“I have just your love for the desert. Not the fairest cultivation ever appeals to me quite as much as the wild loneliness of the wilderness.”.
Roosevelt was the first conservationist president. He established the National Wildlife Refuge program, and was largely responsible for establishment of federal control and regulation over public lands of the West. He created many desert national parks and monuments, including Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Montezuma’s Castle and Petrified Forest. His National Reclamation...
Roosevelt was the first conservationist president. He established the National Wildlife Refuge program, and was largely responsible for establishment of federal control and regulation over public lands of the West. He created many desert national parks and monuments, including Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Montezuma’s Castle and Petrified Forest. His National Reclamation Act of 1902 authorized western irrigation projects, and under this law Roosevelt initiated the construction of western dams, and the task of reclaiming the desert Southwest was started. Of the North Dakota Badlands, which is a desert in part, he said, “I grow very fond of this place, and it certainly has a desolate, grim beauty of its own, that has a curious fascination for me.”
I have just your love for the desert. Not the fairest cultivation ever appeals to me quite as much as the wild loneliness of the wilderness.
Louisa Lee Schuyler was the great-granddaughter of Gen. Philip Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton, and in addition to her love of the country’s natural beauties, she devoted her life to charitable causes. She organized the Woman’s Central Association of Relief, the core of the United States Sanitary Commission, which worked in aid of the volunteer soldier throughout the Civil War. In 1873 she organized the New York Charities Aid Association and in the following year established the Bellevue School of Nursing, the first professional school of nursing in the United States. In so doing, Schuyler shifted the concept of assisting those in need from a moral do-good view to one that is professionally administered. In recognition of her 40 years of activity in charitable work she received in 1915 the first honorary degree of LL.D. ever conferred upon a woman by Columbia University. Miss Schuyler was a friend and colleague of Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., the President’s revered father. The elder Roosevelt was a major charitable activist, co-founding a hospital, the YMCA, and other insitutions, and was also active with Schuyler in the Charities Aid Association. She delivered a memorable eulogy to him after his death in 1878.
When Roosevelt took office in 1901, one of his initial decisions was to root out corruption, and having heard rumors that the postal service was rife with it, determined to investigate and take that on first. He found it was so, ordered the culprits indicted and managed to obtain a number of convictions. He used these as both a prototype and a warning; a prototype because he then turned to other agencies with the same task, and a warning to public servants that he was serious about rooting out corruption and they better take heed. Soon after, corrupt customs house examiners enabled importers of silk to evade customs, and TR again prosecuted.
Thomas W. Symons was Superintendent of Public Buildings and Grounds in Washington but was also an engineer involved with a project to update the Erie Canal in New York. He suggested placing bronze commemorative tablets on the canal, the content or location of which apparently interested Schuyler.
Manuscript Letter Signed on White House letterhead, in striking calligraphy, Washington, February 27, 1904, to Louisa Lee Schuyler. “It was a great pleasure to receive your letter. You are always more than kind and I fully appreciate the friendship you have shown me. I have just your love for the desert. Not the fairest cultivation ever appeals to me quite as much as the wild loneliness of the wilderness. I am particularly pleased at this moment because we have obtained convictions against several people, including the worst scoundrel of all in the post office cases; and we also secured convictions in the silk fraud cases. I shall take up the matter of the tablets at once with Colonel Symons, the Superintendant of Public Buildings and Grounds.”?He signs with “warm regards to your sister.” This is the first Roosevelt White House letter in calligraphy we can recall, and seeing as how the text of the letter is clearly in his voice, he obviously wanted to send his father’s old friend a letter beautiful in both look and content.
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