Theodore Roosevelt: The Children

Figure 1.--I believe this is a photograph of Quintin, wearing a sailor suit, with a black friend. I'm not sure who the black boy is, but believe he is one of the children of the White Hoouse staff. As far as I know, Archie and Quintin were the only presidential kids with black playmates. Quentin was the baby of the family and died very young in France during World War I. He was universally loved by both his family and all who came in contact with him. He was one of the mosr=t ebgaging of allthe presidential children.

The Roosevelt children fascinated America. The press was mesmerized by their larger than life father and his large nuclear family made for great press copy and photographs just when the technology for printing photographs became available. America soon began to follow the new, energetic president and his young family in the White House. One child Alice resulted from his first marriage and five children (four boys and a girl) from the second marriage. Roosevelt was a wonderful father, the kind of father most boys would have wanted. And unlike many presidenbtial children, they all turned out well. He was a great father with Alice as well once he regained his footing, although she proved to be a real handfull. Edith and the boys idealized him.

Alice (1884-1980)

Alice was Theodore Roosevelt's first child. When her mother Alice Lee Hathaway died, her father left her with relatives for several years as he attempted to cope with his grief. She was an older teenager when her father became president. As a teenager and young adult, Alice proved difficult to handle. She was called "Princess Alice" by the press. Her father said, "I can either manage Alice or the country. I can't do both. Alice married Ohio Nicholas Longworth, an influential Congressman, in a magnificent White House ceremony during 1906. He eventually became Speaker of the House of Representatives. Alice lived into her 90s. She became a Wahington institution and even in her later years lost none of the lively nature she exhibited as a teenager. She could be sarcastic and loved nothing more than Washington gossip and scandal. She was especially known for sating at a social event, "If you haven't got anything good to say about anybody come sit next to me".

Theodore Jr. (1887-1944)

Theodore was born in Oyster Bay, N.Y. He was educated at Harvard University. During World War I he was commissioned major of the 26th U.S. Infantrys, with which he saw service in France. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1918, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Croix de Guerre. He was active in the organization of the American Legion. He was a member of the New York Assembly (1919-20), and Assistant Secretary of the Navy (1920-24). Thereafter, he became active as a business manager. He had hoped to follow his father to the White House, but was not succeful politically. He ran for Governor of New York in 1924. Elenor Roosevelt, the future First Lady, worked against him for Al Smith. I'm not sure why she worked so hard against her cousin, especially since his father had taken such an interest in her. Theodore Jr. became a severe critic of the New Deal and was a leading spokesman for the America First isolationist movement. When it became clear that America would enter World War II, he returned to active duty, having been advanced to Brigadier General in 1940. He was a fighting general. He died from a heart attack at his division command post in Normandy after gettin his division ashore at Utah Beach. He took part in Asiatic scientific expeditions for the Field Museum of Chicago in 1925 and 1928-29 and was governor of Puerto Rico (1929-32) and the Philippines (1932-33). He is the author of Average Americans (1919) and Colonial Policies of the United States (1937); and coauthor (with his brother Kermit) of East of the Sun and West of the Moon (1926). He mairred Eleanor Butler Alexander in 1910. they had four children: Grace Green (1911-1994) who married William McMillan, Jr.; Theodore III (Teddy) (1914- ) who married Anne Babcock; Cornelius Van Schaak (1915-91) who never married; and Quentin II (1918-48) who married Frances Webb (3 daughters).

Kermit (1889-1943)

Kermit Roosevelt was the second child of Theodore and Edith Roosevelt. He was older than younger brother Quentin grew up in the White House and delighted both their father and the public through their many aventures and and anntics. Kermit was the President's middle child and as so often with middle children is sometimes overlooked. Kermit attended Groton prepaatory school and Harvard University. After the presidency he accompanied his father on a highly publicized African Safari (1909) abd then and River of Doubt Expedition in Brasil (1913-14) which adversely affected his father's health. Kermit married Belle Wyatt Willard in Madrid, Spain (1914). They had four children: Kermit, Joseph, Belle, and Dirck. He served with the Britih and American arnmies during World War I. He was awarded the Military Cross for service. He was in France when Quentin was shot down and killed. After the War he founded the Roosevelt Steamship Company and the United States Lines. He also served in Wotld War II, but suffered from chronic depression and alcoholism which may have ben in part related to inherited predispositions. He had substantial accomplishements in dufferent fields. They were impressive, but as with other presidential kids, not enough to compre with his father's achievements. He shot himself in Alska while on milirary posting.

Ethel Carrow (1891-1977)

Edith was by all accounts a very playful child, no doubt influenced by growing up with four active brothers. The press and American public lived her antics. Like her brothers, Ethel joined the war effort. Ethel served as a Red Cross nurse and ambulance driver at the American Ambulance Hospital in Paris, accompanying her husband, surgeon Dr. Richard Derby (1881-1973). They had four children: Richard (1914-1922); Edith; Sarah; and Judith. She delivered one of the nominating speeched for Vice-President Nixon at the 1960 Republican Convention.

Archibald Bulloch (1894-1979)

Archie, unlike his older brothers and sisters was born in Washington, D.C. He grew up in the White House, very much in the public eye. The public loved to read about his and Quintin's antics. They were both very active, but better behaved than the Lincoln boys. Archie, according to his father, the President, was very "warm-hearted" and "loving." He even befriended the police sentries at the White House, according to report. He was wounded in both World War I and II. He married Grace Lockwood (1893-1971). They had four children (Archbald Bulloch Roosevelt, Jr. (1918-1990), Nancy, Theodora, and Edith).

Quentin (1897-1918)

Quentin was the Roosevelt's youngest child. He was was also born in Washington D.c., but before his father became president and a national figure. Quentin was probably his father's favorite, as is often the case of the youngest. Quentin and Archie becamne very famous as the press reported their White House exploits in great detail. The photograph here shows Quintin, wearing a sailor suit, with a black friend (figure 1). We are not sure who the black boy is, but believe he is one of the children of the White House staff. As far as we know, Archie and Quintin were the only presidential kids with black playmates, other than early presidents who may have played with slave children when they were young. Quentin was universally loved by both his family and all who came in contact with him. He was one of the most engaging of all the presidential children. All of the Roosevelt boys as might be expected enlisted in World War I. During the War, his comrads in armed expected to meet a haughty rich kid expecting special treatment, but were surprised to encounter one of the most personable individuls they had ever known. If he had a flaw, it was an absolute disregard for personal danger. Quetin was killed as a fighter pilot in aerial combat over France. The President and Edith were crushed. This great personal tragedy caused his father to rethink his attitude toward war in his later years.


Wead, Doug. All the President's Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America's First Families (Atria: New York, 2003), 456p.


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Created: June 25, 1999
Last changed: 7:25 PM 8/3/2014