Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography

By Henry F. Pringle | Go to book overview

Chapter V
BUTTER AND JAM

Roosevelt, at Harvard, knew that he must augment his private income after graduation. The estate of his father, who died on February 9, 1878, had to be divided among the four children. Theodore's share cannot be stated with exactness, but in 1880 it probably provided between $7,500 and $10,000 a year. During his days in the New York legislature, and while he was Civil Service Commissioner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and Vice-president, Roosevelt was always mildly embarrassed for funds.

This was partly because he was reckless in personal financial matters. In later years Edith Carow, whom he married in 1886, effected salutary fiscal reforms, but at first Roosevelt was decidedly improvident. He drew checks light-heartedly until a distracted bank cashier notified him that he had no more funds. He cheerfully invested, out of his comparatively small resources, $20,000 for a limited partnership in G. P. Putnam's Sons. He felt that he wanted to be a publisher.

"He never had any idea where his money went," recalled Major George Haven Putnam. "When he came to us as partner, he gave me a check for $20,000. . . . The check came back from the bank and the clerks said that he had only about half enough cash to meet it."1

Fortunately he had an uncle, James A. Roosevelt, who was a banker. On this occasion, Mr. Roosevelt borrowed on his nephew's expectations to meet the overdraft. But as a financier should, he viewed all investments with a skeptical eye, and so he must have been much more irritated by another obligation incurred by the spendthrift Theodore. In September, 1883, on his first visit to the Dakota Bad Lands, Theodore paid $14,000 for a share in a cattle ranch.2 Most of the cattle died during the bitter winter of 1886-87.3

It would have been necessary in any case for Roosevelt to supplement his income: "I had enough to get bread. What I had to do, if I

____________________
1
RHP, Legislature.
2
Hagedorn Hermann, Roosevelt in the Bad Lands, p. 43.

-54-

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Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Book I 1
  • Chapter I - Teedie 3
  • Chapter II - Growth 16
  • Chapter III - Thou Goddess, Indifference! 26
  • Chapter IV - Alice Lee 40
  • Chapter V - Butter and Jam 54
  • Chapter VI - I Rose like a Rocket 65
  • Chapter VII - Practical Politician 79
  • Chapter VIII - Gentleman Cowhand 92
  • Chapter IX - The Years Between 106
  • Chapter X - A Job Once More 120
  • Chapter XI - Sword of Righteousness 132
  • Chapter XII - The Nation in Peril 152
  • Chapter XIII - Lord of the Navy 165
  • Chapter XIV - A Bully Fight 181
  • Chapter XV - Reward for a Hero 201
  • Chapter XVI - Yearnings and Consummation 216
  • Book II 235
  • Chapter I - Middle of the Road 237
  • Chapter II - The First Attack 251
  • Chapter III - The Rights of Labor 264
  • Chapter IV - The Big Stick 279
  • Chapter V - Setting for a Melodrama 301
  • Chapter VI - I Took Panama 315
  • Chapter VII - Trimming Sail 339
  • Chapter VIII - The Imperial Years Begin 359
  • Chapter IX - Imperial Years 372
  • Chapter X - The Japanese Menace 398
  • Chapter XI - Malefactors of Great Wealth 413
  • Chapter XII - The Wicked Speculators 432
  • Chaper XIII - Substantial Justice 446
  • Chapter XIV - Handing Down the Law 465
  • Chapter XV - End of the Reign 476
  • Book III 495
  • Chapter I - The First Error 497
  • Chapter II - Among the Kings 508
  • Chapter III - Return Triumphant 525
  • Chapter IV - True Democracy 540
  • Chapter V - Battling for the Lord 553
  • Chapter VI - Drums of War 572
  • Chapter VII - The Final Blow 589
  • Appendix 605
  • Bibliography 607
  • Index 613
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