Edith, born in Norwich, Conn., on August 6, 1861, grew up next door to the bridegroom in the fashionable Gramercy Park section of New York City.
He was the son of socialite Martha Stewart Bulloch and prominent businessman and philanthropist Theodore Roosevelt. Edith was the granddaughter of Daniel Tyler, a Union general during the Civil War and railroad president. Her great-grandfather fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill. The family’s ancestral home was in Brooklyn, Conn.
Theodore Roosevelt was three years older than Edith. She was his sister’s best friend and his first playmate outside of the family. As teenaged sweethearts, they spent hours together during the summer at Oyster Bay, Long Island. They were called ‘Teedie’ and ‘Edie.’
Less than four years later, Alice Roosevelt died suddenly, two days after giving birth to their daughter, Alice. Grief-stricken, Roosevelt put the baby in the care of his sister and took off for the Badlands.
After he returned, he renewed his romance with Edith. On Nov. 17, 1885, Theodore Roosevelt proposed, and she accepted.
They were married in a small ceremony on Dec. 2, 1886, at St. George’s Church of Hanover Square in London. A fog had settled over the city so thick that it filled the church. The groom wore bright orange gloves. According to one story, the gloves were a fashion choice made by his best man. According to another, he wore them so Edith wouldn’t marry the wrong man by mistake.
Edith insisted Baby Alice live with them, and they had five children of their own.
As First Lady, she was described as ‘always the gentle, high-bred hostess.’
Until her death on Sept. 30, 1948, she stayed involved with the Oyster Bay Needlework Guild, which provided clothing for poor people. In 1932, she told the group,
Nothing would please me more than when I die they put this inscription on my tombstone:
Everything she did was for the happiness of others.
‘Edith Roosevelt’ by Bain News Service. Image available from the Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID ggbain.04770. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. ‘Theodore Roosevelt and family, 1903’ by unknown photographer. Image available from the Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3c13665. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.