Rough Rider to Bull Moose: Letters to Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt’s (1858-1919) busy life as a politician, public servant, historian, solider, conservationist, author, adventurer, statesman, and family man reflected his wide-ranging interests. He was also a prolific writer of books, articles, and especially letters, and received as much mail as he sent. His correspondents ranged from heads of states to average Americans, and covered subjects as diverse as politics and political reform, wars and military policy, foreign relations, books and literature, family life, pets, the natural world, history, simplified spelling, cattle ranching, coal strikes, social functions, camping trips and safaris. With an eye to the future, Roosevelt often wrote with the knowledge that many of his letters could be available to the public someday. Transcription of Theodore Roosevelt’s voluminous correspondence will shed light on the issues that came before him in both his public career and private life, and provide clues on how he hoped to be viewed by posterity.

The three-volume Index to the Theodore Roosevelt Papers and cataloging data in the Theodore Roosevelt Center’s expanding digital library may be helpful in transcribing names, dates, and general subjects contained in individual letters.

Can you transcribe shorthand? If so, we need your help! Many of the letters received by Theodore Roosevelt during his presidency contain secretarial notes in shorthand, likely based on TR’s dictated replies. Shorthand is frequently found in documents from his first administration (Sept. 1901-Mar. 1905).