President Theodore Roosevelt Plans for Life After the White House: His African Safari

September 25, 1908

Add to History Board Share Print
Back to The Collection
Manuscript
See full images and transcript
President Theodore Roosevelt Plans for Life After the White House: His African Safari
Typed Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 253

Quick Reference

      Background

      What Theodore Roosevelt wanted on March 4, 1908, he had never wanted before in his life: to be left alone. That was the decent thing, he thought: to get out of town, and the country, so that the new president, Taft, might occupy the presidential stage by himself. He would go then, as far away as he could - into the interior of Africa, on safari. Responding here to a letter from a Stuyvesant Square rector turned big game hunter, Reverend W.S. Rainsford, Roosevelt lays out his post-presidential plans for Africa:
       
      I shall greatly appreciate any information you have to give me as to where I ought to go for game.  I am especially anxious to get lion, elephant, rhino, hippo, buffalo, giraffe, eland, oryx, roan, sable, and koodoo.

      But nothing about Roosevelt was ever small scale, and the safari, initially envisioned as a six month hunt with some guides and porters, gave way to a one year scientific expedition under the aegis of the Smithsonian. That expedition, in which he and son Kermit would hunt, trailed by a marksman, a taxidermist, naturalists, guides, cooks, gun-bearers, armed sentries, tent boys, and two hundred and fifty African porters, was in part funded by Oscar S. Strauss and Jacob Schiff – two of Roosevelt’s Jewish friends.


      Typed Letter Signed, as President, 1 page, quarto, the White House, Washington, September 25, 1908. To Rev. Dr. W.S. Rainsford in Nairobi, British  East Africa.
      Read More

      all pages and transcript

      Page 1/1

      Page 1 transcript
      THE WHITE HOUSE
      WASHINGTON

      September 25, 1908.

      My dear Dr. Rainsford:
       
      I was rejoiced to get your letter, and indeed I much appreciate what you write.   Yes, by the end of April I hope to be in East Africa for six months, and I shall greatly appreciate any information you have to give me as to where I ought to go for game.  I am especially anxious to get lion, elephant, rhino, hippo, buffalo, giraffe, eland, oryx, roan, sable, and koodoo.

      I am delighted to hear you are so well.

      Faithfully yours,

      THEODORE ROOSEVELT
       
      Rev. Dr. W. S. Rainsford,
      Care of Newland, Tarlton & Co.,
      Nairobi, British East Africa.