Political Gifts: A Collection Received by Theodore and Edith Roosevelt

Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, National Park Service

Throughout their lifetimes, Theodore and Edith Roosevelt received numerous gifts from the public, including everyone from everyday Americans to foreign dignitaries. 

Wooden tray made from one of the fence rails supposedly split by Abraham Lincoln as a young man in Illinois. This tray was made by the students of the Rhinelander School in New York City. It was presented to Theodore Roosevelt on April 16, 1897. The Rhinelander School was part of the Children's Aid Society, which was an organization that Theodore Roosevelt's father, Theodore Roosevelt Sr., helped to establish in 1853.

Theodore Roosevelt's Secretary of State, John Hay, gave TR this ring, which contains a lock of Abraham Lincoln's hair, on inauguration day in 1905. John Hay had previously served as Lincoln's private secretary.

Gold pocket watch with Roosevelt family crest and Phi Beta Kappa fraternity key. The gold fraternity key was presented to Theodore Roosevelt on December 5, 1901 by Dr. Pockman, the president of the Rutgers chapter of the fraternity. Theodore Roosevelt was the fifth United States President to become a member of the society.

This miniature coal hod was presented to Theodore Roosevelt in gratitude of his intervention in the coal miners strike settlement of 1902. TR used his authority to force the parties to the bargaining table and to ensure fair treatment of the workers by the owners.

Miniature coal hod on the end of the Library mantle, to the left of the vase.

First Lady Edith Roosevelt received this set of bisque figurines as a French diplomatic gift in May 1902. The 'Scarf Dance' figurines were designed by French sculptor Agathon Léonard and produced by the National Porcelain Factory of Sèvres. Intended for use as a table centerpiece, they combine the finest French craftsmanship in a very traditional medium with the avant-garde subject of modern dance.

Sèvres "Scarf Dance" figurines in the North Room alcove bookcase.

Edith Roosevelt received this silver loving cup from the crew of the Battleship Louisiana after Thedore and Edith Roosevelt's trip to see the construction of the Panama Canal in 1906. Initially the crew was cautious about having a woman onboard a battleship because it was seen as bad luck, but the crew enjoyed having her on board and presented this loving cup to her as a memento.

Silver loving cup in the North Room.

Theodore Roosevelt received this sterling silver tankard from his Harvard classmates in 1905 on the occasion of their 25th class reunion.

Silver tankard, used as a flower vase, on Theodore Roosevelt's desk in the Library.

Theodore Roosevelt was presented this "Rising Sun" armchair on February 22, 1905 by the 1st City Troop of Philadelphia Cavalry. The chair was made after an original "Rising Sun" chair made by John Folwell in 1779 for the speaker of the Pennsylvania's legislature.

"Rising Sun" armchair in the North Room.

Section of a medal commemorating Theodore Roosevelt and the departure of the Great White Fleet on December 16, 1907.

Theodore Roosevelt's "Tennis Cabinet" presented him with this Tiffany silver bowl at the end of his presidency in 1909. The Tennis Cabinet consisted of TR's informal set of advisors. The names of these advisors are engraved on the inside of the bowl.

Silver bowl from Theodore Roosevelt's Tennis Cabinet in the Dining Room.

This bronze of a panther sculpted by A. Phimster Proctor, was given to Theodore Roosevelt by his "Tennis Cabinet" on March 1, 1909 at a farewell luncheon at the end of his second term. The name and title of each cabinet member is engraved on the base of the sculpture.

Stalking Panther bronze, gift of Theodore Roosevelt's Tennis Cabinet, in the Library.

Touring the United States
whistlestop tours -- 1898 - NY, 1900 - Midwest & East, 1902 - New England and Southeast, 1903 - 23 state "Tour to the Pacific Coast", 1905, 1910 South and West, 1911 West and Southwest

This inkwell was presented to Theodore Roosevelt in 1899 by the members of the Hamilton Club of Chicago, after he spoke to the club on the "Strenuous Life". He kept it on his desk in the library at Sagamore Hill.

Lincoln inkwell on Theodore Roosevelt's desk in the Library.

Top: Wooden cane with silver tip.

Middle: On September 7, 1902 Theodore Roosevelt toured the Civil War battlefields Chickamauga and Chattanooga in Tennessee. He received a wooden cane with a silver plaque that was supposedly cut from the battlefield and is inscribed with the names of three Union generals and three Confederate generals who fought in the battle symbolizing unity. The next day, TR referenced the symbolism of the cane when he gave a speech in Asheville, North Carolina urging "We never can succeed in making this country what it can and shall be made until we work together."�

Bottom: Wooden cane with silver plaque presented to Theodore Roosevelt by Otis Barker in 1917. The head of the cane was made from materials from Daniel Webster's boat "Lapwing."

14 karat gold figurine of a mother bear with cubs and Native Americans. The inscription reads: "To President Roosevelt from the Society of California Pioneers, the native sons of the golden West, and the native daughters of the golden West. San Francisco, California - May 13, 1903."

Theodore Roosevelt received this gold trophy cup from the Union League Club of San Francisco on May 14, 1903.

This copper and silver vase with Montana sapphire accents was presented to Theodore Roosevelt on May 27, 1903 by the citizens of Anaconda, Montana. In 1903 Theodore Roosevelt went on a great tour of the midwestern and western states, making whistle stop speeches to the American public.

During Theodore Roosevelt's great western tour of the United States in 1903, a young girl from Kansas presented TR with a badger. Josiah became one of the Roosevelt family pets. Eventually Josiah had to be given away because he had a bad habit of biting people. The Roosevelt family received a stuffed badger in return that was placed on the floor of the library at Sagamore Hill among TR's other stuffed animal rugs and specimens.

Taxidermied "Josiah" badger beneath a table in the Library.

This gold and diamond commemorative globe made by the World's Fair Top Company was presented to Theodore Roosevelt during his visit in the closing days of the fair, September, 1904. The diamond is situated at St. Louis, Missouri, site of the fair.

Buffalo hide given by Indian Court of Affairs Chief Justice John Grass of the Standing Rock Reservation to Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. Grass had fought in the Battle of Little Bighorn. This hide was painted by the Native Americans of the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota and depicts the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Painted buffalo hide in the Front Hall.

Commemorative medal presented to Theodore Roosevelt by the people of Colorado on Thanksgiving Day in 1905.

Silver loving cup presented to "Theodore Roosevelt by the Colored Ladies of San Antonio, 1905."

Foreign Relations

This mosaic designed by Vatican artists depicts Pope Leo XIII in the papal gardens. The mosaic was sent to Theodore and Edith Roosevelt in 1902 by Pope Leo XIII with the Pope's "expression of his high esteem" for the President and his wife. At the time of the exchange, William Howard Taft, who was the Governor General of the Philippines, was in Rome to negotiate the purchase of church lands in the Philippines by the United States. In return, TR gave the Pope a set of books that he wrote.

Mosaic, of Pope Leo XII in the papal gardens, on the wall of the Library.

In December of 1903, Emperior Menelik of Abyssinia/Ethiopia presented these large elephant tusks to Theodore Roosevelt as a symbol of friendship between the two countries.

This candlestick from the Presidential yacht, "Mayflower"� held the candle whose wax sealed the 1905 peace treaty signed by the Russian and Japanese envoys ending the Russo-Japanese War. President Roosevelt received a Nobel Peace Prize as a result of working to bring about the treaty.

Silver candlestick, used for sealing the Treaty of Portsmouth, on Theodore Roosevelt's desk in the Library.

Replicas of the United States, Russian, and Japanese seals used to mark the memorial tablet for the building in the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard where Theodore Roosevelt led the peace conference which ended the Russo-Japenese War in 1905.

Sword presented to Theodore Roosevelt by the people of Sendai, Japan in thanks for the negotiation of the end of the Russo-Japanese war.

U.S. Naval Admiral William M. Folger presented this statue of the Japanese God of Benevolence and Hunting to Theodore Roosevelt.

The Dalai Lama gave this buddha statuette to Theodore Roosevelt through the U.S. Minister to China William Woodville Rockhill. In June of 1908 Rockhill met with the Dalai Lama regarding peace between Russia and China. In corresponding with Rockhill, Theodore Roosevelt wondered what kind of gift he should give to the Dalai Lama in return. On August 1, 1908 TR wrote to Rockhill, "I have not the vaguest idea of that the Tale Lama would like. I sent the Pope a copy of my books. It is just possible that he glanced at the outside of the cover of one, but I do not know that the Tale Lama would even care to do as much as this. Will you let me know?"

This decorative box by given to Theodore Roosevelt by the Syrian community in Egypt in 1910. The box was given to TR "in acknowledgement of the benefits reared by their countrymen in the U.S. during his presidency and his valuable services to humanity."

Theodore Roosevelt was given this jeweled hunter's flask to memorialize his stay in Budapest in April of 1910 during his grand tour of Europe following his African safari.

Jeweled hunter's flask, from Budapest, on the left side of the mantle in the Library

King Haakon VII and Queen Maud of Norway presented this silver flagon decorated with elements of Norse culture to Theodore Roosevelt in May of 1910 when the Roosevelt family was received in Oslo.

Silver flagon, from Norway, on the right side of the mantle in the Library.

Golden document box presented to Theodore Roosevelt by the Corporation of the City of London on May 31, 1910. Contains a scroll of TR's "Freedom of the City of London" speech.

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