Theodore Roosevelt: A Timeline of the 26th President's Life
The first season of our new podcast, History Vs., is all about Theodore Roosevelt: author, rancher, naturalist, and 26th president. (Make sure to subscribe if you haven't already!) As you're listening, follow along with this timeline.
January 18, 1855
TR's oldest sister, Anna Roosevelt, a.k.a. Bamie or Bye, is born.
October 27, 1858
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. is born to Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. (Thee) and Martha Bulloch Roosevelt (Mittie) at 28 E. 20th Street in New York City.
February 28, 1860
TR's brother, Elliott Roosevelt, is born.
September 27, 1861
TR's sister, Corinne Roosevelt, is born.
April 25, 1865
Theodore and Elliott watch Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession from the window of their grandfather’s New York City mansion.
The Roosevelt family—including the kids, Anna (Bamie or Bye), Theodore, Elliott, and Corinne—take a trip to Europe.
The Roosevelts return from their trip abroad.
Thee issues a challenge to his son to build his body; Theodore accepts and gets to work.
Thee helps found the American Museum of Natural History.
TR begins "The Roosevelt Museum of Natural History."
TR receives his first pair of glasses.
The Roosevelts travel to Egypt and the Holy Land.
TR receives a gun for his 14th birthday.
Theodore, Elliott, and Corrine live with a family in Dresden, Germany, for five months.
November 5, 1873
The Roosevelts return home to New York.
The Roosevelts spend their first summer in Oyster Bay, the future location of TR's Sagamore Hill Estate.
Theodore enters Harvard.
President Rutherford B. Hayes nominates Thee for the position of Collector of Customs to the Port of New York. The Senate rejects the nomination.
TR writes The Summer Birds of the Adirondacks.
February 9, 1878
Thee dies of stomach cancer.
September 7, 1878
Roosevelt spends time with Bill Sewall in Maine.
October 18, 1878
Theodore meets Alice Hathaway Lee, his future wife.
June 30, 1880
Theodore graduates from Harvard (magna cum laude).
October 27, 1880
Theodore marries Alice Hathaway Lee (whose nickname is “Sunshine”) on his 22nd birthday.
Theodore enters law school at Columbia. (He later drops out.)
Roosevelt summits the Matterhorn while honeymooning with Alice.
November 9, 1881
Theodore is elected to the New York State Assembly, representing the 21st district.
TR’s first book, The Naval War of 1812, is published.
TR joins the National Guard; is a second lieutenant.
January 1, 1883
TR is elected Speaker of the Republican Assembly.
Theodore travels to the Dakota Badlands to hunt bison and purchases a stake in a ranch there.
TR is re-elected to the NY State assembly.
February 12, 1884
Alice gives birth to a healthy baby girl and names her Alice Lee.
February 14, 1884
Mittie dies of typhoid fever; a few hours later, Alice Hathaway Lee dies of Bright’s disease.
February 16, 1884
Alice and Mittie have a double funeral and are buried in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery.
February 17, 1884
TR and Alice’s daughter is christened.
TR commissions a home to be built in Long Island for his daughter Alice; it will become Sagamore Hill.
Roosevelt serves as a delegate at the Republican National Convention in Chicago.
TR sells his home in New York City and leaves for the Dakotas, leaving Alice—whom he calls “Baby Lee”—in the care of his oldest sister, Bamie. He establishes Elkhorn Ranch in the Dakotas.
TR briefly returns to New York to work on the Blaine presidential campaign; heads back to Elkhorn in November.
TR helps to organize the Little Missouri River Stockmen’s Association, but returns to New York for Christmas.
TR’s book, Hunting Trips of a Ranchman, is published.
Returns to the Dakotas; has a bar fight in Mingusville (now Wibaux, Montana).
Participates in the spring cattle roundup, which lasts 32 days.
Returns to New York, where Sagamore Hill is completed.
Secretly begins courting his childhood sweetheart, Edith Kermit Carow.
TR becomes secretly engaged to Edith, after which he returns to the Badlands.
Roosevelt, along with Bill Sewall and Wilmot Dow, pursue—and apprehend—three thieves who had stolen TR's boat from his Elkhorn Ranch. After he caught the bandits, he marched them overland, though extremely rugged areas, to face justice in Dickinson, North Dakota.
TR returns to New York.
TR is nominated for mayor of New York on the Republican ticket, but later loses the election to Abram S. Hewitt.
December 2, 1886
TR and Edith marry in London.
A terrible winter—one of the worst in recorded history—begins in the Dakotas.
TR and Edith return to New York after their European honeymoon.
TR’s book on Thomas Hart Benton is published.
TR visits the Dakotas to determine how much cattle he lost over the winter; half of his herd is gone. He begins to sell off his interests.
Baby Alice comes to live with TR and Edith in Sagamore Hill.
September 13, 1887
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (Ted) is born.
Three books of TR’s are published: Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail, Gouverneur Morris, and Essays on Practical Politics.
Roosevelt is appointed to the Civil Service Commission and moves to Washington, D.C.
The first two volumes of TR’s four-volume series, The Winning of the West, are published.
October 10, 1889
Kermit Roosevelt, TR and Edith’s second child, is born.
August 13, 1891
Ethel Carow, TR and Edith’s third child, is born.
The Wilderness Hunter is published.
The third volume of The Winning of the West is published.
April 10, 1894
Archibald Bulloch Roosevelt, TR and Edith’s fourth child, is born.
August 14, 1894
TR's brother, Elliott, dies.
TR and Henry Cabot Lodge’s book, Hero Tales from American History, is published.
TR accepts a position on New York City’s board of police commissioners.
June 23, 1895
TR deploys 2000 officers to enforce the Excise Law in saloons across New York.
Thirty thousand mostly German or German-Americans parade down Lexington Avenue to oppose TR’s enforcement of the Excise Law.
The fourth volume of The Winning of the West is published.
American Ideals and Some American Game are published.
President William McKinley appoints TR Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy.
November 19, 1897
Quentin Roosevelt, TR and Edith’s fifth child, is born.
T. R. resigns his post as assistant secretary of the Navy to fight in the Spanish-American War. He is lieutenant colonel of the first U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment to fight in the war.
June 22, 1898
T.R. and the Rough Riders land in Cuba.
June 30, 1898
TR is given command of the Rough Riders and is made a colonel.
July 1, 1898
TR and the Rough Riders charge up Kettle Hill.
August 15, 1898
The Rough Riders come back to New York and are quarantined in Montauk.
November 8, 1898
TR is elected governor of New York.
TR’s book The Rough Riders is published.
TR publishes two books: A biography of Oliver Cromwell and The Strenuous Life.
William McKinley is elected for a second term; TR is his vice president.
March 4, 1901
McKinley and TR are inaugurated.
September 6, 1901
President William McKinley is shot in Buffalo, New York.
September 14, 1901
McKinley dies after being shot; TR is sworn in as president in Buffalo, New York.
October 16, 1901
Booker T. Washington dines with TR and his family in the White House. It was the first time a black person had eaten at the same table as a president, and it caused a scandal.
February 18, 1902
TR orders the Justice Department to bring an anti-trust suit against Northern Securities; the court rules in 1904 that Northern Securities must dissolve.
TR authorizes the creation of Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.
September 3, 1902
TR bruises his leg in a carriage accident and develops an infection that would lead to emergency surgery.
TR mediates a labor dispute between mine workers and the coal industry, threatening to send troops to take over the mines if a resolution isn’t reached. (Thankfully, one is.)
November 14, 1902
Roosevelt goes on a hunting trip in Mississippi, where he refuses to shoot a bear tied to a tree. The event leads to the creation of the Teddy Bear.
The president tells Germany that the United States will take action if Germany invades Venezuela to collect on debts. Later, he helps settle the dispute.
March 14, 1903
Via an executive order, TR establishes Pelican Island in Florida, a bird reservation and the first time the government set aside land devoted to protecting wildlife.
TR and John Muir go camping in Yosemite.
November 18, 1903
Panama Canal Treaty is signed.
November 8, 1904
TR wins his reelection bid for president, defeating Democratic nominee Alton B. Parker by a wide margin. Roosevelt had 336 electoral votes to Parker’s 140.
December 6, 1904
Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine.
February 1, 1905
TR signs the act that facilitates the creation of the National Forest Service.
March 4, 1905
TR’s second presidential inauguration ceremony is held.
March 17, 1905
TR attends the wedding of his niece, Eleanor Roosevelt, to Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
June 2, 1905
TR creates the first federal game preserve in Wichita Forest, Oklahoma.
July 8, 1905
TR’s daughter Alice sets sail for Asia with Taft and other diplomatic delegates.
August 9, 1905
TR publishes Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter.
August 25, 1905
TR takes a ride in the USS Plunger off Long Island.
August 29, 1905
TR’s attempts to mediate talks between Russia and Japan to bring peace between the two countries are successful.
September 5, 1905
Signing of the Portsmouth Treaty, which ends the Russo-Japanese War.
TR brokers successful talks between Germany and France over their respective influence in Morocco.
February 17, 1906
TR’s daughter Alice marries Republican Congressman Nicholas Longworth on the White House lawn.
June 8, 1906
TR signs the Antiquities Act.
June 30, 1906
TR’s push to regulate the meatpacking and food industries culminates with the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act, which oversee quality standards for consumer goods.
TR dishonorably discharges a regiment of black soldiers accused of killing a white bartender and wounding a white police officer in Brownsville, Texas. An investigation later revealed they had likely been framed and 14 men were allowed to reenlist.
TR becomes the first president to travel to a foreign country while in office, visiting Panama to check on the construction of the Panama Canal.
TR wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the conflict between Russia and Japan. He is the first American to win a Nobel Prize of any kind.
TR publishes Good Hunting.
January 1, 1907
TR sets a world record when he shakes 8513 hands.
December 16, 1907
TR’s notion to impress the rest of the world with military power results in the Great White Fleet, a naval spectacle with 16 ships and 14,000 sailors that spends the next 14 months touring the globe.
January 11, 1908
TR designates the Grand Canyon in Arizona as a National Monument.
After TR decides not to pursue a third term, the Republican party nominates William Howard Taft as their presidential candidate.
TR joins the editorial staff of the small weekly news magazine The Outlook.
Roosevelt leaves the White House as William Howard Taft is sworn in as president.
Roosevelt begins a yearlong safari in Mombasa in British East Africa accompanied by his son Kermit. By the end of the expedition, he has killed 296 animals.
Roosevelt publishes Outlook Editorials.
TR publishes African Game Trails, American Problems, The New Nationalism, and African and European Addresses.
TR embarks on a tour of Europe, including Budapest, Paris, and Brussels.
TR visits 16 states on a speaking tour to promote his New Nationalism, which argues against special privileges for businesses in government and advocates equal rights for all citizens.
Roosevelt travels to Norway to accept his Nobel Peace Prize.
October 27, 1911
William Howard Taft’s Justice Department accuses J.P. Morgan’s U.S. Steel of violating the Sherman Act, breaking TR’s promise to Morgan that U.S. Steel wouldn’t be prosecuted.
TR throws his hat in the ring, announcing that he's running for president as a Republican.
Republicans nominate incumbent President William Howard Taft as their party candidate.
August 5, 1912
The new National Progressive party, which is nicknamed the “Bull Moose” party, makes its official debut at a convention in Chicago.
August 7, 1912
TR is nominated to be the National Progressive party’s candidate for president.
October 14, 1912
John Schrank shoots TR in the chest when he comes to Milwaukee to deliver a campaign speech. Roosevelt finishes the speech before seeking medical treatment.
TR receives the largest number of votes of any third-party candidate, but loses the presidential election to Democrat Woodrow Wilson.
Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography, History as Literature and Other Essays, and Progressive Principles are published.
TR travels to South America for lecture tour.
TR sets off on a harrowing expedition to chart the River of Doubt in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest; the first part of the expedition takes place over land.
February 27, 1914
The expedition starts down the River of Doubt.
TR completes the journey in the Amazon and the river is dubbed Rio Roosevelt or Rio Teodoro after him.
Roosevelt returns home to New York and publishes the books Through the Brazilian Wilderness and Life-Histories of African Game Animals.
Following the start of World War I, TR calls for "a world league for the peace of righteousness," foreshadowing the League of Nations.
America and the World War by Theodore Roosevelt is published.
April - May, 1915
TR is the defendant in a libel suit brought by Republican machine boss William Barnes. TR wins.
TR publishes Fear God and Take Your Own Part and A Booklover’s Holidays in the Open.
TR’s four sons join the military to fight in World War I, and his daughter Ethel becomes a Red Cross nurse.
May 19, 1917
Wilson refuses TR's request to take a volunteer force—the Rough Riders 2.0—to the Western front of WWI.
July 14, 1918
TR’s son Quentin dies after his plane is shot down over France.
The Great Adventure by Theodore Roosevelt is published.
TR spends more than a month in the hospital being treated for recurring abscesses.
January 3, 1919
TR dictates an editorial to the Kansas City Star on the proposed League of Nations.
January 5, 1919
TR dictates an article to the Metropolitan voicing support for women’s suffrage.
January 6, 1919
Theodore Roosevelt, 60, dies in his sleep at 4:15 a.m. after a pulmonary embolism.
January 8, 1919
Theodore Roosevelt is buried at Youngs Memorial Cemetery in Oyster Bay.