favorite presidential kid? probably alice roosevelt.
-her mother died two days after she was born and on the same day her maternal grandmother also died. teddy was so sad that he left his newborn daughter with his sister anna for two years and could never bring himself to say his wife’s name so alice who was named after her mother had to be called “lee”, her middle name.
-when teddy remarried, alice’s stepmom edith made it clear that she thought alice’s mom had been beautiful but dumb. when alice’s parents couldn’t handle her anymore, they sent her to her aunt anna’s. according to alice, “If auntie Bye had been a man, she would have been president”. alice claimed to feel one-sixth as loved as her five half-siblings.
-then alice got polio which at the time could kill, not to mention cripple. her stepmom put her through an uncompromising regimen of nightly forced wearing of torturous leg braces and shoes, which left alice with no trace of the disability and able to run up stairs and touch her nose with her toe well into her 80s.
-alice’s dad and stepmom tried to send her to a conservative girls’ school but alice wrote home, “If you send me I will humiliate you. I will do something that will shame you. I tell you I will”.
-when teddy became president in 1901, alice became an instant celebrity and fashion icon at age 17. she did scandalous things like smoking cigarettes in public, riding in cars with men, staying out late partying, keeping a pet snake (called emily spinach) in the white house, and placing bets with a bookie.
-she even had a color – alice blue – and a song – alice blue gown – named after her. the press called her princess alice.
-during an imperial cruise to japan, alice jumped into a pool fully dressed and coaxed a congressman in to join her.
-one time a white house visitor commented on alice’s frequent interruptions in the oval office, usually with political advice. after the third interruption, teddy explained, “I can either run the country or I can attend to Alice, but I cannot possibly do both”.
-in february 1906, alice married congressman nicholas longworth and was the social event of the season. it was attended by more than a thousand guests and thousands gathered outside hoping for a glance of princess alice. she wore a blue wedding dress and cut the wedding cake with a sword.
-alice publicly supported her dad’s 1912 presidential candidate while her husband supported president taft. alice appeared on stage in her husband’s own district with her dad’s vp candidate. longworth lost by 105 votes and alice joked that she was worth at least 100 votes (meaning she was the reason he lost).
-alice’s campaign against her husband caused a friction in their marriage and longworth was known to be carrying on many affairs. it was also generally accepted knowledge in dc that alice had a long, ongoing affair with senator william borah, who by alice’s own admission was the father of her daughter, paulina. alice had a wicked sense of humor and had initially wanted to name her daughter deborah (as in de Borah).
-after the death of her daughter paulina in 1957, alice fought for and won custody of her granddaughter joanna.
-in the 1950s, alice’s health began to fail her and she broke a hip. she also discovered she was suffering from breast cancer and had to have two mastectomies. in 1960, alice was diagnosed with emphysema.
-alice was also a champion of rights for african-americans. one day, in 1965, alice’s african-american chauffeur and good friend, turner, was driving her to an appointment. turner pulled out in front of a taxi and the driver yelled at him, “What do you think you’re doing, you black bastard?” turner stayed calm but alice told the taxi driver, “He’s taking me to my destination, you white son of a bitch!”
-after many years of ill health, alice died of emphysema and pneumonia at age 96, outliving all five of her younger half-siblings.
-her most famous quote was, “If you haven’t got anything good to say about anybody, come sit next to me”.
-when senator joseph mccarthy joked at a party, “Here’s my blind date. I am going to call you Alice”, she replied, “Senator McCarthy, you are not going to call me Alice. The trashman and the policeman on my block call me Alice, but you may not”.
-she told president lyndon b. johnson that she wore wide-brimmed hats so he couldn’t kiss her.
-when a kkk member dressed in full costume asked her to trust his word, she said, “I never trust a man under sheets”.
so in summary, alice roosevelt longworth was badass.
this is her:
here’s little alice
more of teen/young adult alice
alice with her daughter paulina
alice as a grand old lady