Former President Theodore Roosevelt Writes About Taking Books on His Upcoming Safari to Africa

March 11, 1909

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Former President Theodore Roosevelt Writes About Taking Books on His Upcoming Safari to Africa
Typed Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 1274

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      Background

      What to take along to read on Safari, was as much a math problem for Roosevelt as a literary one. He would be gone a year; he read at the rate of a book a day; a porter could carry no more than sixty pounds. He could only take, then, as he states here, a “limited number of books” - one of which would be Reverend Crothers’ The Gentle Reader.
       
      Indefatigable as ever, Roosevelt solved his quandary by taking the Bible, Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, Euripides, some English poets – Shelley, Keats, Browning, Tennyson – and a couple medieval classics; adding a sampling of Bret Harte, Sir Walter Scott, Cooper, Twain, Thackeray, and Dickens – and having them all unbound. Then he had them trimmed at the margins, bound anew in pigskin (which he thought could best take the beating of a year on safari), placed in an aluminum bookcase with oilcloth slipcase and – viola! The Pigskin Library, weighing a neat fifty-eight pounds.
       
      The Gentle Reader contained essays on the enjoyment of poetry, the evolution of gentlemen, cases of conscience concerning witchcraft, and quixotism.


      Typed Letter Signed, 1 page, quarto, The Outlook, 287 Fourth Avenue, New York [New York]. With one autograph emendation. To Samuel L. Crothers

       
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      The Outlook
      287 Fourth Avenue
      New York

      Office of
      Theodore Roosevelt


      March 11th 1909.

      My dear Mr Crothers:

      Your letter really touched me. I thank you for it. You may be amused to know that "The Gentle Reader" is one of the limited number of books I am taking to Africa!

      Sincerely yours,

      THEODORE ROOSEVELT


      Mr Samuel M. Crothers, 
      Cambridge, Mass.