Learn About Theodore Roosevelt’s Marriage

Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, a writer, soldier, and naturalist, was born on October 27, 1858, in New York, US. In 1901, he unexpectedly became the 26th President of the United States of America after William McKinley was assassinated. At that time, Theodore Roosevelt became the youngest President put to office. Due to his young age, he made new excitement and energy to the White House.

As a President, Roosevelt focused on the conservation of wildlife and the country’s natural resources. He worked passionately in preserving the natural environment of the United States. It is the reason why he was called The Conservationist President.

Theodore Roosevelt’s experiences and achievements as a President were well-known to people. However, there is more to him than being the Conservationist President dedicated to conserving the beauty of the natural world. Read more about his marriage and the two women in the life of Theodore Roosevelt in this blog.

Theodore Roosevelt’s Early Life and Marriage 

Theodore Roosevelt was married two times throughout his life. His first wife was Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt, and his second wife was Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt. Although Edith Kermit Carow was Roosevelt’s second wife, she was known to be Teddy’s childhood sweetheart.

Edith Kermit Carow and Theodore Roosevelt knew each other even before going to college. They were each other’s childhood sweetheart. Roosevelt even called Edith the most cultivated, best-read girl he knew. During their teenage years, they became so close that Theodore may have even proposed marriage. However, before Theodore left to attend college at Harvard, the couple split off. There in Harvard, Theodore Roosevelt met Alice Hathaway Lee, his first wife.

Roosevelt’s Marriage with Alice Hathaway Lee

Alice Hathaway Lee was born on the 29th day of July 1861, in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. She was known as “Sunshine” for being such a cheerful person. Alice was a tall, slender, and athletic woman who possessed beautiful gray-blue eyes and exceptional blonde hair. She likes playing the piano and enjoyed different sports and activities like boating, tennis, and archery.

When Alice Hathaway Lee was 17 years old, he met the 19-year old Theodore Roosevelt. At that time, Teddy was a student at Harvard College. They met through Alice’s cousin and Theodore’s fellow undergraduate student at Harvard. Theodore was genuinely focused on pursuing Alice. He even insinuated himself with Alice’s family. When other men who were courting Alice threatened his suit, Teddy felt devastated and heartbroken.

The first time Roosevelt proposed to Alice, the woman rejected his proposal. However, in January 1880, Alice agreed to marry Theodore. They tied the knot on October 27, 1880, Roosevelt’s 27th birthday. The wedding happened at Brookline’s First Parish Unitarian Church. Alice eventually moved in with Teddy’s family in New York City. She lived a harmonious life with Theodore’s mother and siblings.

Alice and Theodore enjoyed life as a young couple. They participated together in different gatherings, and they supported each other’s endeavors. In 1883, Alice Roosevelt became pregnant. They planned to have a large family, so they purchased land near Tranquility, Roosevelt’s home located at Oyster Bay. However, since Theodore was often in Albany, Alice decided to move back to New York with her mother-in-law.

On February 12, 1884, Alice gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Alice Lee Roosevelt. However, Theodore received news that his wife is not doing well. So, Teddy immediately went home to attend to his very ill wife. As he arrived home on February 14, 1884, he found out that his mother died due to typhoid fever. In the afternoon, his wife, Alice Lee, died due to Bright’s disease.

Teddy spent the next two years grieving over the death of his mother and wife. He left his baby Alice with his sister Bamie and stayed in his ranch in Dakota Territory.

Roosevelt’s Marriage with Edith Kermit Carow

When Theodore returned to New York, he met Edith, his childhood sweetheart, and rekindled their relationship. On December 2, 1886, the couple decided to get married in London. The couple decided to start a family in Sagamore Hill on Long Island, New York. Together, they raised Alice, Theodore’s daughter from his first marriage, and their own five children- Theodore, Kermit, Ethel, Archibald, and Quentin.

For many years, Edith focused on taking care of their children. They underwent constant relocation because of Theodore’s work and responsibilities. In 1901, after President McKinley’s assassination, Theodore became US President, and Edith, the First Lady. Edith was responsible for the remodeling of the White House, and she also liked hosting the wives of the cabinet officers regularly. Edith was a supportive wife to Theodore Roosevelt.

In 1918, Quentin Roosevelt died battling in World War 1. The year after, Theodore died unexpectedly in his sleep. It left Edith grieving for the loss of the people she loves. She spent her last decades traveling, campaigning, and volunteering in different organizations. She spent her last years reading books and spending time with her family, which made her the happiest. On September 30, 1948, Edith died in her home at Oyster Bay.

If you are interested to learn about his children, you may read our article about the children of Theodore Roosevelt.