There are more than 35 books by Theodore Roosevelt, as well as numerous essays and speeches, and countless letters, making him one of the most prolific presidents in U.S. history. For Teddy Roosevelt, stories were his favorite – and most effective – way to get an idea across to others. In many ways, the story of Theodore Roosevelt could not be told without including mention of his enormous collection of writings. From the age of nine, he was constantly writing. Whether it was an academic study on the War of 1812, or humorous anecdotes in personal letters to his own children, the staunch outdoorsman seemed to always find time to put his pen to paper.
His first paper was “The Natural History of Insects”, written shortly after he opened his self-named Roosevelt Museum of Natural History in 1867. This paper included his detailed observations of insects, garnered during the collection and study of numerous insects caught by himself or his two co-founders (cousins). Later, during his years at Harvard University, he worked on a research paper about naval portion of the War of 1812. Originally published when Teddy was only 23, the book version of this paper (titled The Naval War of 1812) was very controversial, due to Theodore’s audacity to refute earlier works on the subject. However, his unparalleled analysis forced U.S. military history experts to reexamine their positions and led to renewed interest in the forces, overall.
Books written by Theodore Roosevelt include works on politics such as Essays on Practical Politics (1888), with examinations of the phases of state legislation and ‘machine’ politics in New York City. He also wrote a book about personal effort and gain. The Strenuous Life, by Theodore Roosevelt, (published in 1900), detailed his philosophies about hard work and achievement. He used people living in Chicago as an example of those who were the ideal of this analogy: individuals who give forth great effort and, in turn, achieve success. The book was derived from a speech Teddy gave on April 10, 1889 in Chicago, Illinois. According to Teddy, this idealized version of a ‘hard worker’ would overcome obstacles to make the nation – and the world – a better place to live, in the 20th century.
The collection of Theodore Roosevelt letters to his children is extensive, with hundreds of examples of his fatherly advice. Written in the witty and humorous voice he was known for, the letters serve as a shining example of parental wisdom, compassionate direction, and an incomparable ability to lead by example. Because the letters to his children were considered to be more than just the written meanderings of a doting dad, the letters written from 1898 to 1911 were collected and bound, so parents and children everywhere could appreciate them. The collection was published in 1919, just after Teddy’s death.
Books by Teddy Roosevelt will continue to be sought after, read, and quoted from, for many years to come. With his careful analysis, balanced examination of controversial topics, detailed observation, and expert research in difficult topics, he solidified his place in history through the legacy of his written words.