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In the Neighborhood: Theodore Roosevelt's Birthplace

Of all the reference questions I expected upon coming to work at the Andrew Heiskell Library in its current location on West 20th Street in Manhattan, "Where is Teddy Roosevelt's birthplace?" was nowhere on my list. I quickly learned that the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace Historic Site is a short two blocks east, at 28 East 20th Street, and that this question comes up mostly during the summer tourist season. Since then, I've often walked past this now familiar, unassuming townhouse and feel as if I'm stepping back in time.

The 26th U.S. president, Teddy Roosevelt was the only president born in New York City, and he and his well-to-do family lived in the house until he was fourteen, when the family moved uptown. The original building was demolished in 1916. After Roosevelt's death in 1919, the Women's Roosevelt Memorial Association bought the site and rebuilt the townhouse. The building was designated a historic site and is managed by the U.S. Park Service which conducts tours through "five restored period rooms" that "reflect the lifestyle of the Roosevelts circa 1865," plus two museum galleries.
A conservationist, Roosevelt's illustrious career included colonel in the Rough Riders, New York City Police Commissioner, Governor of New York State, and Vice President of the United States. He became President upon the assassination of William McKinley in 1901.

Reading ListTheodore Roosevelt, The White House, April 1st, 1907., Digital ID 483415 , New York Public Library

Theodore Roosevelt by Louis Auchincloss. BR 14088
This brief biography of President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) looks at his family life and career, highlights his major accomplishments and innovations, and separates myths from realities. 2001. (NYPL Catalog)
Digital Audio
The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America by Timothy Egan. DB 69976.
Highlights President Theodore Roosevelt's and the fledgling U.S. Forest Service's stance against mining and timber interests, which led to efforts to conserve the country's natural resources. Some strong language. 2009. (NYPL Catalog)

The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley. DB 69762
Award-winning historian evaluates efforts of President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) to preserve America's natural environment. Describes Roosevelt's success in creating forest, game, and bird reserves; national parks and monuments; and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Refuge System. Highlights influences of John James Audubon, Charles Darwin, and John Muir. 2009. (NYPL Catalog)

The Alienist by Caleb Carr. DB 38121 (Download Only through BARD). Also available in recorded cassette (RC 38121); contact the library to request it.
New York City, March 1896. John Moore, news reporter, is awakened at 2:00 a.m. with a request to report to the murder scene of a boy prostitute. Awaiting him is psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler. They have been asked by Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt to create a psychological profile--unheard of in their day--of the killer. They will soon become haunted by the underworld and stalked by the murderer. This novel gives a sense of what life in New York City was like in the 1890s. Strong language and violence. Bestseller. 1994. (NYPL Catalog)
For Children
The Great Adventure: Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of Modern America by Albert Marrin. DB 66916
Examines the life, political career, and legacy of the twenty-sixth U.S. president, Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919). Discusses his illnesses and determination to lead an adventurous life. Explains his expansion of presidential powers, conservation of natural resources, and promotion of the nation as a world power. For grades 6-9. 2007. (NYPL Catalog)

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