Despite Being Shot, Theodore Roosevelt is, Reportedly, "Hearty as a Bull Moose"

October 19, 1912

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Despite Being Shot, Theodore Roosevelt is, Reportedly, "Hearty as a Bull Moose"
Typed Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 177

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      Background

      The attempted assassination of ex-President Theodore Roosevelt, on October 12, 1912, as he campaigned for a third term against his hand-picked successor William Howard Taft, and the Democrat Woodrow Wilson, took place as follows: Roosevelt had come out from the Hotel Gilpatrick in Milwaukee and stepped into the automobile which was to convey him to Milwaukee’s Auditorium, there to deliver a speech. The car was surrounded by well-wishers and Roosevelt stood up to acknowledge the crowd, raising his hat in salute. A man rushed forward and, at a distance of four or five feet, fired a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol into Roosevelt’s chest. It was 8:10 p.m. One of Roosevelt’s secretaries, an ex-football player named Elbert M. Martin, leaped at the would-be assassin, wrestling him to the ground and seizing his gun. Roosevelt, meanwhile, straightened up – his knees had given way with the shot’s impact – and, raising his hat again to the crowd, smiled broadly. The crowd screamed “kill him, kill him!” at the shooter, and Roosevelt quietly told an aide he’d been “pinked.” Then he called out to those who were attacking the shooter, “Don’t hurt him! Bring him to me!” This was done at once; whereupon Roosevelt instructed the police to take charge of the man, enjoining that they do no violence to him. Roosevelt then continued on to the Auditorium, spoke for an hour and twenty minutes, and only upon completion of the program, headed out for a local hospital.

      Roosevelt was examined in Milwaukee, found to be wounded; moved - per his request - to Chicago; and on October 17th, resumed his campaign from his room at Mercy Hospital as this letter, saying he is as hearty as a Bull Moose, attests:

      Colonel Roosevelt wishes me to express to you… and to the members of the Neponset Valley Progressive League, his hearty thanks for your kind telegram of sympathy. He says he is as hearty as a Bull Moose. He is improving.


      On October 21st, Roosevelt went home to New York, and by the 30th, he was out on the hustings again. His assailant, John Shrank, was soon declared insane, and thirty-one years later he died in custody. Roosevelt’s brave assistant, Elbert Martin, went on to a distinguished career as legal advisor to the Vanderbilt Hotel.


      Typed Letter Signed, as Secretary to Roosevelt, 1 page, octavo, Mercy Hospital, Chicago, October 19, 1912. To Charles S. Bird in Boston
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      MERCY HOSPITAL
      Chicago.

      October 19, 1912.

      Dear Mr. Bird:

      Colonel Roosevelt wishes me to express to you, to your Secretary Mr. Savage, and to the members of the Nepenset Valley Progressive League, his hearty thanks for your kind telegram of sympathy. He says he is as hearty as a Bull Moose. He is improving.

      Sincerely yours,
      Elbert E Martin
      Secretary.

      To Mr. Chas.S. Bird,
      Pres., Neponset Valley Prog.League,
      Boston,Mass.