Theodore Roosevelt and His Time Shown in His Own Letters - Vol. 2

By Joseph Bishop Bucklin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
ROOSEVELT AND TREVELYAN

No part of Theodore Roosevelt's voluminous correspondence is more interesting than that which he conducted with the literary men and women of his time. In this the catholic intellectual side of the man, his eager and all-embracing joy in the things of the mind, is revealed. An insatiable reader of books, he rejoiced greatly in the society of the writers of them. Whenever a book appeared that pleased him, the author, if within hailing distance, was certain to receive a letter of cordial appreciation and an urgent invitation to the White House or Oyster Bay in order that personal acquaintance might be made. While he was President there was scarcely a writer of even moderate fame with whom he had not established friendly relations. Many a young American author was both enchanted and amazed at discovering the minute knowledge which Roosevelt had of his works, and the genuine personal interest he took in him and in them.

To his intimate friends it seemed, literally, that he read every book that was published the day after it appeared, so rare was it that one could be named to him which he had not read. His usual reply was that he had not only read that particular one but several others on the same subject or by the same author. "Were you ever able to mention a book to the President that he had not read?" asked a lady of her neighbor at a dinner in the White House during the Roosevelt administration. When the reply was in the negative, the lady continued: "I have dined here many times and talked much with him, and I have never discovered a book that was unknown to him. On one occasion I thought I had found one which he surely could not have seen. It

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