Theodore Roosevelt first met and fell for Alice Hathaway Lee in October of 1878. Late-1880, head over heels in love, they wed; months later, they welcomed their daughter into the world. It was two days after that birth, on Valentine’s Day of 1884, that tragedy ripped the family apart: in the early hours of the day, Theodore said a final goodbye to his dear mother, Martha, as she succumbed to Typhoid; hours later, still in shock, he held his wife in his arms as she died from undiagnosed kidney failure. This is his diary entry for that day. On the 16th, at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, both women were buried in a joint funeral; the next day, Roosevelt’s newborn daughter was christened Alice.
FEBRUARY, THURSDAY 14. 1884.
The light has gone out of my life
Roosevelt’s original diaries are held in two collections, much of which can be viewed online: The Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College, and the Theodore Roosevelt Papers at the Library of Congress. However, his diaries have also been published in an excellent book, and it’s titled, A Most Glorious Ride: The Diaries of Theodore Roosevelt, 1877-1886.
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