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Governor Pataki Celebrates Centennial of TR’s 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 material.

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 Roosevelt’s 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 Historic Site

Charles Markis, Superintendent, Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site

Vidal Martinez, Superintendent, Sagamore Hill National Historic Site

Peter Scanlon, noted collector of Theodore Roosevelt Memorabilia

Dr. Betty Boyd Caroli, Roosevelt biographer

John Cahill, Commissioner, Department of Environmental Conservation

Bernadette Castro, Commissioner, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Alexander Treadwell, Secretary, Department of State

Mr. Richard Lefebvre, Chairman, Adirondack Park Agency

Charles A. Gargano, Chairman, Empire State Development

Richard Mills, Commissioner, State Education Department

Joseph Seymour, Commissioner, Office of General Services

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.)

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