News Release

Theodore Roosevelt’s Remarkable 126-Year-Old Pocket Watch Returns to Sagamore Hill After Theft, Recovery by Federal Agencies

An open pocketwatch against a black background; the words inscribed on the back cover read, "Theodore Roosevelt, From D.R. & C.R.R."
Recovered Pocket Watch Belonging to Theodore Roosevelt

Jason Wickersty, NPS

News Release Date: June 27, 2024


Oyster Bay, N.Y. — A historic silver pocket watch that traveled the world with Theodore Roosevelt during his presidency, including his charge up San Juan Hill and travels to Africa and down the Amazon River, has returned to his family home at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site.

This invaluable presidential timepiece, given to him by a family member in 1898, was missing for 37 years after it was stolen while on loan from the National Park Service (NPS) to a museum in Buffalo, NY in 1987. Beginning today, the watch will be featured in an exclusive exhibit at the Old Orchard Museum, part of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, and available for free public viewing over the next three months.

The recovery of the President Roosevelt’s watch and return to NPS care was announced today by NPS Director Chuck Sams who was joined by Roosevelt family members during a special event at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site to celebrate its return and thank NPS and FBI investigators for their work.

“It is an honor to have a role in preserving American history for current and future generations to learn from,” National Park Service Director Chuck Sams said. “Recovering and returning this remarkable piece of presidential history, a cherished personal item of President Theodore Roosevelt, to its rightful home here at Sagamore Hill reflects the dedication and hard work of NPS and partners in the spirit of preservation.”

The watch was recovered by NPS special agents with assistance from the FBI. It was last on public display in 1987 at the Wilcox House in Buffalo, New York.

“Today, we are honored to return this extraordinary piece of Americana to its rightful owner,” Assistant Director Michael Nordwall of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division said. “Despite the passage of time, in this case, almost four decades, the FBI is committed to working with our partners to recover and preserve important pieces of our cultural heritage that help bring history to life.”

“The stories this watch could tell over the last 126 years include colorful and profound moments in American history,” said Superintendent Jonathan Parker of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. “Historic objects are powerful because they are literal participants in historic events, and in the case of this storied watch, it is also a beloved family heirloom of a renowned American president. Almost 40 years have passed since the public had last seen President Roosevelt’s watch and we’re excited to place this watch back into the light on public display.”

The pocket watch, part of the thousands of items originally gifted to the NPS by the Roosevelt family through the Theodore Roosevelt Association in 1963, will remain in the permanent museum collection of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. Sagamore Hill National Historic Site is one of 24 national parks in New York with about a dozen in the immediate New York City area. Learn more about parks in New York on our New York state webpage.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 429 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at, and on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube.

Last updated: June 27, 2024