The Roosevelt Women

The Roosevelt Women

The Roosevelt Women

The Roosevelt Women


The Roosevelt name conjures up images of powerful presidents and dashing men of high society. In The Roosevelt Women, Betty Boyd Caroli finally gives the women of the remarkable Roosevelt clan their due. An exceptionally gifted historian, Caroli weaves together stories culled from a rich store of letters, memoirs, and interviews to chronicle nine extraordinary Roosevelt women across a century and a half of turbulent history.


On a cold, raw day in January 1919, a huge crowd gathered at Christ Church in Oyster Bay, Long Island, for the funeral of Theodore Roosevelt. The most popular man in America, he would surely have been nominated for another term as president if he had survived to the next election. Now many of the nation's luminaries joined family and neighbors to pay their respects. He was only sixty when he died, but his cocky heroism with his Rough Riders at San Juan Hill, his two terms as a "bully pulpit" President, his exploits while hunting wild game in Africa and tracing a Brazilian river to its source had rendered him larger than life to many Americans. His son Archie, home from Europe, where he had been wounded in the war, cabled his two brothers who were still there: "The old lion is dead."

Edith Roosevelt followed Victorian custom and did not attend her husband's funeral--remaining at home where she read the Episcopalian funeral service in private. But daughters Ethel Derby and Alice Longworth were there, along with Theodore's sister, Corinne Robinson, and her daughter, Corinney Alsop. His only other niece, Eleanor Roosevelt, had just sailed to France with her husband, Franklin, who was taking part in the peace talks at Versailles.

The heavy turnout of Roosevelt women at the funeral--while their men were off on war business--might have tempted observers to write them off as mere background figures, doing little more than keeping the home fires burning while their men performed the heroic, groundbreaking feats. But that judgment would be exposed as wildly wrong.

Over the next few decades, the Roosevelt women emerged from the shadows, breaking precedents and achieving national, even . . .

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