Volume 22, Issue 02
February 2020
Rough Writer is a volunteer newsletter, not an official National Park Service publication. It should not be used for historic research. 
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“This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.” Theodore Roosevelt
The Rough Writer is Available Online
You can find the Rough Writer on the Friends of Sagamore Hill website (https://friendsofsagamorehill.org). Simply select the MORE ABOUT TR menu and click Rough Writer Newsletter. You will go to a page that lists the Rough Writer issues starting with January 2020. Back issues are now readily available for your reading pleasure. Thank you Patrick Teubner for making this happen.
Staff News
Josh Reyes to Move to Philadelphia
by Nancy Hall
Josh Reyes closed out his official detail at Sagamore Hill on January 31, 2020. Josh had served as Chief of Interpretation since 2017, and as Park Ranger for 12 years before that. Josh came to Sagamore Hill from Fort McKinley National Historic Site and Shrine, and during the 15 years since, he married Lindsay Ries, became a father of two sons, Camden and Harrison, and settled in Kings Park.

At the January 30th party to honor Josh and wish him well in his next position as Budget Analyst for the Northeastern Region of the National Park Service in Philadelphia, many in attendance recounted stories of Josh’s interactions with staff, volunteers, and visitors over the years. Testimonies to his cheerful and calm approach to everyone who worked with him included one in which a volunteer, unfamiliar with back roads in Northport, became lost on her way to Cove Neck and was calmly guided by Josh, via phone, “home” to Sagamore Hill. Others mentioned his quiet and always respectful way he dealt with complicated staff and visitor issues. After being complimented not only on being a trusted mentor to many volunteers, and model partner to Lindsay and father to his two sons, some long time friends said he was also a superb matchmaker! Josh even told a story about himself. Once when asked advice from a young man who wanted to propose to his girlfriend at Sagamore Hill but needed advice for just the right setting, Josh suggested the man buy an American flag, take a guided grounds walk with his girlfriend, and when Josh began to raise the flag that would fly over Sagamore Hill, the young man should propose! He did, and that sealed the deal, not only with the young lady, but Josh’s reputation as an accomplished problem solver and a bit of a romantic. 

In an email to his many friends at Sagamore Hill, Josh reflected on his Park Service career so far: “I arrived at Sagamore Hill 15 years ago an optimistic and overzealous 25-year-old. I depart an optimistic, but humbled student, mentor, husband, and father. What I learned from my time on the Hill and working with all of you is that making a difference in the community can be accomplished one day at a time with patience, listening, volunteering, and orchestrating the occasional marriage proposal.”
All of us who have known and worked with Josh will sincerely miss him and appreciate what he has contributed to our experience at Sagamore Hill and to the National Park Service. From all of us, we wish Josh, Lindsay, Camden, and Harrison a happy move.  
Other Staff Changes
Tyler Kuliberda, Acting Chief of Interpretation
Tyler Kuliberda has been appointed Acting Chief of Interpretation until a permanent selection is made to replace former Chief Josh Reyes. Tyler has been a Park Ranger here at Sagamore Hill for three years and has developed programs in community and educational outreach, specifically certification programs for area teachers. We wish him luck in this new park opportunity.
Jeremy Hoyt to Move to Nebraska
After 12 years as Park Guide and Volunteer Coordinator, Jeremy Hoyt will be leaving Sagamore Hill. Jeremy will be moving to Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Harrison, Nebraska. A native of Kingston in upstate New York, Jeremy has worked at the Home of FDR and the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Sites in Hyde Park, NY, at Yellowstone National Park in Montana and Wyoming, Jean Lafittte National Historical Park and Preserve in Thibodaux and New Orleans, Louisiana, and at the African Burial Ground National Monument in NYC. Now Jeremy will be traveling into the heart of the country working in an outreach capacity at the park in Nebraska. All of us volunteers have benefited from Jeremy’s expertise and his encyclopedic memory of historical details, especially naval history, and we wish him well in his new post and thank him for his friendship and assistance.
Lana Dubin Moves to Tenement Museum
Lana Dubin has left Sagamore Hill NHS for a new position as Collections Manager at the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Her last day at Sagamore Hill NHS was Friday, January 24th. Lana graduated from Kenyon College in 2014 with her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Studio Art. She came to the park from the National Capitol Region Museum Resource Center in Landover, Maryland, where she had been working on museum collections projects and writing core documents for area parks. Lana was thrilled to accept a Museum Technician term position with SAHI almost four years ago in May 2016, leaving the swamps of Washington, DC for her grandmother's house on Long Island. During her time at SAHI, Lana began working towards a Master’s degree in Museum Anthropology from Columbia University. A highlight of her nearly four years at Sagamore Hill was working with the Curatorial team, volunteers, and park staff to design and install five temporary exhibitions in Old Orchard. She also enjoyed learning about cultural landscape management in the process of researching and designing the Historic Garden restoration. From her new desk at the Tenement Museum, Lana writes that she misses the entire Sagamore Hill staff and volunteers, and would like to thank everyone for fostering her professional and personal growth. 

At the baby shower for Laura Cinturati, staff and volunteers also celebrated Lana’s new job and her outstanding contributions to the popular Old Orchard Museum exhibits, her cheerful collaboration with volunteers, and her landscape expertise in the design of the rain garden at the end of the parking lot. Before leaving SAHI, Lana said that although she is sad to be hanging up her flat hat, she is excited about the new opportunities and responsibilities that await her. We will all miss Lana; the Tenement Museum is in good hands.
Curator's Corner
by Sue Sarna

Congratulations to the best team a Curator could ever work with!
Thank you to the editors of the Rough Writer for allowing me to use this space to congratulate a truly remarkable curatorial team on a job well done for the past four years.
One of my first actions when I became the Supervisory Museum Curator back in 2015 was to build the curatorial team by hiring Lana Dubin as a Term Museum Technician. This move solidified a remarkable force with a drive that could not be stopped. The next four years soared by with accomplishments that could not have occurred without all three Museum Technician team members: Laura Cinturati, Betsy DeMaria, and Lana

Some memorable highlights include: 
  • The team developed and installed five incredible temporary exhibits at the Old Orchard Museum (one even included a full-size vintage airplane). 
  • The research and designs were completed for the rehabilitation of the historic garden.
  • The seasonal faux food in the kitchen and faux flowers in the TRH rooms were all updated to be historically accurate based on primary resources.
  • The Integrated Pest Management Plan was completed. 
  • The Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site research collection was moved to Sagamore Hill, inventoried, and made accessible for research. 
  • Most importantly, the 26-room historic home was maintained impeccably and preserved for future generations. 

This article is bittersweet for me. I am so proud of the curatorial team’s accomplishments and so ecstatic that Betsy and Lana are moving up in their curatorial careers, but I am also so sorry to lose such great individuals. And of course, Laura is beginning a new journey of her own as a mother, but thankfully will remain on the team. As I have always said, a supervisor is only as good as their team.
Thank you Laura, Betsy, and Lana for making such a wonderful team.

More details on Betsy DeMaria's move and Laura Cinturati and Betsy DeMaria in the next issue of the Rough Writer.
Changes Coming Soon to Visitor Center - We Hope
The old Visitor Center suffered extensive damage by a fire that started at 8:45 a.m. on December 24, 2018. The process of completing the necessary requirements to demolish the old visitor center is underway and should be completed soon, opening up the opportunity to restore a key piece of the site's cultural landscape where the burned structure currently stands.
(What's in a Name Continues)
by Milton Elis
Theodore Roosevelt had many nicknames. A few are well known. Staff and volunteers at Sagamore Hill refer to him as TR. Alice Hathaway Lee, the press, and the American public, especially children clutching their toy bears, call him Teddy. He liked to be addressed as Colonel.

1. What was he called in Medora?  
2. What name was bestowed upon him by a noted Republican figure?  
3. What did his mother call him?

1. Out West, he was sometimes called, “Four Eyes”.
2. Mark Hanna referred to him as “That damned cowboy”.  
3. His mother called him “Teedee”.
February is Black History Month
Benjamin Franklin, Theodore Roosevelt,
and Minnie Cox
by Lou Gottfried
Benjamin Franklin was appointed Postmaster by the British Crown in 1737, long before we were a country. In 1775, his appointment was again confirmed, but this time by the Second Continental Congress, for an annual salary of $1,000. In this capacity, he was responsible for postal services between Massachusetts and Georgia. From that time until the present, the postal service has operated on a single principle: every person has the right to efficient and affordable mail service.

That commitment to service to every person came to a temporary halt in 1903 in Indianola, Mississippi. Earlier, President Benjamin Harrison had appointed, and President McKinley reappointed, Minnie Cox, an African American woman and former teacher, as head of the Post Office in Indianola, where blacks were in the majority, but Jim Crow laws and post-Reconstruction resentment by whites were strong. In 1902, when James K. Vardaman, a white supremicist, was running for governor of Mississippi, he believed African Americans had too much power and attacked the new president, Theodore Roosevelt, calling him a “coon-flavored miscegenationist” (Oyster Bay Enterprise-Pilot).

When Mrs. Cox was threatened with violence from local whites who demanded her removal from her post office position, neither the sheriff nor the mayor stepped in to protect her, and she resigned, effective January 1, 1903, and left town. Here’s where TR steps in. Believing she had been wronged and that the power of the federal government had been compromised, he declined to accept Mrs. Cox’s resignation and continued to pay her salary for a year even though she had left Indianola. Roosevelt also closed the Indianola post office to local delivery for one year, forcing local residents to collect their mail in Greenville, Mississippi, 30 miles distant. One year later, at the official conclusion of Mrs. Cox’s commission, and because even TR could not close the post office indefinitely, the Indianola post office reopened. In 1904, TR appointed a white democrat, a friend of Mrs. Cox, as Postmaster, and Mrs. Cox returned to Indianola with her husband where they opened the Delta Penny Savings Bank and later the Mississippi Life Insurance Company.  

On July 7, 2008, the Congress of the United States officially designated the Indianola Post Office the “Minnie Cox Post Office Building”. Ben Franklin’s principle of service and Theodore Roosevelt’s commitment to justice for Mrs. Cox were “delivered”.

Dr John Gable, article in the Oyster Bay Enterprise-Pilot, 2/26/04.
UPS.com., pub 100.
Congressional Record, 7/7/08
Rough Writer , 3/04/14
Good to the Last Drop?
by Joe DeFranco
Visitors on tours of the Theodore Roosevelt Home have often heard stories about TR’s famous love of coffee. He was purported to have drunk as much as a gallon of his favorite beverage a day, so much so that one of his children described TR’s personal coffee cup as being "more in the nature of a bathtub”. (1) 

On October 21, 1907, then-President Theodore Roosevelt visited Andrew Jackson’s home, The Hermitage, near Nashville, Tennessee. While in Nashville, TR stayed at the Maxwell House Hotel where he was offered a cup of the house-brewed beverage. Maxwell House Coffee brand lore contends that upon drinking the coffee, the president proclaimed it “Good to the last drop!” It’s a good story, and many of us volunteers quote Maxwell House when relating this event. But here’s some background on that story that can shed a different light on TR’s response.

In 1884, entrepreneur Joel Cheek met British coffee broker Roger Nolley Smith. The two worked to find what they thought to be the perfect coffee blend to promote and sell. The formula was conceived, and in 1892, Cheek gave the food buyer at the Maxwell House Hotel 20 pounds of their coffee for free as a way to promote the product and find an outlet for their blend. The feedback was very positive, and thus began the relationship between the brewers and the hotel. By the time of TR’s visit to Nashville, the hotel only used Cheek and Smith’s coffee, and that is what TR was served.

When the Nashville Coffee and Manufacturing Company was formed, it specialized in “Maxwell House Coffee”. Later the company was renamed the Cheek-Neal Company after Cheek and partner John Neal who owned the Maxwell House Hotel. Using Theodore Roosevelt’s comment as an endorsement, the Maxwell House brand grew in notoriety. Although by 1917, the Cheek and Neal company was using the slogan extensively to promote the brand, it was not until the 1930’s that they began to attribute it to TR, but without any real evidence to prove the connection. Interestingly, Coca Cola was also using the “Good to the last drop” slogan around the same time. 

Maxwell House eventually admitted that the slogan was actually written by Clifford Spiller, a former president of General Foods Corporation. However, that did not deter the company from using the slogan attributed to TR, and in 2009, the company went so far as to have well known TR repriser, Joe Wiegand, do a coffee commercial in which he tells the historically dubious “Good to the last drop” story. (You can watch the commercial here: 

The local press covering the story at the time of Roosevelt’s Nashville visit wrote that what TR actually said was not “Good to the last drop,” but more like “This is the kind of stuff I like to drink, by George, when I hunt bears.” (2)

(1) Mental Floss, "15 Famous Coffee Fiends," Caitlin Schneider, 4/4/2016.
(2) Fading Ads of Birmingham , Charles Buchanan, The History Press, 2012.
"Good to the Last Drop" illustrated advertisement, SAHI collection.
baerpm.com (Baer Performance marketing)
The Saturday Evening Post  
Harbinger of Spring
by Charlotte Miska
As we move into February, like many others, my thoughts turn to the approaching change of season. For some folks, the first signs of spring are the emerging crocuses, the longer hours of daylight, or pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training. But for me, it is the return of the Osprey. My Mom taught me to start looking for them on St. Patrick’s Day. Traditionally Osprey return to Long Island in the days before or after March 17th. The males return first. The fish hawk, as they are commonly known, is a bird of prey measuring 22 to 25 inches, with a wing span of four to six feet. As with most raptors, the female is slightly larger than the male. So when you walk the Sagamore Hill beach, look up and keep your eye out for these magnificent birds. For more information about Osprey visit https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Osprey/overview. (Photo by Tyler Kuliberda.)
What is the Christmas Bird Count?
by Tyler Kuliberda
Although Christmas might be a distant memory by now, the Christmas Bird Count is relevant all year. This annual Audubon event and the world’s longest-running citizen science project collects data that is used to track the general health of bird populations and informs management decisions and scientific studies. National parks and other public lands play an important role in providing essential habitat for many bird species to winter, breed, and/or stop to rest while migrating. The count is now in its 120th year. For more information about the Christmas Bird Count go to https://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count.

Members from the Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society and Sagamore Hill park staff combined efforts to compile the following survey on December 21, 2019. Over 20 species were observed on the grounds.
Canada Goose 15
Brant 2
American Black Duck 14
Mallard 19
Long-tailed Duck 7
Bufflehead 10
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Ring-billed Gull 5
Herring Gull 22
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 4
Northern Flicker 1
Blue Jay 4
American Crow 6
Black-capped Chickadee 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 1
Song Sparrow 4
White-throated Sparrow 10
Dark-eyed Junco 14
Northern Cardinal 4
Sagamore Hill is a great place to go birding year-round. Bring along a pair of binoculars and a field guide on your next walk!

Bird walks and other nature programs are listed on the Sagamore Hill website ( www.nps.gov/sagamorehill ) periodically throughout the year.  The next walk is on Sunday, April 26 at 9 am.
A Poet and TR Meet for the Last Time
by Nancy Hall
Theodore Roosevelt died at Sagamore Hill 101 years ago on January 6, 1919. A few months before his death, TR, a famously avid reader, invited Edgar Lee Masters, author of The Spoon River Anthology , a collection of poems TR greatly admired, to breakfast. The breakfast lasted well into the afternoon, the former president reciting from memory many of the poems in Masters’ collection and the two men talking about poetry and a host of other enthusiasms. Masters recalled his last meeting with TR in this poem:

At Sagamore Hill

He’s drest in canvas khaki, flannel shirt,
Laced boots for farming, chopping trees, perhaps;
A stocky frame, curtains of skin on cheeks
Drained slightly of their fat; gash in the neck
Where pus was emptied lately; one eye dim
And growing dimmer; almost blind in that
And when he walks he rolls a little like
A man whose youth is fading, like a cart
That rolls when springs are old. He is a moose
Scarred, battered from the hunters, thickets, stones;
Some finest tips of antlers broken off,
And eyes where images of ancient things
Flit back and forth across them, keeping still
A certain slumberous indifference
Or wisdom, it may be.   

Source: “A Poet’s Good-by Visit to Theodore Roosevelt” first published in Literary Digest,” February 22, 1919, p.70 and quoted in “Our Literary President” by Joseph R Ornig, Theodore Roosevelt Association Journal, Vol XXXVI, number 4, Fall, 1915.
More Jeopardy for Tedheads
by Robin Wexler
You might not be able to successfully challenge Ken Jennings on the more arcane questions on the real Jeopardy series, but Jennings might not be able to compete against real TR aficionados such as yourselves. See how you do with this “Jeopardy for Tedheads” challenge.

This beloved character on a long-running family TV series claimed to have fought with Theodore Roosevelt and bragged to his troop of adorable red-haired grandchildren about his bravery.

Answer:  Who is Grandpa Zeb Walton (actor Will Geer) in The Waltons ?
 In a 1976 episode of The Walton s, “The Fox,” Grandpa Walton, an inveterate storyteller, frequently regales his grandchildren with stories of the time he was part of a unit that charged up San Juan Hill in Cuba with Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders. His wife, however, is not amused. When his grandson, John Boy, decides to organize a reenactment of this famous charge, Grandpa refuses to participate. He has to admit that he has been embroidering the tale all along to make it more exciting for the children. It turns out that although he was in Cuba, his job was minding the mules, not attacking the Spanish army! So much for tall tales, Grandpa.
“Good night John Boy!” “Good Night TR!”
Sylvia Jukes Morris Dies at 84
Author of a biography of Edith Kermit Roosevelt and the two-volume biography of Clare Booth Luce, Sylvia Jukes Morris died on January 5, at the home of her sister in Shropshire, England, just six months after the death of her husband and noted TR biographer, Edmund Morris.

While writing the first volume in his trilogy on the life of Theodore Roosevelt, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt , her husband mentioned to Sylvia that “little was known about Roosevelt’s second wife.” A diligent and respected researcher and freelance writer throughout her professional life, Sylvia Morris took up the challenge; the result was her first book, Edith Kermit Roosevelt: Portrait of a First Lady , based to a large extent on unpublished letters and diaries.  

Though notoriously private and a more reserved personality than her more gregarious and extroverted husband, Edith Roosevelt had not been the subject of an extended biography prior to the Morris book. According to Morris's obituary in The New York Times (1/27/2020), Kirkus Reviews praised her book at the time of its publication, declaring that “Edith Kermit Roosevelt is very much worth reading about, even at the undue length (512 pages) that Sylvia Morris has gone to.” The biography of Edith Roosevelt continues to inform not only volunteers here at Sagamore Hill but also the many admirers of TR’s First Lady, an important figure in American history in her own right and as a significant contributor to her husband’s legacy.
What is it? Tour Tip
ANSWER: Knife Cleaner

This wooden drum with hand crank can be found under the work table in front of the stove in the kitchen. It is a knife cleaner/polisher popular during the mid-19th and early 20th centuries when knife blades were not stainless steel. When the blades were exposed to acidic foods they would rust or become discolored. The operator of this knife cleaning machine would insert an abrasive substance such as emery powder in the holes, insert the knife points into the holes, turn the crank, and wooden discs with bristles and leather strips would start the cleaning process. This task had to be performed daily to prevent the knives from becoming dull or discolored.
Friends of Sagamore Hill Update
Gable Lectures Spring 2020
by Ginny Perrell, FOSH Board Member
March 26 : Burt Solomon, author of the novel, The Attempted Murder of Teddy Roosevelt , will speak on both his book and TR’s Pittsfield, MA, carriage accident in September 1902.
April 23:  David Fisher will discuss the book he co-wrote with Dan Abrams, Theodore Roosevelt For The Defense , about the William Barnes vs. Theodore Roosevelt libel suit in 1915.
May 21:   Ellen and Gregory Schaefer, from the North Creek Railway Depot Museum, will deliver a lecture on the timeline surrounding TR’s notification of McKinley's assassination and death. Their lecture will begin at TR's location when McKinley was shot and include his "Night Ride to the Presidency” down from Mt. Marcy to the North Creek Depot.
The FOSH website (https://friendsofsagamorehill.org) and flyers will have complete biographies and lecture summaries.
Winter Events at Sagamore Hill
 Saturday, 2/15 at 10 am Backyard Bird Count
Sunday, 2/16 at 2 pm The Other Big Stick: Theodore Roosevelt, his Three Attorneys Generals and the Creation of a 20th Century Justice Department
Monday, 2/17 – Open for President's Day
Sunday, 3/1 at 2 pm Edith Roosevelt: Life after Theodore Roosevelt
Sunday, 3/8 at 2 pm Ranger Program: Ranger's Choice (Women's History Month)
Saturday, 3/21 - Scout Conservation Day
Saturday, 3/21 at 2 pm Women Naturalist Talk
Saturday, 3/28 at 2 pm Theodore Roosevelt's Confederate Uncles
Sunday, 3/29 at 2 pm Ranger Program: Ranger's Choice (Women's History Month)
Saturday, 4/4 at 11 am April Fools Day Hike
Saturday, 4/11 at 1 pm Citizen Science Day
Saturday, 4/18 - Fee Free for National Park Week Kickoff
Sunday, 4/19 at 11 am TR Lab Explorers (limited space - registration required)
Sunday, 4/19 at 2 pm Theodore Roosevelt and the National Parks
Friday, 4/24 at 8 pm Astronomy Program
Saturday, 4/25 at 11 am Arbor Day Hike
Sunday, 4/26 at 9 am Bird Walk
This newsletter is produced by members of the Volunteer Advisory Board for the volunteers of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. 
The National Park Service cares
for the special places saved by
the American people so that all may
experience our heritage.
About Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, located in Oyster Bay, New York, is a unit of the National Park Service. The Site was established by Congress in 1962 to preserve and interpret the structures, landscape, collections and other cultural resources associated with Theodore Roosevelt’s home in Oyster Bay, New York, and to ensure that future generations understand the life and legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, his family and the significant events associated with him.

For more information please check out our website at  www.nps.gov/sahi  or call
(516) 922-4788.