« Stuff You Missed in History Class

SYMHC Classics: Alice Roosevelt

2019-11-23 | 🔗

Today we revisit a 2015 episode about Alice Roosevelt. The eldest daughter of Theodore Roosevelt was a firebrand who never shied away from the public eye. She was nicknamed "the Second Washington Monument" because of her social power, which she parlayed into political influence.

Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
when you need face time with your boss all you do is look in the mirror a nest boston you take yourself out to lunch and you say things like synchronized synergies because well it sounds ridiculous neuro small business owner born to be your own boss and annex can help with payment flakes so you can keep doing what you were made to do the powerful backing american express dont do business without it terms apply learn more american express dotcom slash business situated on the beautiful cable beach by hamas is a spectacular new resort destination bahamas with your choice of three ocean front hotels the grand high it s so and rosewood this is the place to find perfect london luxury relaxation and a lot of fun whatever you're looking for you can find it at baja mar the bahamas most exciting larry destination the resort is home to over four restaurant bars in
judges ranging from casual work tied either too high end chef driven dining experiences eleven glorious landscape pools acres of prestige each front and a soothing esper spot offer endless relaxation while guess find thrills casino no array of high energy nights bought and at the royal blew the most acclaimed legal golf course the kid just a short flight from the u s and fifty minutes drive from the airport baja are isn't easy get away any time of the year the book your next vacation have one of the report's three iconic hotels and tourists or winter specials including up to thirty five percent savings on your stay yes thirty five percent visit mordechai that's baja more dhaka ba h it may are dot com
are you happy saturday everybody in our recent episode on france's benjamin johnstone we mention that she was previous podcast subject alice rose belts wedding photographer in nineteen o six and that prior episode now in may of twenty sixteen so we thought that there might be some folks in the audience who have not heard it yet and alice is a fast in creature sit and you will get a kick out of that we are saying that absolute again today i welcome the stuff you missed in history class production of i hurried use how stuff works hello and welcome the park gas i'm how proud i am tracy wilson
today show is going to be three topics has been requested by quite a few listeners most recently it was requested by listener rachel and not too far back it was requested by listener and lindsay and that's kind of set it up so being the child of a president means that you are kind of constantly in the spotlight even if you don't want to be your scrutinized by the press and judge by the public and some kids kind of struggle to keep their noses clean but the focus of today's episode did not bother with that she's kind of a wild child from the moment she stepped into the white house in nineteen o one alice roosevelt is who were going time out could have given any modern famous kid whether their presidential kid or just a child star a run for their money in the wild behaviour department and she was completely unapologetic about it for her entire life for example she kept an embroidered
though in her home with one of tracy's favorite sayings embroidered on it at which is attributed to her having set it which is if you can't say something good about someone sit right here next to me i actually did not know that that could be attributed to her i have always repeated its steel magnolias who it has often been at least in the two biographies i looked at and in several other pieces it is in one of the things with alice is that a lot of what you're getting is stories it were re told by family members and friends so it's possible that she didn't say it initially but she certainly when credits her with that when she was named the second washington monument because she managed to amass quite a bit of social power in the u s cabin
when she played that into some political influence and how much so is still a bit of debate how much influence she really had politically but she certainly was very close to power for her entire life and so we will talk about that life and how she may be used that power alice was born to theodore roosevelt and alice hathaway lee roosevelt on february twelfth eighteen eighty four and most people no sort of about the tragedy that happen in this family just two days later on february fourteenth alice's far theodore roosevelt ran home from his work as an assembly man in the new york state legislature to their house at fifty seventh street because grave news had come his mother martha bullock roosevelt who was known as miti had died of typhoid fever on
of that tragedy only a few hours later roosevelt's wife alice also died of bright disease mrs a kidney condition that's characterized by high concentrations of protein in the urine she'd been living with breast disease for quite some time but her pregnancy had complicated the condition and weakened her overall level of of health and as you can imagine that double loss to lose apparent in your spouse within about four hours really devastated roosevelt who is only twenty five at the time and he wanted quite plainly to escape all reminders of this loss he even went so far as to forbid the mention of his wife alice's name and his grief continued to burden him and by the end of eighteen eighty four he decided to can appear d
on his involvement in politics politics man to go west for a while so he moved out the dakota territories and he had spent time there before we talk about that if we do teddy roosevelt episode and he established alcoran ranch therefore a life that he wanted to kind of live in isolation of ranching he also worked as a sheriff and he did not take the infant alice with him who was usually called baby lee presumably because the name alice which was her given name caused roosevelt so much pain so he left maybe lee in new york she say with roosevelt sister anna who was called bay when eventually alice called her anti by he wasn't totally absent as a father though there were several times during the next two years where his work brought him back east and he would spend time with the baby during these trips but baby was her primary parent during the
period of baby leaves life in june of eighteen eighty six hours his father was ready to resume life in new york the home that he had contracted to be built just after his wife's death was completed and he resumed his role as alice's father full time as they moved into their oyster bay long island house in december of eighteen eighty six theodore roosevelt remarried and his new bride was edith kara who had been his childhood sweetheart edith and teddy would have five children together roosevelt ran for vice president on the ticket with william mckinley in eighteen ninety six the pair was re elected for a second term but then on september six of night
no one mckinley was shot by anarchist liam leon toll gosh at the pan american exposition in buffalo new york in eight days later the president died from his wounds and roosevelt having been vice president became president when the roosevelt's moved into the white house in nineteen o one alice was seventeen and she pretty much immediately became a celebrity she was known for her wild antics and rebellious behaviour she was a party girl two rival any celebrity day and she had started to appearing gossip magazine back when she was sixteen she basically stayed there for her fathers entire time in office your one biographer made a comment that all edith and ten needed to do to know what alice had been up to the night before was to open the morning paper because her antics were such drawers of readers that papers would put them on the front page even sometimes pushing out much bigger and more important news
our smoked which you know for a young lady not knots delightful and when her father forbid her to do so under his roof she just moved that have outside and so she would start sitting on the white house roof to enjoy cigarettes she also played poker and she bent on horses she was treated famously photographed placing a bed at one point she would ride in cars with men without chaperones she wore pants on occasion which of course was very unladylike at that time and she would way her own car through the streets of washington suit us barge in our meetings at the white house seemingly with causing trouble is the only reason for having done that she claimed to be a pagan to fly in the face of her very religious stepmother she called christianity voodoo to kind of royal her up she had a pet snake name
emily spinnerets who betsy carried around the house with her and even the parties there are some accounts that there was a boa constrictor but others say it was a gardener snake i can hardly imagine to less similar snakes jeer at the snake story is one but it gets told again because there are often biographers use first hand accounts from friends and relatives everybody knows that lake even in your social group there are stories that have grown out of you know their original proportions and so we really have a sense of the snake situation and what the realities were of it some will say she showed up at one party with a huge boa constrictor on her neck other states carry this snake in her pocket alla time and
i when i was relating this to some friends less my all your talking about it they thought lake the way a child will pick up a weird animal and put it in their pocket away no no she was like eighteen in my teeth it that its voice she was discarding around the snake for entertainment the press dubbed her princess alice so her favorite color example was a grayish blue and that became very very trendy it was called alice blue she basically no was at a celebrity icon at this point in her father the president is often quoted as saying i can either run the country or i can attend to alice but i cannot possibly do both a friend of the family once said that she was quote like a young wild animal that had been put into good clothes and in nineteen o five so several years into their time at the white house she serve as a goodwill will ambassador travelling
asia with a group of congressmen and this was the first time a first daughter had taken on such a duty in this trip which was dubbed the period crews entirely likely that president roosevelt really looked at this mission is a way to keep his troublesome eldest daughter out of his hair for a little while he like that's sitcom waiting to happen and we're going to get into the deal details of that trip because some wacky things happen there but before we do do you want to pause for a word from our sponsor let's do that hey miles it's me jack and rain here right next year by next to me just like a work hey one join with you to tell people to turn into a very special episode special year of treaties
yeah i guess this is actually look i know you saw the social media zaza the ellie otto she said what are these two jogger nazi podcasting doing there when mazda cause me ever they say miles we know that you're a loyal mazda owner we want to avoid i'm with you because you get it yeah you know what i'm willing to answer the car and help ding ding people understand the power of it so we it is we actually got to record of special episode inside the new mazda six thirty where we talked about colonel flow states and gaming feeling alive and how we feel alive what makes us
you'll like it was really doped actually record inside the car i got to present lotta buttons make them mad because like please don't fumble around in here but i set out in it out i like to explore nonetheless if you actually want to check out the first ever see ex thirty check it out a motto usa dot com slash i heart or if you're trying to check it up i already them pull up to the local dealership today so on this goodwill were alice travelled with a large group there was secretary of war william howard taft twenty three congressmen and said and senators alice made headlines everywhere she went in part because of her while behaviour which continued on the road she set off firecrackers on the train on the first leg of the trip from washington to san francisco she and her pistol from the train as well aiming at telegraph poles as they passed them
yeah i read one account that suggested that she kind of road it off as well as the fourth of july since out of celebrating when a light firecrackers incited should as it gets she was foolish i was gonna do it as well as the welcoming gaze of the press because they really did just follow her everywhere he also caught the eye of representative nicholas long worth of cincinnati taft was apparently besides self trying to serve as a chaperone and keep alice representative apart because this man was fifteen years his her senior but eventually tat just gave up and was like i can control the situation the following year alice actually married long worth who was notoriously womanizing drinker and their ceremony was very lavish it was at the white house and it was front page news this wedding took place on february february seventeenth nineteen o six and four hours that represent
a break for freedom she no longer had to live with her stepmother and according to the account of biographer stacy cordery when edith said farewell to alice after the wedding her parting words were i want you know i am glad to see you leave you have never been anything but trouble so after a honeymoon in cuba nicholas settled in their married life together and while it was not exactly the conventional romantic dream marriage it sort of work for the two of them they weren't really love so much as they were comfortable with one another presumably they were drawn together because they were both sort of these big extreme partying personalities and they both remained the people that they were before they said their vows so there was some head budding there were some wild times and there were some infidelity on both sides of that equation when her fathers time in the way house ended in nineteen o nine hours a legibly very
voodoo doll of the new first lady nellie taft in a long before the new president we ve been or that and also for her very public criticism of the taps alice was banned from the white house where their tenure there there were several times she's not welcome in the white house a few years later the long oars marriage would really be tested when teddy roosevelt went toto with taft in a political battle the bigger you four hours the nicholas's extramarital dalliances was that her husband hoarded william taft in the nineteen twelve campaign against her fathers newly formed progressive bull moose party she had we advised her father against this move but she remained stalwart leave loyal to him even when he disregarded her advice and she also opted to appear in her husband's home district of cincinnati with hiram johnson her fathers vice president
we're running made instead of with her husband on his campaign and long worth lost that election which alice sometimes took credit for even though he did end up getting reelected a couple years later but our nicholas did managed survive the upheaval their marriage did through through that sort of disastrous and very rocky nineteen twelve action cycle their marriage remained intact although politically there was pretty distant at that point they weren't sort of of the same mind in any way to add salt injury the nineteen twelve presidential election went through democrat woodrow wilson due in part to this split in the loyalty of the republican party between taft and roosevelt so just as alice had been vocally critical of taft she also vocally criticized wilson and in some ways even more so she was once again banned from the white house after publicly making cos
comments about the president not so long after this terrorism died in his sleep it was ingenuous on january six of nineteen nineteen and he was sixty at this point and he had a coronary embolism and at that point wilson had thirty proposed the league of nations in his one thousand nine hundred and eighteen speech before congress as part of his fourteen points plan roosevelt had hated that and intern so did alice because she pretty much always followed her father's political things and she rallied very hard against the u s becoming a member of the league of nations after her father died and that the league did formerly form in geneva switzerland in nineteen twenty so teddy's eldest daughter basically used every single scrap of influence she had to sway politicians in washington dc
against the idea of joining the weak and whether it was her efforts are not the u s never became a member there in the nineteen twenties alice started an affair with the chair of the senate foreign relations many with senator william bora of idaho the two of them bonded over their shared admiration of her late father and their love of literature she and the senate with some letters to one another and they were deeply in love as their affair became less and less of a secret alice was dubbed aurora borealis by the press and gossip circles in nineteen twelve five alice's husband nicholas long worth became speaker of the house and that mere they also welcome there one an only child polina into the world and long worth was come really excited about this baby and voted on her even though the odds are that the infant was in fact fathered by alice's paramour bora and that nicholas actually
new that's in a bitter sweet sort of coincidence polina was born on february fourteenth which of course is valentine's day was also the same day that i was his mother and grandmother had died many years prior also in nineteen twenty five alice and nicholas moved into their home at two thousand nine massachusetts avenue northwest which has just west of dupont circle alice would live there for the rest of her life and the house which was built on eighteen eighty one would serve as a home base for the first daughter as many famed a social events that she would host for the next six decades in nineteen thirty one alice's husband nicholas long worth died and unfortunately he didn't really leave much behind in terms of finances for his widow family money was almost entirely gone and while
lover william bora lived another nine years it doesn't appear that he really helped his mistress out financially two years after her husband's death alice published her memoirs crowded hours in an effort to make some money and this was also the year that franklin delano roosevelt took office so just in case you don't know the scoop some people think that though he was much closer much more closely related to teddy roosevelt than he actually was theodore roosevelt and empty are only distant related they were forced cousins once removed i have also seen unlisted this fifth cousin so your command of genealogy and how that works may affect your perception of that f the arse wife eleanor however was actually much more closely related to the former president because the euro roosevelt had been her uncle alice was really pretty cutting when it came to franklin and elinor she once described franklin delano roosevelt as one third sap and two thirds ellen
i was apparently would do unflattering imitations of eleanor at tea parties i think we recently got a request for us to do and whole episode about the eleanor alice spewed we did in its i do did it is we bring prepping this and really the end of the day that just boils down to a lot of descriptions of kind of petty arguments so that is the best for a whole this out but there were a lot of arguments and a lot of nit picking it was one of those things were lake they would gossip two friends about one another in kind of circulate really insulting things you know it was a pretty caddies it nation in nineteen thirty eight alice and her half brother collaborated as editors on a book of poetry
that same year she put the house on massachusetts avenue on the market although it never sold her social engagements became the invite in washington and alice was pretty open about her opinions both political and social and kind of used all of her social of says as opportunities to broadcast these of indians to really the elite of washington she also licensed her image freeze and advertisements for products like cigarettes and cold cream and she did all of this to try to support herself in polina as we are sort of marrying me end of ours is life what's first pause for a word from one of our sponsors this episode of stuff you missed in history glass is brought to you by eighty tea would you like to get the latest innovation and smart home security combined with twenty four seven monitoring from the most trusted name and home security if so eighty he is for you eighty has a team
of professionals that will design and install a secure smart home just for you and there ten thousand employees safeguarding you was connection to first responders you'll get the nation number one smart home security provider and you will get a secure smart home with every from video doorbells indoor out or cameras smart locks and legs all controlled from the eighty app or just using the sound of your voice and you can get professionally monitored carbon monoxide and smoke detection which i know is a huge factor and safety for a lot of families you also get a system that is custom design just for your home and the great thing is that all of this safety can be taken on the go whether car whether your grocery shopping your work your kids are at school you just need the eighty t go up which has a handy s o s button this episode was brought to you by eighty tee
so hours did continue to make public your friends throughout her entire life that really was sort of her circles ass she always new kind of many people in power and she eventually became close friends with richard nixon when he was serving as vice president and then when nixon became president he would often invite alice who usually went by mrs el to the white house stephen hosted her eighty seven birthday party there so even though she had been banned for a couple of different presidencies she was allowed back in eventually but her close friendship with nixon did not survive the watergate scandal alice sort of distance herself from nixon and when asked about it she would claim that the whole thing meaning that whole scandal had become quote boring she also became close with the candidates family despite their democratic affiliation and in spite of her lifeline position as republic in alice supported the democratic party and nineteen sixty four and ninety
sixty eight i wonder how much of that had to do with like the shifting ideologies of the parties at that point not an insignificant amount you know she was not a woman who sort of joseph kindly went down party line she really was pretty thoughtful about her positions she would go sort of so adamant and passionate about that you might think that she had lost sight of the forest for the trees in some cases but i think she really did you know welcome the ideas of other people she liked to have political discourse i'm sure when someone made a case for a situation that she thought was certainly sensible and made sense to her she didn't necessarily sea it is changing side so much as no i'm still going on with my convictions they just happen to align with these people at the moment another tragedy struck in nineteen fifty seven
when i was his daughter polina died from a combination of sleeping pills and alcohol sometimes referred to is a purposeful overdose sometimes couched in slightly more nebulous terms buch polina did leave behind a daughter this term and alice actually raised her granddaughter after pulling his death as the years were on that house outside of dupont circle grew shabby and flattered but they really didn't seem to concern the aging first daughter so much she left the yard grow over the house filled up with papers she started spent the majority of our time on the third floor with their books and a well stocked refrigerator for snacks during reading breaks this sound a little light gray gardens but she did not go completely broke yeah she's still had servants she had made a role
the servants were allowed to stay at the house because she didn't like being awakened early one story goes that the servants would arrive at eleven and she would usually tell him to go away and she would go back to sleep until one o clock in the afternoon but yes she was it like isolated without people but mrs el din are to lose her mental edge eventually but her granddaughter joanna visited frequently they stayed close and joanna also sort of started this effort to make sure that i was his friends were stopping by and that our wasn't like a lonely old lady in a crumbling house she really wanted to stay social alice die nineteen eighty a week after her birthday at the age of ninety six in accordance with her wishes she had a very quiet burial and she had lived all of her half siblings from her father second marriage
yeah it's kind of one of those interesting things you usually expect the wild party child to burn out much earlier than the rest of the family but she just kept on going and she was a spit fire the whole time in her memoirs alice who very obvious they everyone loved and admired her father was pretty open though that she struggled with some resentments with him particularly about his move west after her mother died she really felt that he had kind of abandoned her is an infant and she also admitted that she had been really jealous and angry at having to vie for his attention to compete with his second wife once he did come back to new york and then their fight
children like she just felt like she never got to have her father to herself she wrote in her diary while she lived at the white house quote father doesn't care for me that is to say one slash eight as much as he does for the other children i pray for a fortune i care for nothing except to amuse myself and a charmingly expensive way yet sort of reads like such a classic psychological study of like a child that acts out for attention and sort of you know her feelings of being ignored and
kind of lead to that behaviour that really informed her entire life but one of the things that i really love about alice is that she is as quotable as can be what really made her standouts throughout all of her years were her amazing quips some of which were very caddy and some of which were just sort of wonderfully witty so i thought to close out we will cover a few favorites did you gonna tell the first what dear so show mccarthy tried to call her by her first name and she said no senator mccarthy you are not going to call me alice the trautmann the trash men and the policeman on the black may call me alice but may not insert of love that the one that i really love her is that she once said my specialty is detached malevolence
earlier so what's her life philosophy was bill what's empty empty what's bull and scratch where issues on seems a very sensible we are but she reminds me a bit of of edna saint vincent millay end and we action got a letter after episode and edna statements of away from somebody who is kind of chagrined that we had talked about her she again in a gleeful away whereas if she had been a man we would not have talked about a grief away and the like there was a whole aspect of it had to be with her being expelled from school and allowed beckoned because she was a celebrity which is not totally germane to this episode but i think that is that when when alice was behaving in this way she was challenging the status quo and many men doings
other things were maintaining the status quo so that is why when women quote misbehave sometimes we sound quite gleeful about it by love anybody that's spitfire but the act totally see as well how she was just a pain in the neck like i am can you imagine if a modern president's like if we heard a story of lake president bush's twins when he in office or president obama's girls just german themselves in the meetings like we would never hear the end of it in the press and how horrifying it was but alice did this stuff and somehow people just loved her so much that they thought it but where is the girl she interrupted another important meeting in the white house like who would there you have while making her a good ambassador i is one of those things am i what were you thinking that really sound like she's just gonna pants the ambassador from china and then runaway giggling and that would just be horrible
or international affairs year so in that regard it might be good and i believe this the question marks about actually saying this is a good thing but her having taken up with long worth with his man who was much older and kind of having that little adventure on that trip may have saved some embarrassment international body there yes she was cupid and could not pants somebody but you see i could see where she would be allowed to deal with and it is interesting one of the articles that i read for this was actually written by a biographer of hers but it was contextual rising it in a sort of looking at modern president's children and how there is to some degree this this unspoken rule of like you leave the kids out of it and you don't really focus on them but that lake
berwin president obama's children i don't know which of the girls it was like rolled her eyes at some event and people were all in a twitter about it and she's like you kidding me do you know what i was roosevelt did this is like
thirteen year old girl roles her eyes like you consider yourself lucky on our because it could be like it was in the early nineties hundreds which is the start of a funny way to catch it thank you so much for joining us on this saturday if you have heard an email address or a facebook url or something similar over the course of today's episode since it is from the archive that might be out of date now you can email us at history podcast at how stuff works dot com and you can find us all over social media at missed in history and you can subscribe to our shadow on apple podcast google podcast the iheart radio app and wherever else he listened the podcast
study based in history glasses of production of denmark radios housetop works for our paths for my how radio visit thy heart radio appleton guests or wherever you listen to your favorite shows i'm so it which i am a man of the elles hey there i'm bellamy young and today i'm gonna talk about what i wore when i want to show for scandal welcome to what i why when the production of glamour and i heard radio i'm your host perry somerton each week i'm sitting down with a woman i find fascinating to talk about what she wore during a pivotal moment in her life listen to what i wore when on the iheart radio app apple podcast or wherever you got your podcast
Transcript generated on 2019-12-31.