What did Teddy Read?

“And it’s likely that no president will ever match the Rough Rider himself, who charged through multiple books in a single day and wrote more than a dozen well-regarded works, on topics ranging from the War of 1812 to the American West.” ~For Obama and past presidents, the books they read shape policies and perceptions by Trevi Troy, April 18 2010, The Washington Post

I’ve read about U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt in at least three separate books, and these are just a few of the works I’ve seen on his reading list:

Plays:
Aechylus’ Orestean trilogy.
Seven Against Thebes by Sophocles.
Hippolytus and Bacchae by Euripides.
Frogs by Aristophanes.
Shakespeare: Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Henry IV, Henry V, Richard II,

Novels:
The Heir of Redclyffe by
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.
The Boy Hunters by Captain Reid
The Hunters’ Feast by Captain Reid.
The Scalp Hunters by Captain Reid.
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
Sebastopol Sketches by Leo Tolstoy.
The Cossacks by Leo Tolstoy.
With Fire and Sword (Polish: Ogniem i mieczem) by Henryk Sienkiewicz. (I want to read this classic historical novel of 17th century Poland.)
In the Sargasso Sea by Thomas Janvier.
Guy Mannering by Sir Walter Scott.
The Antiquary by Sir Walter Scott.
Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott.
Waverly by Sir Walter Scott.
Quentin Durward by Sir Walter Scott. (Does anyone read Scott, other than Ivanhoe, these days?)
Stories and poems by Bret Harte.
Tom Sawyerr by Mark Twain.
Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens.
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens.
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray.
Pendennis by William Makepeace Thackeray.
The Newcomes by William Makepeace Thackeray.
The Adventures of Philip by William Makepeace Thackeray.
The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Charles O’Malley by Charles Lever.
Tittlebat Titmouse by Samuel Warren.
Stories by Artemus Ward.
Stories and essays by Octave Thanet (Alice French).
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
The stories of Hans Christian Anderson. (TR read these aloud to his children.)
Grimm’s fairy tales. (And these.)
Howard Pyle’s King Arthur.
Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus stories.
Other authors: Tarkington (Penrod?), Churchill (Richard Carvel or The Crisis?), Remington, Wister (The Virginian?), Trevelyan, Conrad (Lord Jim?),

Poetry:
The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott.
Marmion by Sir Walter Scott.
Lay of the Last Minstrel by Sir Walter Scott.
The Flight of the Duchess by Robert Browning
The first two cantos of Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Poems by Michael Drayton. (“There are only two or three I care for,” wrote TR.)
Portions of the Nibelungenleid.
Church’s Beowulf.
Morris’ translation of the Heimskringla.
Miss Hill’s Cuchulain Saga, together with The Children of Lir, The Children of Turin, The Tale of Deirdre, etc.
Other poets: Keats, Browning, Poe,Tennyson, Longfellow, Kipling, Bliss Carman, Lowell, R.L. Stevenson, Allingham,

Nonfiction:
Parts of Herodotus.
The first and seventh books of Thucydides.
All of Polybius.
A little of Plutarch.
Parts of The Politics of Aristotle.
Froissart on French history.
The Memoirs of Baron de Marbot.
Charles XII and the collapse of the Swedish empire, 1682-1719 by R. Nisbet Bain.
Essays by Macaulay.
Types of Naval Officers by A.T. Mahan.
Over the Teacups (essays) by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (TR called Holmes, Jr., the son of the author, “one of the most interesting men I have ever met.”)
Abraham Lincoln: A History by John Hay and John G. Nicolay. (Hay was Roosevelt’s Secretary of State until Hay’s death in 1905. Hay was also, as a young man, Lincoln’s assistant and private secretary. Isn’t it odd to think that the same man knew both Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln?)
Two volumes of Speeches and Writings by Abraham Lincoln.
Shakespeare and Voltaire by Thomas Raynesford Lounsbury. (490 pages)
Six volumes of Mahaffey’s Studies of the Greek World.
Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa by David Livingstone.
On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.
Catalogue of North American Birds by Spencer Fullerton Baird.
Review of American BIrds
North American Reptiles
Catalogue of North American Mammals
My reminiscences of the Anglo-Boer war By Benjamin Johannis Viljoen.
Birds and bees and other studies in nature by John Burroughs.
John James Audubon by John Burroughs.
Malay Sketches by Frank Swettenham.

THis list is just a sampling of TR’s reading. He is generally acknowledged, along with THomas Jefferson, to be best read of all the American presidents.

One thought on “What did Teddy Read?

  1. Wow! That’s quite a list! I remember an episode from his life in which he helped apprehend a couple if desperadoes in the Badlands and had to walk back to town. In the middle of all of this, he still managed to read some rather ponderous work of literature!

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