Theodore Roosevelt as Hunter-Conservationist

Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, National Park Service

Theodore Roosevelt was interested in hunting and the study of animals from a young age. As President he protected 230 million acres of public land, creating national forests, bird reservations, game preserves, national parks, and national monuments. 

Privately printed broadside by Theodore Roosevelt and Harvard classmate Henry Davis Minot cataloging birds in the Adirondacks of Franklin County. At the time of publication, Roosevelt and Minot were freshmen at Harvard College. The survey was "written in the mountains," especially in the St. Regis Lakes area, based on observations from August 1874, August 1875, June 22, 1877, and July 9, 1877. The document identifies 97 species of which 15 were observed by Roosevelt alone. It details birds by common name, Latin name, and frequency seen.

Privately printed broadside by Theodore Roosevelt cataloging birds local to Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY. "Notes on some of the birds of Oyster Bay, Long Island" was published in limited quantity in March 1879, when Roosevelt was a junior at Harvard College. Seventeen birds are listed with their Latin names, initials for the ornithologist who observed the bird, notes about when the bird was observed and, in some cases, additional notes about characteristics and/or predators of the birds. Common names for the birds are written in pencil in the margin.

Theodore Roosevelt shot this moose during a Maine hunting trip.

Moose in the Dining Room.

Watercolor by J. Carter Beard of a bison bull head shot by Theodore Roosevelt. This image was used in Roosevelt's 1885 book "Hunting Trips of a Ranchman."

Bison head watercolor in the Front Hall over the entrance to the servant's quarters.

Theodore Roosevelt hunted this bison Red Rock Pass in Montana in September of 1889.

Bison heads flank the fireplace in the North Room.

Theodore Roosevelt hunted this large wapiti elk in Two Ocean Pass, Wyoming in 1891. TR displayed his Rough Rider hat and saber perched atop the elk antlers in the North Room.

Wapiti elk heads on either side of the North Room alcove.

From 1909-1910, Theodore Roosevelt and his son Kermit participated in an African safari sponsored by the Smithsonian. The purpose of the safari was to collect specimens for scientific study and display in American museums. Roosevelt was able to keep several personal trophies for himself, such as this cape buffalo. He said that the cape buffalo was one of the fiercest animals he ever faced.

Cape Buffalo trophy over the fireplace in the Front Hall.

Field glasses and an inlaid compass in a leather case engraved "TO T.R FROM J.F.B. MARCH 4TH 1909." TR brought these field glasses with him on his African safari from 1909-1910.

Theodore Roosevelt hunted this oryx during his 1909-1910 African safari, which was sponsored by the Smithsonian.

The oryx hangs to the right of the Dining Room entrance. To the left is an eland and above the entry is a timberwolf.

Theodore Roosevelt's taxidermist, James L. Clark, fashioned a pair of elephant tusks into a dinner chime for the Roosevelt family. The elephant tusks came from an elephant that TR hunted in Kenya during his African safari in September of 1909. Clark was also a taxidermist for the American Museum of Natural History and had a prominent taxidermy studio in New York City.

Elephant tusk chime before the fireplace in the Front Hall.

Inkwells fashioned out of a rhinoceros foot (left) and a hippopotamus foot (right), possibly from Theodore Roosevelt's African safari in 1909-1910.

Hippo foot inkwell on Theodore Roosevelt's desk in the third floor Gun Room. The rhino foot inkwell is located on his desk in the North Room.

An avid hunter and conservationist, Theodore Roosevelt decorated his home with both personal trophies and functional objects made from animals. This waste basket is constructed from an elephant foot, possibly taken from his African safari in 1909-1910.

Elephant foot wastebasket on the floor beside the desk in the North Room.

Big game competition medallion issued by the Boone & Crockett Club featuring the heads of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. Theodore Roosevelt co-founded the Boone & Crockett Club with George Bird Grinnell in 1887. The Club still exists today and is focused on wildlife conversation.

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