Pataki Celebrates Centennial of TRs Governorship
Commission Appointed, Major Collection of TR Memorabilia Acquired by State Library
Gov. George E. Pataki today announced the appointment of a group of
Roosevelt scholars and state officials to a Temporary Commission to Commemorate the
Centennial of the Governorship of Theodore Roosevelt. This year (1999) marks the
centennial of Theodore Roosevelt's election as the 33rd governor of New York State. The
commission will sponsor commemorative events, exhibits and educational projects in
cooperation with federal, state and local agencies; non-profit and educational
organizations; and interested citizens.
"A century ago, Theodore Roosevelt helped popularize the
conservation movement in New York and across the nation," Gov. Pataki said. "TR
taught New Yorkers and the world that conserving and protecting our natural
resources is essential to preserving and improving the quality of life we enjoy in this
great country. He was an environmental visionary who inspired many. That's why his
portrait hangs in my office in the Capitol.
"In the early days of this century, TR helped define the
conservation ethic that guides us today. At the dawn of another century, it is fitting
that we honor the achievements of this remarkable New Yorker. I have established a
Temporary Commission to commemorate TR's governorship because I believe that New Yorkers
today still have much to learn from TR's legacy," the governor said.
Coincidentally, Roosevelt's courage in combat received long-overdue
recognition last week when both houses of Congress voted unanimously to award him the
Congressional Medal of Honor, our nation's highest military honor. The White House has
indicated that President Clinton intends to sign the bill, which will make TR the only
person to ever be awarded both the Nobel Peace Prize and the Medal of Honor. Roosevelt
earned the Nobel Peace Prize for his instrumental role in ending the Russo-Japanese War.
TR's son, Theodore Roosevelt Jr., also was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his
participation in the D-Day landing in World War II.
Theodore Roosevelt IV said, "As a member of the Roosevelt
family, I am delighted to be appointed to the Governor's Commission celebrating Teddy
Roosevelt. I am particularly honored to be appointed by a governor who has shown such
strong leadership on behalf of the environmental community."
Dr. John Gable, executive director of the Theodore Roosevelt
Association, said, "The Theodore Roosevelt Association commends and thanks Governor
George E. Pataki for the recognition and high priority he is giving to the observance of
the centennial of Theodore Roosevelt's governorship. His appointment of a special
commission for the gubernatorial centennial will make it possible to plan and develop
special projects and programs to mark the centennial appropriately, and to bring benefits
to the people of New York today.
"Governor Pataki's sponsorship of the centennial is a new
chapter in his longstanding commitment to honoring the memory and legacy of Theodore
Roosevelt. I personally am honored to represent the Theodore Roosevelt Association on this
distinguished special commission, and thank Governor Pataki for this opportunity,"
Dr. Gable said.
Gov. Pataki also announced that the State Library has purchased a
major collection of Theodore Roosevelt's documents, manuscripts and memorabilia from Lyall
Squair of Syracuse, who acquired it during nearly 40 years of collecting. Mr. Squair sold
the collection to the State for $200,000, well below its potential market value.
The collection, which is one of the largest private collections of
TR artifacts in the world, includes thousands of books, manuscripts, magazine articles,
memorabilia and artifacts documenting the life of Theodore Roosevelt as a New Yorker and
as president of the United States. The collection includes more than 7,000 magazine
articles, hundreds of photographs including the Underwood Photographic Archive of
Roosevelt photos, thousands of postcards of Roosevelt, as well as archival and manuscript
Other highlights of the collection include:
- A complete collection of all of Theodore Roosevelt's books including
first editions, sets of his works, and books signed and inscribed by him or owned by him
or members of his family;
- A rare copy of the first book Roosevelt wrote, The Summer Birds of
Franklin County New York;
- Documents signed by Roosevelt as governor and president, plus
speeches, letters and several manuscripts of the Roosevelt family from as early as 1700;
- The papers of John D. Miley, aide-de-camp of Gen. William Shafter,
commander of U.S. troops in Cuba during the Spanish American War;
- The papers, including unpublished photos of Roosevelt, of Frederic
Sturdevant, a newspaper correspondent who traveled with Roosevelt in Africa;
- The records of the Roosevelt Wildlife Forest Experiment Station; and,
- A voluminous correspondence related to the Progressive Party.
This collection, along with other related collections already in the
State Library, will make the New York State Library a major center for research about
Roosevelt and his era. Other Roosevelt material already in the Library's collections
include the papers of Charles Sigsbee, commander of the battleship Maine in the Spanish
American War; the records of the United Spanish American War Veterans of New York State;
and the manuscript of Roosevelts most famous work, The Rough Riders.
The artifacts in the collection, including an armchair belonging to
Roosevelt, lantern slides of Roosevelt's political campaigns, recordings of Roosevelt's
speeches, a large bronze bust of Roosevelt by well-known sculptor James Earl Frasier and
more have been given to the New York State Museum by the New York State Library.
The members of the Temporary Commission to Commemorate the
Centennial of the Governorship of Theodore Roosevelt are:
Theodore Roosevelt IV
Dr. John Gable, Executive Director, Theodore Roosevelt Association
Dr. Robert MacKay, Chairman, State Board for Historic Preservation
Molly Quackenbush, Executive Director, TR Inaugural National
Charles Markis, Superintendent, Theodore Roosevelt
Birthplace National Historic Site
Vidal Martinez, Superintendent, Sagamore Hill
National Historic Site
Peter Scanlon, noted collector of Theodore Roosevelt
Dr. Betty Boyd Caroli, Roosevelt biographer
John Cahill, Commissioner, Department of
Bernadette Castro, Commissioner, Office of Parks,
Recreation and Historic Preservation
Alexander Treadwell, Secretary, Department of State
Mr. Richard Lefebvre, Chairman, Adirondack Park
Charles A. Gargano, Chairman, Empire State
Richard Mills, Commissioner, State Education
Joseph Seymour, Commissioner, Office of General
Jeff Perlee, Director, New York State Lottery
Members of the Commission will not be paid for their
work, but will be reimbursed for any expenses incurred.
(The above press release was issued by Gov. Pataki on Oct. 26, 1998.)