Kurt's Historic Sites

Theodore and Edith Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

Interment Location Visited Sequence in Graves I Have Visited
Oyster Bay, NY August 15, 2004 11th President visited; 5th Vice President visited

Photographed August 15, 2004.

Few figures in American history loomed as large as the rough-riding, trust-busting, corruption-tackling, teeth-bearing Theodore Roosevelt. When the 60-year-old former chief executive unexpectedly died in mid-slumber, the sitting vice president, Thomas Riley Marshall, offered up a statement that summed up the belated politician’s whole essence: “Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake there would have been a fight.” It is my favorite quote about the 26th president.

Roosevelt was consigned to the earth in a wooden area 1.5 miles from his Long Island home, Sagamore Hill. TR’s fenced-in burial plot is reserved for himself and former First Lady Edith Roosevelt, who survived her spouse by nearly 30 years. Two of their children, Ethel and Archie, are interred elsewhere in the cemetery. Another offspring, Kermit, is buried in Alaska, while Quentin and Theodore, Jr. rest at the Normandy American Cemetery in France. The president’s eldest child, Alice, whom he had with his first wife of the same name, can be found at Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Photographed August 15, 2004.
Photographed August 15, 2004.

My favorite documentary miniseries is Ken Burns’ 2014 production, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. While I would critique that Burns should have disseminated more information about TR’s sometimes problematic and counterproductive views on race, it is an otherwise superb work on Theodore, his niece Eleanor, and his distant cousin and fellow president, Franklin. Both Roosevelt men are routinely ranked as top-five U.S. presidents, with TR coming in at number four in each C-SPAN Survey of Presidential Leadership conducted thus far.

Fast Facts

Born: October 27, 1858 in New York, New York

Spouses: Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt (m. 1880-1884); Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt (m.1886-1919)

Military Rank: Colonel — U.S. Army

Medal of Honor: 2001 (posthumous)

Primary Political Affiliation: Republican Party

Gubernatorial Term: 1899-1900

Vice Presidential Term: 1901 under William McKinley

Presidential Term: 1901-1909

Vice President: Charles Fairbanks (1905-1909)

Nobel Peace Prize: 1906

Died: January 6, 1919 in Oyster Bay, New York

Cause of Death: Coronary Embolism

Age: 60

Last Words: “James, will you please put out the light?”

Interment: Youngs Memorial Cemetery, Oyster Bay, New York

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him in so far as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth--whether about the President or about anyone else--save in the rare cases where this would make known to the enemy information of military value which would otherwise be unknown to him."
- Theodore Roosevelt

May 1918 in his editorial "Lincoln and Free Speech" in Metropolitan Magazine, vol. XLVII, no. 6


Sources Consulted and Further Reading

Costello, Matthew R. “’The Old Lion Is Dead’: Theodore Roosevelt and the Creation of an American Icon.” In Mourning the Presidents: Loss and Legacy in American Culture, edited by Lindsay M. Chervinsky and Matthew R. Costello, 150-171. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2023.

Lamb, Brian and the staff of C-SPAN. Who’s Buried in Grant’s Tomb? A Tour of Presidential Gravesites. Rev. ed. New York: PublicAffairs, 2003.

Roosevelt, Theodore. The Great Adventure: Present-day Studies in American Nationalism. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1918. https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Great_Adventure/vQs2AAAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1.

“Roosevelt’s ‘Please Put Out the Light’ His Last Words, Says Witness of His End.” New York Times. August 3, 1926. https://www.nytimes.com/1926/08/03/archives/roosevelts-please-put-out-the-light-his-last-words-says-witness-of.html.

“Survey of Presidential Leadership: Total Scores/Overall Rankings.” C-SPAN. 2021. Accessed January 6, 2022. https://www.c-span.org/presidentsurvey2021/?page=overall.

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