Page images
PDF
EPUB

as by the members of his college society. He began to live in a democratic way on his first day af college, and during the entire four years of his course he occupied rooms in a private house, then No. 16, now No. 88 Winthrop street. It stands at the southwest corner of Winthrop and Holyoke streets, two blocks toward the river from Massachusetts avenue, on the extreme edge of the college community, and within a stone's throw of the Charles. The house was then kept by Mrs. Richardson, who afterward moved to Somerville; she rented the four rooms of the second floor to two students. Mr. Roosevelt had the two rooms at the southeast corner of the house, the front room, a very large study, and the rear one, a very small bedroom. Compared to the rooms in use by students at Harvard now, since the building of the large private dormitories, Mr. Roosevelt’s quarters were modest indeed. When Mr. Roosevelt entered college he had already developed a taste for hunting and for natural history, which has since led him so often and so far through field and forest and made him an authority on the character and habits of the big game of America. His rifle and huntingkit, the skins and trophies of the chase, were the most conspicuous things in his room. His birds he mounted himself. Live turtles and insects were always to be found in his study, and one who lived in the house with him at the time recalls the excitement occasioned by a particularly large turtle, sent him by a friend from the Southern seas, which escaped out of its box one night and started toward the bath-room in search of water. In the memory of his classmates Mr. Roosevelt holds a warm place, notwithstanding his pronounced opinions and fearless habit of expression. As one of them has expressed it, he was “peculiarly earnest and mature in the way he took hold of things.” Both his fellows and his teachers say he was much above the average as a student. Yet he was not easily led, even then, but was as original and as reliant on his own judgment as at present. In a mere matter of opinion or dogma he was always ready to cross swords with his instructors, and several of his contemporaries in college recall with smiles some very strenuous discussions with teachers in which he was involved by his habit of defending his own convictions. At graduation he was one of the few of his class who took honors, his subject being natural history. Mr. Roosevelt seems at this time to have followed that all-round activity, and to have attained that high excellence in each field which is the ideal of college experience. He was well toward the top as a student, but he was far too human not to have a full share in the social and political life of the institution. In his sophomore year he was one of the forty men in his class who belonged to the Institute of 1870. In his senior year he was a member of the Porcelain Club, the Alpha Delta Phi, and the Hasty Pudding Clubs. Of the last named he was secretary. His membership in the clubs of a less social mature shows what kind of a college man he was. In rowing, baseball and football he was an earnest champion, although seldom an active participant. In other athletic contests he was a familiar figure. It was while at Harvard that he became proficient in boxing, an art that stood him in good stead at an important stage of his career as an assemblyman, when the argument of brute force was invoked to suppress him. Boxing was a regular feature of the Harvard Athletic Association contests, and “Teddy,” as he was universally called, was the winner of many a lively bout. He has never been a believer in a negative policy, and some of his happiest epigrams have sprung from his knowledge of the art of self-defense. During his college days Mr. Roosevelt kept a horse and cart, the latter one of the extremely high ones that were in vogue at that time, and which to-day may be frequently seen on the boulevards of American cities. In this he drove almost every afternoon. His love for the saddle was developed later, when he adopted the life of a cowboy. He was a familiar figure in the society of Boston, where his dashing and picturesque ways made him a welcome guest. There is a photograph extant, taken at this time, which shows him with a rather becoming set of whiskers. It was taken at graduation and is highly prized by his classmates. The picture shows a young man of mature thought and sober judgment. Mr. Roosevelt had his share in college journalism. During his senior year he was one of the editors of the Advocate. Albert Bushnell Hart, professor of American history in the college, was editor-in-chief. It is not plain just

PRESIDENT RoosevelT IN His Graduating YEAR AT HARVARP, 1880, AND ALSO AT THE AGE OF NIN E YEARS

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »