Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt
August 6, 1861, Norwich, Connecticut
September 30, 1948, in Oyster Bay, New York
Edith Roosevelt served as first lady throughout both her husband Theodore Roosevelt’s terms in the years 1901-1909.
Roosevelt’s first wife, Alice, had died in 1884 and he married Edith six years later. Roosevelt and Edith had actually known each other since their childhood days living next door to each other in New York City. Edith was 40 years old when she became first lady and the mother of six, including her step-daughter Alice. The young family brought an unprecedented sense of adventure and playfulness to their lives in the executive mansion and had no qualms about including a miscellaneous menagerie of pets that ranged from an exotic blue macaw to a pony. The public was fascinated by this energetic bunch, and Edith actually hired a secretary to help manage the family image in the media.
As first lady, Edith managed a total restoration of the White House that included the addition of the West Wing as presidential office space. She also recognized the important contributions of her predecessors and saw to it that a gallery of first ladies’ portraits was installed on the first floor in the White House.
Roosevelt stated about his wife Edith, “[Edith is] not only cultured, but scholarly.”