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tv   American Artifacts  CSPAN  August 7, 2016 10:03pm-10:31pm EDT

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on admiration for his honesty and courage. he spent the last years of his vigorous life in an effort to promote mutual understanding and goodwill among all nations. >> ♪ >> he talked with churchill in london and shared experiences with britain's average folk. >> ♪ >> he visited and talked with the people of russia, the middle east, and china, renewing his strong freight in unity among all people. -- strong faith in unity among all people. a great american and world citizen who will be sorely missed in the critical years ahead. >> ♪
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watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on cspan3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook. >> each week, american artifacts takes you to museums and historic places. up next, a visit to 28 east 20th street in new york city the , theodore roosevelt birth place historic site. >> his legacy still impacts us today, whether it be about conservation or federal regulation trust busting. or foreign policy, which we don't debate whether it's good or bad here at the birth place. or bad here at the birth place.
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but the panama canal, his vision for america. given his time, was extremely progressive. and is something that affects everyone 100 or 95, to be exact, 95 years after his death. there are still tons of documentaries, books about him. he was endlessly fascinating and dynamic. he's a guy who overcomes the tragic death of his wife. he goes on to achieve great things. that somehowtory never gets boring. rooms, tours of the guided only. if you want to see the house, you have to go with a guide. the story we tell here begins in 1853, with a gentleman by the name of cornelius roosevelt. cornelius and his wife margaret, they had five sons. around the same time in 1853,
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two of their sons were getting married, their son robert and their son theodore. so what better wedding present to get your son but a house each. 26 east 20th, which you have to imagine was opposite this wall over here, was robert roosevelt's house. 28 east 20th was theodore's. our president was the second child born here. he had an older sister, he was born october 27, 1858 and lived here for the first 14 years of his life. in 1872 his parents decided time for the family to move. in 1872, they decided to move to the country, the country was fifth avenue and 57th street. kind of hard to imagine now. they traveled in traditional fashion, they vacationed for a whole year, where their, while their new home was being built. they travel through europe.
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he is 14 years old and developing cultural awareness of how the world works. when they return, they return to their brand-new mansion. so once roosevelt left this site in 1872, at the age of 14, as far as we know, he never returned to the house again. the original house unfortunately went through some changes over the years. i'm going to show you some historical photos to help you picture some of those changes. the first photograph dates back to around 1890's. and you can see there was a store front facade and a set of bay windows added to the building. but it's still the original home, and the property next-door where you see the cafe would actually be uncle robert's house right next-door. so if you visualize the two identical homes side by side. and this house was owned by various owners over the years. in 1916, the property goes up
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for so once more. bear in mine roosevelt is alive in 1916, he's living in oyster bay, long island, which is also a national historic site today. and he has no interest in going -- buying back his boyhood home. which is unfortunate for all of us because in 1916 the gentleman that purchases the property demolishes the house. and this idea of historic preservation wasn't a priority in 1916. i always like to tell folks, there was no one chaining themselves to the building, saying save t.r.'s home. in 1916, the original building is demolished and this two-story gets put up on this site. notice a couple things about this photograph. you see the two-story building here on the location where his house once was. you also notice the the uncle's house is still standing right next-door. if we zoom in, you'll notice that the original building left a shadow on the wall of the building just east of us. so when the idea of commemorating theodore roosevelt's achievements, when that was spoken about, this is after his death, he dies january 6, 1919.
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shortly after his death , prominent women in new york formed the women's roosevelt's memorial association. we like to abbreviate so we call it wrma. they got together and decided roosevelt was worthy of a memorial of some type. about six months later, the women in his family get on board. so the women had knew the president most intimately are active in this idea of preserving his memory. so we have his two sisters, alice and -- pardon me, anna and karen. they had first-hand experience because they lived here as well. his second wife, edith, who also spent a great deal of time here as a child because she grew up just south of us, his daughters and his niece. by any chance, do you remember who his niece was? his niece was the most famous roosevelt woman of them all, eleanor roosevelt. they decide it would be nice to rebuild his birth place. so this is how the site looked.
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the uncle's house next-door and this two-story building when this idea of memorializing roosevelt came about. so they purchased both properties, they commissioned a female architect, this is pretty amazing because in 1981 this is -- 1921 this is a very progressive idea. they commission a woman. interestingly enough, she was a survivor of the lusitania, she used the uncle's house, which is identical, as a model for the museum in terms of architectural details that really bring the house to life. all this historical detail. then they tear down uncle robert's as well as the two-story building and combine both from the ground floor. so we opened up as a public building on what would have been officially, on what would have been theodore roosevelt's 65th birthday. the house was administered by october 27, 1923. the women until 1962 when it was
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dedicated the same day as the home in sagamore hill as part of the national park service. we're going to walk through five historic period rooms that reflect what life was like for the young roosevelt when he lived here. 60% of the furnishings, artifacts are original to the family. we walk unimpeded, so just be mindful, no touching, no sitting, and we're going to stay in one room at a time. the first room we're entering is known as the roosevelt library. roosevelt in his autobiography refers to the library as a room of gloomy respectability. gaslighting. coal burning fireplaces. horse hair furniture. horse hair wasn't very comfortable for t.d., which was his nickname as a child. that is a huge misconception. people like to refer to him as teddy roosevelt. but he actually hated being referred to as teddy.
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he accepted it from the public and he accepted it at political rallies and from the media. but as a child he was nicknamed t.d., as an adult he was referred to as the colonel. this is a great photograph of him in his tailored brooks brothers uniform. his total rough rider military time was equivalent to about three months. but that was his preferred nickname. here is an historic photo by his chair in the corner. roosevelt consumed lots of books, various interests, natural history, adventure stories, tales of western adventure, people like davy crockett, daniel boone, george washington, president lincoln, most of the books in the family library are books the family would have owned and he would have had access to and read. the obelisks are original to the family trip to egypt in as you 1872. enter the room, the house is lit by gas lighting.
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from the chandelier you can see there's an extension down to the lamp, which is also original to the roosevelt home. that was to transport the gas for reading level. beautiful pocket doors, the dumbwaiter system -- the home had all the modern amenities that were available at this part of the 19th century. the pocket doors are also a great example of the roosevelt family business. that is a common question we get here. obviously the roosevelts are , doing pretty well for themselves, they are able to buy homes for each of their five sons. how did they make their money. it pays to get on the ground floor of anything in life, the roosevelts were very fortunate, and they get in on the ground floor of america. they arrive around 1646. so by the time t.d. is born in 1858, they're well established both socially as well as financially on the island manhattan. they're seven-generation new yorkers, originally in the hardware business. but they branch off and get involved in importing and exporting very fine glass.
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from there, the grandfather cornelius van schaack roosevelt, , c.v.s., would get more involved in real estate, banking, financing. our president's dad was one of these wealthy gentlemen who enjoyed spending the family fortune as opposed to making it. so he was not in tune with the family business. the grandfather lived a little bit south of us, on 14th street and broadway, which is where this famous photograph was taken, which you may have seen at another time. you have young t.d. looking out of a second floor window from his grandfather's home with his brother elliott at president lincoln's funeral procession. have you ever seen this photograph? it's an iconic photograph. considering the fact that both their legacies would be remembered one day alongside each other on mount rushmore. which is one of the most iconic monuments in the national park service. but it a big misconception that this photograph was taken from this house. you can see the street is pretty wide. this is broadway, this is union square park in the background.
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president lincoln's body was laid in state for mourners to pay their respects oh steps of city hall. in lower manhattan. from there they would travel by horse and carriage to, to the next destination. but this is the procession going north up broadway right past the grandfather's home and right past the future president of the united states. theodore roosevelt. we're going to enter the roosevelt dining room. dining was very formal in the family. nothing happened until father came home from work, changes out of one suit, changes into an evening suit. children are expected to dress for dinner. they would do theme nights around the table, could be french, one night could be german, italian. so if you wanted to pass the food, you had to say it in the language of the day. roosevelt goes on to speak six languages, read in four.
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food was brought up by the dumbwaiter system, which is right behind this door. so the kitchen was downstairs on the lower level. so that, the area that we all walked in today that was considered the service area, there would have been an informal eating area, kitchen, servants' quarters in the rear of the home. that was until 1865. in 1865, we know that family added a fifth level to the house for servants quarters. the dining room table on display is original to roosevelt's grandfather's home, the chairs date back to his sister's side of the family, and it's all about the dynamic of the family members who lived here. you had the four children, you had his parents, and his mom, interesting fact about his mother is that she wasn't a new yorker. she was a southern belle from roswell, georgia. 17 years old, marries theodore roosevelt sr. and moves up to new york city. but you can imagine the social
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adjustments that come with someone so young moving up to new york. when the civil war breaks out, roosevelt senior, her husband, like many men was drafted and called upon to go fight. but legally what you can do if you were wealthy is hire somebody to take your place in the war. this was referred to as hiring a substitute, and that's the road his father chose to take. minnie had brothers who were fighting for the confederacy. in addition, her sister lived here, as well as their mom. so it wasn't just one southern lady, it was three southern ladies living under the roof of an abolitionist and a lincoln republican. the perfect combination for some family drama. we are going to make our way to the front parlor. unlike the library, which was the equivalent of today's family room where the children spend most of their time, the parlor was generally off limits to the roosevelt children, reserved for sundays or formal occasions. one occasion was in 1868 when
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the charter that established the american museum of natural history in new york was signed in this room by his father. most people tend to associate president theodore roosevelt with the museum of natural history. with good reason, there's a big statue outside, that is the official new york state memorial to president roosevelt. you walk inside this rotunda, there's quotes along the wall, there's a mural, there's a memorial gallery below. but when the museum opened up he was only 10 years old. he did a lot in his life, but not that early. his father was also involved in the founding of the metropolitan museum of art. he helped raise money that built a pedestal for the statue of liberty. organizees the children's aid society, the orthopedic hospital. he is involved in the committee that eventually goes onto establish the brooklyn bridge. theres his support behind bringing cleopatra's needle over. so much much cultural new york his father had a role to play. important to remember, if you were born to a wealthy affluent family, the idea of charity or
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philanthropy, of giving back to the public, was encouraged. the idea of working for the public, and i mean working for the public in the political sense of becoming a politician, really was seen beneath your station in life. yet it's odd that theodore roosevelt at the young age of 23 is elected to the new york state assembly. early on he took onto the fact , that it was more important to be a member the governing class than the upper class. to be involved in the group of men that got to pass laws, implement change, make decisions that really affect people's life. at he serves in the white house 42, as the youngest president of the united states and the only president born in new york city. most of the furniture you see on display in the parlor is original to the family with the exception of the piano and curio piece. the lithograph hung in the roosevelt home. it is the image of one of lady
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washington's inaugural galas. we're going to step right out here, make our way to the front entrance. we're going to make our way to the second floor to visit the bedrooms. keep in mind, there are two more levels to the house. this is as far as visitors go today. but directly above us there are more offices and a conference room. the level above that is a large auditorium. the level where we are now, the nursery and the master bedroom. if you look out the window, you see the beautiful view we have. you have to use your imagination. you'll see you've got to remember the 20-story building wasn't back there, neither was the fire escape. but this second floor porch area, that was a home gym that his father had built for him to help roosevelt overcome his asthma. most people don't realize, they think of theodore roosevelt as the battle tested, robust man, they don't think of the sickly, frail, even wimpy kid who had to overcome a severe illness at an early age. doctors recommended various remedies to cure asthma, they
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would tell his father, let him drink hot black coffee. i have heard caffeine helps. other remedies, let him inhale cigar smoke. i don't know about cigar smoke. his dad took it upon himself, telling roosevelt you have the mind, but the mind is limited without the body. and challenging young t.d. to build his body. so that transformation from sickly kid to bow-chested, athletic, robust guy starts right here. off of the nursery, out on that piazza porch area. here is a great historic photo mid-transformation of roosevelt preparing for a crew meet at this is probably one the more iconic photographs of theodore roosevelt as a ranch man later in life. which we will get to in a little bit. it is his father's motivation and inspiration to help roosevelt overcome his illness. but his education was affected because of his asthma.
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he was home schooled. initially by his mom's sister, anna, who was staying in the house. there's a portrait of anna above the fireplace. she served the role of the nanny, she was the family story teller. so roosevelt at a very young age grew up with tales of knowing about southern ancestry. they were hunters, politicians. so they were very active. so roosevelt due to his interests, some historians would say he would be much more a bulllock than a roosevelt in the traditional sense. anna tutored the kids around five or six years old. then, the children are privately tutored and t.r.'s first formal education was harvard university. one would have to think socially that would come with some adjustments. the nursery was used by all the children while they were younger. they would eventually upgrade to their own bedrooms. one level up. the sleigh bed is original to his aunt anna. we also have some turn of the century exercise equipment, a medicine ball and set of indian
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clubs. that is the kind of equipment roosevelt would have had access to as a child. you've got to imagine it would have been all sorts of gymnastic equipment, to help him build up his body. we have an alcove that connects us to the master bedroom, which you can feel free to walk through. this is the room roosevelt was born in. all the furniture is custom made, for the price tag of $3,000 in 1865. which back then was a tremendous amount of money. crafted out of satin wood with rosewood trim. beautiful portrait of the president's mom directly above the fireplace. i mentioned minnie being a southern bell, 17 years old moving to new york city, came with some adjustments. civil war breaks out, her husband is called upon to go fight. and this took a toll on young t.d., as you can imagine. the one thing that lingered with
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him throughout his ascension to the white house was this idea that his father hired a substitute. so when the opportunity presented itself to erase the stain that he left on the family and presented itself in 1898 on the outbreak of the spanish-american war, theodore roosevelt served as assistant secretary of the navy, he jumps at the chance, he resigns in his nice desk job as assistant secretary of the navy to go lead the charge up san juan hill with the rough riders during the spanish american war and ultimately emerges as a big war hero. and here is probably the famous photograph of him with his men on top of kettle hill. coming back from cuba he's very popular, he's elected governor of new york. he's governor of new york state a short time before he starts enforcing a lot antitrust legislation. he would later continue to enforce it as president, which caused a lot of enemies within the republican party. and led republicans to gather
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together to oust him out of state and local politics. so they thought a fitting place would be to promote him to the vice president of the united states. roosevelt was reluctant to accept the nomination. he makes the remark that the only thing he was guaranteed from becoming vice president was a history professor job at some second-rate college. it works out well for him, not so much for president mckinley, who was assassinated six months into his second term, and at 42 years old theodore roosevelt ascended to the presidency. he's not elected until 1904 when he runs on his own terms, which in his mind was a political relief. he always viewed himself as a political accident being that he , wasn't elected first time around but was the successor to william mckinley. he's on mount rushmore. he is commemorated through memorials throughout the country. the national park, 230 million acres of land for public use. he did not start the national park service, which is a big
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misconception. because he was sort of the grandfather of the park service, by declaring many sites national monuments and wildlife refuge. but the park service was not established until president wilson. but he had the vision. and the ironic twist, he's a city kid with a vision of conservation. just sort of the same manner that he's a rich kid but is nicknamed the trust buster. he's responsible for building america's navy and is also the first american to be awarded the nobel peace prize for negotiating the peace treaty between russia and japan. he causes controversy by inviting booker t. washington to the white house much first time an african-american had dinner with the president of the united states. he passes the meat inspection act. after "the jungle." pure food and drug act. very progressive and ultimately he had detractors but was overall loved by the american public. easily wins in a landslide in 1905 and makes a public statement that he will not run for president in 1908. so he steps down, throws his support behind william howard
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taft. unfortunately their relationship is sort of frayed from the start roosevelt ended up running against taft in 1912. splitting the republican ticket and making history, because the only time an american presidential election an independent has come in second place, he beats out the socialist candidate eugene debs. he beats out taft. some joked that taft stood for take advice from theodore. president wilson is elected in 1912. but he also makes history when he is about to give a speech in milwaukee and falls victim to an assassin's bullet. did you get to see the shirt downstairs? you saw the shirt he was wearing. it is on display in the gallery. amazingly the bullet pierces the , topcoat, hits his 50-page speech, lodged into his chest. and roosevelt is very well read. it was said he could read two books a day. he had a photographic memory. five years later, he could still
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quote from them. he could read 3-4 pages a minute. was familiar with the human anatomy, he was an experienced hunter. he coughs, realizes he's not coughing up any blood and the wound must be insignificant. and also realized the importance of this in terms of a public relations moment to go out and address the audience, i believe he goes out to speak for 90 minutes and said it tikes a lot more than a bullet to stop a bull moose. he never has the bullet removed . and i'm going to share with you the "new york times" headline from the day after the assassination attempt. maniac in milwaukee shoots colonel roosevelt, ignores wound, speaks an hour, goes to hospital. as you can imagine after this political loss, he looks at the opportunity for the next adventure. he says it was his last chance to feel like a boy and that was exploring the amazon down in brazil with his son kermit, an uncharted portion of the amazon, which probably at 57 years old wasn't his best decision.
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he ends up getting very sick on that trip, contracting malaria, his fever spikes to 103, 104 degrees. his son kermit really saved his life. he never fully recovers the last few years of his life he's pretty sickly, in and out of hospitals. he does do some writing and editing. he does attempt to raise another regiment for world war i which he is respectfully declined, but all his children are involved in world war i and later on world war ii. unfortunately he loses his youngest son, quentin, an aviator, who was shot down over germany during world war i. many say theodore roosevelt died of a broken heart, he died shortly after quentin. he dies peacefully in his sleep. not a bad life for a little boy born on 20th street. thank you for spending the afternoon with the national park service. i hope you enjoyed it. if you have any questions, let me know. like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. thank you very much.
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] youach week, rewind brings archival coverage of presidential races. next, from a 2000 presidential race, vice president al gore and texas governor george bush take part in a debate. this was the third and final presidential debate in the 2000 campaign with the candidates taking questions from undecided voters on domestic issues and foreign policy. governor bush defeated vice president gore in the general election in one of the most highly contested races in u.s. history. the outcome was not decided until five weeks after voters went to the polls when the supreme court stopped a florida recount.


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