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Theodore Roosevelt's schoolboy days were not far out of the ordinary. He studied hard, and if he failed in a lesson he did his best to make it up the next time. It is well said that there is no royal road to learning, and even a future President must study just as hard as his classmates if he wants to keep up with them. Sometimes he was absent from school on account of sickness, and then it was a sharp struggle to keep from dropping behind.
“In those days nobody expected Teddy Roosevelt to amount to a great deal,” some one has said. “He was thin, pale, and delicate, and suffered with his eyes. But he pulled through, and when he took to athletics, it was wonderful how he got stronger.”
By his intimate companions, and indeed by nearly everybody who knew him, he was called Teddy, and this nickname clung to him when he went forth into the great world to become a governor and a president. How the nickname came first into use is not known.
Since those schoolboy days Mr. Roosevelt has been asked this question :
“What did you expect to be, or dream of being, when you were a boy ?”
“I do not recollect that I dreamed at all or planned at all," was the answer. simply obeyed the injunction, "Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do that with all thy might, and so I took up what came along as it came.'
In 1876, while the great Centennial Exhibition was being held at Philadelphia in commemoration of one hundred years of national liberty, Theodore Roosevelt took up his residence at Cambridge, Massachusetts, and became a student at Harvard College. During the previous year his health had been poor indeed, but now he had taken hold of himself in earnest.
“ I determined to be strong and well, and did everything to make myself so,” he has said. “By the time I entered Harvard I was able to take part in whatever sports I liked.”
As perhaps some of my readers know, Harvard College (now termed a University) is the oldest and largest institution of learning in the United States. It was founded in 1636, and among its graduates numbered
John Quincy Adams, sixth President of our country. The college proper is located in Cambridge, but some of the attached schools are in Boston.
Theodore Roosevelt was rich enough to have lived in elegant style while at Harvard, but he preferred unostentatious quarters, and took two rooms in the home of Benj. H. Richardson, at what was then No. 16 and is now No. 88 Winthrop Street. The residence is a neat and comfortable one, standing on the southwest corner of Winthrop and Holyoke streets.
The young student had two rooms on the second floor, - one of good size, used for a study, and a small bedroom. In the whole four years he was at the college he occupied these rooms, and he spent a great deal of time in fixing them up to suit his own peculiar taste. On the walls were all sorts of pictures and photographs, along with foils and boxing-gloves, and the horns of wild animals. On a shelf rested some birds which he had himself stuffed, and books were everywhere.
“It was a regular den, and typical of Roosevelt to the last degree," a student of