Lot 119A: Theodore Roosevelt Typed Letter: I am Overwhelmed with Masses of Visitors
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
26 October 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: ROOSEVELT, THEODORE. (1858-1919). Twenty-sixth president of the United States. TLS. (“Theodore Roosevelt”). With several lines written in holograph. ¾p. 4to. New York, April 13, 1917. On Metropolitan Magazine letterhead. To Dr. Judson Swift, General Secretary of the American Tract Society. ********** “I am so sorry to have kept you waiting, and then to have missed you, but I am overwhelmed with masses of visitors who take up every moment of my spare time, and make me hours late for my engagements. I tried my best to get rid of the men with me; when they finally left I found you had gone. I am very sorry. [Written in his hand:] Will you come in at the Metropolitan office at 12:30 next Tuesday? Use this letter and come in to see me at once…”********** The end of Theodore Roosevelt’s second presidential term was by no means the end of his political career. He continued to play an active public role as an unofficial ambassador, lecturer, and author of books and articles for such journals as the Metropolitan Magazine, for which he began a monthly column in January 1915. As outspoken in print as he was in person, Roosevelt, “used authorship to promote his favorite beliefs and tell of his various adventures in and out of the political world,” (The Oxford Companion to American Literature, Hart). A prolific writer, Roosevelt’s works ranged from biographies to political treatises. For the last ten years of his life, the bulk of his writing began to focus on faith and Christianity. Influenced by his Christian upbringing, Roosevelt subscribed to the doctrine of “muscular Christianity,” which emphasized the relationship between physical and spiritual health. During his presidency, Roosevelt regularly attended services at the Grace Reformed Church in Washington, D.C. and he often entertained church members at the White House. Roosevelt rarely spoke about his faith, preferring to allow his actions to speak for themselves. However, in 1909, he became a contributing editor for a small Christian weekly, The Outlook, and in 1917 Roosevelt detailed the importance of attending church in an interview with The Ladies’ Home Journal entitled: “Nine Reasons Why Men Should Go to Church.” ********** Founded in 1825, the American Tract Society was the first U.S. organization to publish and distribute Christian literature on a large scale. Swift, who previously acted as a field secretary for the society, served as its General Secretary from 1910-1921. In this capacity, he encouraged the idea of Christian unity and widespread evangelization at home and abroad. TR, a longtime friend, delivered an address at the 1905 American Tract Society meeting in Washington where Swift presented his fieldwork. Swift’s book, A Manual of Devotion for Soldiers and Sailors, with an introduction by Roosevelt, was published in 1918 as part of the American Tract Society’s “Patriot Library,” a twenty volume series of books and tracts distributed to men serving in the United States Army and Navy during World War I. ********** Folded with light dust staining; in overall fine condition.