl that TR collected while on Long Island and taxidermied when he

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