Newly released book on Teddy Roosevelt has connection with Rough Rider Hotel in MedoraInterpretive panels in each of the 70 rooms at the Rough Rider Hotel in Medora explore an aspect of Theodore Roosevelt’s life.
Interpretive panels in each of the 70 rooms at the Rough Rider Hotel in Medora explore an aspect of Theodore Roosevelt’s life. Now, a book also gives insight into the president whose face graces Mount Rushmore.
Author Clay S. Jenkinson will sign “A Free and Hardy Life: Theodore Roosevelt’s Sojourn in the American West” this weekend.
The book features hundreds of photographs of Roosevelt, drawn from the archives of the new Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University. Many of the photographs have never been published, according to a press release.
It reprints a recently-discovered and digitized letter that Roosevelt wrote within hours of entering the Little Missouri River Badlands on Sept. 7, 1883.
The book also includes a historical introduction by Jenkinson and a foreword by historian Douglas Brinkley, who has written extensively about Roosevelt.
“You cannot explore the life, adventures, opinions and character of Theodore Roosevelt without experiencing a new sense of the possibilities of life,” Jenkinson said. “Roosevelt not only had adventures — like arresting boat thieves and marching them to justice in Dickinson, punching out a gunslinger in a bar in Wibaux (Mont.) — but he approached life itself as a grand adventure, and squeezed joy and satisfaction out of everything he ever did.”
The project began when the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation rebuilt the Rough Riders Hotel in Medora. TRMF President Randy Hatzenbuhler asked the Dakota Institute’s director, Jenkinson, to write interpretive panels for each of the rooms. Each panel explores an aspect of Roosevelt’s life.
“The room panels have generated a lot of interest and we realized that nobody was likely to stay in more than a handful of the 70 rooms in the new hotel,” Jenkinson said. “So we decided to rewrite them somewhat and turn them into a book. The book tells the story of a man whose every day was an adventure and ever pronouncement memorable.”
Many of the illustrations in the book were drawn from the digital archives of the TR Center, whose formal partners include the Library of Congress, Harvard University and the National Park Service.
The right-hand pages of the 12 by 13-inch book feature the stories of Roosevelt’s life, many of them set in the Dakota Territory Badlands and about a quarter of them are about Roosevelt’s commitment to conservation of America’s natural resources. The left-hand pages feature related quotations drawn from Roosevelt’s writings.
“It’s a beautiful book,” said David Borlaug, president of the Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation. “We think this book is going to sell well all over the United States, bring renewed attention to Roosevelt and remind the nation of how important North Dakota was to his development as America’s most strenuous President.”
Jenkinson also recently completed a book on Meriwether Lewis. “The Character of Meriwether Lewis: Explorer in the Wilderness,” will be released in August.
“Our goal,” Jenkinson said, “is to create a very serious regional and even national press that will call attention to the history and culture of the northern Great Plains, and the exploration and settlement of the American West.
Jenkinson will sign the book Saturday at the Rough Riders Hotel from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and he will present a program Sunday at 1 p.m. at the hotel, followed by a signing. The book is published in cooperation with the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.