ANY RESEARCHER who dares to probe the fascinating life of Theodore Roosevelt faces both the blessing and curse of a man who has spawned a wealth of material not only from a score of historians and biographers but from Theodore's own prolific pen. Exhaustively researched works, both on Roosevelt's entire lifetime and on important episodes of his life, provide an incisive and often controversial biographia that is surpassed in volume by writings on only a few other public personages. The vast Roosevelt lore notwithstanding, several sources stand out as critical to any research. In his life, Roosevelt wrote more than 150,000 letters, of which about 10 percent are published. The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt, an eight-volume set edited by Elting Morison, offers the most priceless glimpse into Roosevelt's correspondence and provides the backbone of Rooseveltian research. Henry Cabot Lodge and Roosevelt's sister Anna Roosevelt Cowles each published other volumes of his letters, and Lawrence Oliver edited the letters between Roosevelt and Brander Matthews. Unfortunately, Roosevelt's second wife, Edith, destroyed much of their personal correspondence after his death in 1919.
The Theodore Roosevelt Collection at Harvard remains the dominant research source. The collection houses a vast store of Roosevelt's personal and professional letters, records, pictures, scrapbooks, and assorted correspondence. Far from static, the collection continues to expand as additional Roosevelt material is bequeathed to Harvard by heirs and collectors. The Theodore Roosevelt Historical Site at Sagamore