Roosevelt, Edith K.

Poignant 1920 ALS on the death of her WW I pilot son Quentin, killed in action in France on Bastille Day 1918

Price: $250.00

Description:
(1861-1948) 2nd wife of Theodore Roosevelt (m. 1886), First Lady 1901-09. She grew up next door to Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt in New York and was best friends with his younger sister Corinne. She was TR's 1st real playmate outside his immediate family, often his companion for summer outings at Oyster Bay. Although she attended his wedding to Alice Hathaway Lee in 1880, their lives ran separately until 1885. As First Lady, she remodeled the White House at a cost of $475,000 into what the president described as "a simple and dignified dwelling for the head of a republic." During his administration, the White House was unmistakably the social center of the land. After her husband's 1919 death, she traveled abroad but always returned to Sagamore Hill as her home. She came out of retirement in 1932 and gave a seconding speech on behalf of Herbert Hoover in his bid for re-election against her nephew-in-law, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. ALS "Edith Kermit Roosevelt" on 7 x 4 1/2 green imprinted "Sagamore Hill" (Long Island, NY) letterhead, February 24 1920, to a Mr. Thompson. She thanks him for his kindness in writing and reflects on her son Quentin, killed a year-and-a-half before: "Quentin was so full of fun - as one of my grandchildren said 'the merriest of all my uncles,' and such a boy, only twenty when he fell." QUENTIN ROOSEVELT (1897-1918) Youngest son of President Theodore and Edith K. Roosevelt. He was 4 when his father became president, and he grew up in the White House. By far the favorite of all TR's children, Quentin was also the most rambunctious. He carved a baseball diamond on the White House lawn without permission, defaced official presidential portraits in the White House with spitballs, threw snowballs from the White House roof at unsuspecting Secret Service guards, and occasionally rode on top of the family elevator. He was engaged to Flora Payne Whitney, elder daughter of Harry Payne Whitney and Gertrude Vanderbilt. On US entry into WW I, Quentin thought his mechanical skills would be useful to the Army. Just engaged to Flora, he dropped out of Harvard in May 1917 to join the newly formed 1st Reserve Aero Squadron, the 1st air reserve unit in the nation. He trained on Long Island at an airfield later renamed Roosevelt Field in his honor. He had one confirmed kill of a German plane he shot down on July 10, 1918. Four days later, on Bastille Day, in a massive aerial engagement at the start of the 2nd Battle of the Marne, he was shot down behind German lines in aerial combat over Chamery, felled by 2 machine gun bullets which struck him in the head. The German military buried him with full battlefield honors. His death was a great personal loss to his father, who encouraged his son's entry into the War. It is said that he never fully recovered from Quentin's death and within 6 months, TR himself would be dead. Eleven years after the WW II American Cemetery was established in France at Colleville-sur-Mer in Normandy, Quentin's body was exhumed and moved there to be buried next to his eldest brother Ted. Theodore Roosevelt Jr. died of a heart attack in France in 1944, shortly after leading his troops in landings on Utah Beach on D-Day as Asst. 4th Infantry Div. Commander (which earned him the Medal of Honor).

Condition: Very good, one mail fold
Type:Letter






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