Theodore Roosevelt's Silver Pocket Watch

A silver pocket watch, with the name American Waltham Watch Co. written on the face, and the hour hand pointing to just above the 8, and the minute hand pointing between 4 and 5.
Theodore Roosevelt's silver pocket watch, given to him as a gift from his sister Corrine and brother-in-law Douglas Robinson, in May 1898.

NPS Photo

See the Watch
You can see the watch on display at the Old Orchard Museum, part of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, from 11AM - 4:30PM, Thursdays through Sundays. The watch includes a companion exhibit with artifacts and additional information. Free.

History of the Watch
In May of 1898, Theodore Roosevelt was in Washington, DC and impatient to leave for San Antonio to join the Spanish American War. While he waited for his wife Edith to help him pass the time, he received a gift from his sister Corinne and brother-in-law Douglas Robinson: a silver pocket watch.

On May 5, 1898, President Roosevelt wrote to his sister, thanking her:

“Darling Corinne, You could not have given me a more useful present than the watch; it was exactly what I wished…Thank old Douglas for the watch – and for his many, many kindnesses.”

One week later, Lt. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt finally left for San Antonio to lead the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry. The future president would take this watch with him on some of his most famous adventures, including charging up San Juan Hill in Cuba, hunting wild game in Africa, and exploring the Amazon in South America. In his 1914 book, Through the Brazilian Wilderness, the former president writes about a particularly difficult bayou crossing:

“One result of the swim, by the way, was that my watch, a veteran of Cuba and Africa, came to an indignant halt.”

The valued watch would travel with him, be damaged, repaired, and kept as a keepsake. It is likely to have accompanied Theodore Roosevelt for significant portions of his presidency, including his two inaugurations. Inscribed “THEODORE ROOSEVELT FROM D.R. AND C.R.R.” the Waltham-manufactured pocket watch was kept after Roosevelt’s death, likely as a memento of the 26th president and was eventually given to the National Park Service to be in the museum collection at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site.
Roosevelt Watch Exposed Movement
The interior movement of the Waltham 17 jewel watch in a coin silver case. 'Riverside' grade and model '1888' with a hunter-style case.


Theft and Recovery of the Watch
This invaluable presidential timepiece was last on public display in 1987. It went missing for 37 years after it was stolen while on loan from Sagamore Hill National Historic Site to the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Histoic Site in Buffalo, New York. If you have information related to the theft of this watch, contact the ISB Tip Line at 888-653-0009 or email at

It was stolen by an unknown person and passed through several hands before becoming a consignment piece, reappearing at an auction house in Florida. The owner of the auction house subsequently contacted the National Park Service (NPS) about the authenticity of the watch. The NPS Investigative Services Branch, the lead investigative agency, contacted the FBI Art Crime team for additional assistance.

Both the NPS and FBI confirmed that this was the same watch stolen from Buffalo, New York almost 40 years earlier. It was recovered by special agents from National Park Service Investigative Services Branch, with assistance from the FBI.

"The repatriation of the watch would not have been possible without the close collaboration between the FBI and NPS. This partnership ensured that this historic treasure could be returned safely for future generations to enjoy." - FBI Special Agent Robert Giczy

Beginning on June 27, 2024 the watch will be featured in an exclusive exhibit at the Old Orchard Museum at Sagamore Hill and available for free public viewing. The pocket watch, part of the thousands of items originally gifted to the National Park Service by the Roosevelt family through the Theodore Roosevelt Association in 1963, will remain in the permanent museum collection of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site.

Last updated: July 1, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

20 Sagamore Hill Road
Oyster Bay, NY 11771


516 922-4788
Main phone line for Sagamore Hill NHS.

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