As a present of sorts, in honor of what would have been his 160th birthday, here are some sheet music covers depicting Theodore Roosevelt, who was born in Manhattan, at 28 East 20th Street, on October 27, 1858. Probably no American president has gazed out from more sheet music covers than TR, whose rough-riding exploits and political career of the late 19th and early 20th centuries coincided with the greatest time of popular song production in history. The imagery on some covers is less than politically correct by today’s standards, as are the lyrics to a number of songs, but we we can all get behind the rhymes of one toe-tapper in the collection, “Our Ted,” from 1910:
The Austrians rave about their Joseph,
The Hawaiians mourn for poor old Lil.
The Spaniards boast of little Alfie,
The Germans pride themselves on Bill.
The Russians fawn on Father Nickie,
The English swear by their own Ed;
But we the Kings and queens of Samdom
We love our Bill, but oh, you Ted.”
Be sure to explore the recently digitized Theodore Roosevelt Papers at the Library of Congress.
[These sheet music covers are found in the Bella C. Landauer Collection of Business and Advertising Ephemera, PR-031. They are accessible by appointment through our Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections.]
This post is by Joseph Ditta, Processing Archivist.