Theodore Roosevelt

  • Sculptor: James Earle Fraser
  • Architect: John Russell Pope
  • Dedicated: 1940
  • Medium and size: Bronze equestrian group (10 feet), granite pedestal (8.6 feet), friezes on either side, life-size figures on cornice
  • Location: American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West and 79th Street
  • Subway: B, C to 81st Street - Museum of Natural History

Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy’s Bear

Teddy's bear

Above: Roosevelt, on a hunting trip to Mississippi, refuses to shoot a chained bear cub. Clifford Kennedy Berryman drew the cartoon for the Washington Post in 1902, and soon an enterprising toymaker began selling “Teddy Bears.”

Not a Hero to All His Contemporaries

Roosevelt campaign

Above: “Take Your Choice, Gentlemen.” For the 1904 presidential campaign, only a few years after the Spanish-American War (1898), Theodore Roosevelt is shown promoting militarism and crushing the Constitution under foot, while his opponent, Democrat Alton B. Parker, exalts the Constitution and tramples the sword of militarism.

Roosevelt on the Armory Show of 1913

Like Gutzon Borglum (see the web page on Butterfield), Roosevelt expressed reservations about the more avant-garde works at the 1913 Armory Show:

The exhibitors were quite right as to the need of showing to our people in this manner the art forces which of late have been at work in Europe, forces which can not be ignored.

This does not mean that I in the least accept the view that these men take of the European extremists whose pictures were here exhibited. It is true, as the champions of these extremists say, that there can be no life without change, and that to be afraid of what is different or unfamiliar is to be afraid of life. It is no less true, however, that change may mean death and not life, and retrogression instead of development. Probably we err in treating most of these pictures seriously. It is likely that many of them represent in the painters the astute appreciation of the power to make folly lucrative which the late P.T. Barnum showed with his faked mermaid. There are thousands of people who will pay small sums to look at a faked mermaid; and now and then one of this kind with enough money will buy a Cubist picture, or a picture of a misshapen nude woman, repellent from every standpoint.... -- Theodore Roosevelt, "An Art Exhibition," History as Literature and Other Essays (1913), p. 303 

A Favorite Roosevelt Quote

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt, "Citizenship in a Republic," 1910 

Cross References

  • On the Spanish-American War: Marti, Maine Monument, Schurz
  • On the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition: Jefferson
  • Other works by Saint Gaudens in this series: Farragut, Cooper, Sherman
  • Other works by Weinmann, who designed the Mercury dime): Clinton, Rea
  • Outdoor Monuments of Manhattanhas more on the details of this sculpture and others on the facade of the American Museum of Natural History, plus more information on American coinage in the 19th century.

Copyright (c) 2013 Dianne L. Durante