Raab in Forbes; Roosevelt’s Signed Drawings

As published first at Nathan's blog at Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanraab/2015/09/16/theodore-roosevelts-signed-drawings-are-rare-valuable-and-truly-revealing/

Theodore Roosevelt's Signed Drawings Are Rare, Valuable, And Truly Revealing

Theodore Roosevelt: explorer, President, hunter, outdoors-man… artist?

In 1903, President Roosevelt visited Yellowstone National Park.  It was a remarkably distant and ambitious trip for a sitting President.  Yet he found time to write tender, evocative letters home to his youngest son.  And these letters are remarkable not only for the demonstrated affection of a father for his child but for the evocative and historic drawings he added to many.  In fact, he loved sketching wild life and scenes of the camp and the hunt, something few know.

We discovered such an original historical document in the private collection of a close Roosevelt confidant, who likely received it as a gift from the former First Lady.  Quentin was 6 years old at the time, and President Roosevelt called him “Quenty-quee.”  “I love you very much,” TR wrote.  “Here is a picture of the mule that carries, among other things, my bag of clothes. There are about twenty mules in the pack train. They all follow one another in single file up and down mountain paths and across streams.”  It is signed, “Your loving father.”

Roosevelt's letter home to his son from Yellowstone National Park, with a drawing of his pack mule

Roosevelt’s letter home to his son from Yellowstone National Park, with a drawing of a mule

The sketch reflects Roosevelt’s interest in the details of his trip and his desire to bring his son along with him on the journey.  It is simple but tells the story.

This habit of drawing extended well into his life.  In 1915, he wrote a book on his outdoor adventures and wanted to include a sketch of his favorite hunting rifle, along with a pair of antlers.  Rather than allow another to perform the work, he did so himself, in a historical document that lists the prey he killed, a remarkable piece, that, though lacking the tender affection of the letter to his son, reminds you of his sketches of animals he sent to Quentin.

Theodore Roosevelt sketches his favorite hunting rifle.

Theodore Roosevelt sketches his favorite hunting rifle

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