Our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt, began his Presidency in 1901, along with six children and more animals than the White House had ever seen. The Roosevelt children's family of pets included a small bear named Jonathan Edwards; a lizard named Bill; guinea pigs named Admiral Dewey, Dr. Johnson, Bishop Doane, Fighting Bob Evans, and Father O'Grady; Maude the pig; Josiah the badger; Eli Yale the blue macaw; Baron Spreckle the hen; a one-legged rooster; a hyena; a barn owl; Peter the rabbit; and Algonquin the pony. President Roosevelt loved the pets as much as his children did. Algonquin was so beloved that when the President's son Archie was sick in bed, his brothers Kermit and Quentin brought the pony up to his room in the elevator. But Algonquin was so captivated by his own reflection in the elevator mirror that it was hard to get him out!
Quentin once stopped in a pet store and bought four snakes. He then went to show them to his father in the Oval Office, where the President was holding an important meeting. Senators and party officials smiled tolerantly when the boy barged in and hugged his father. But when Quentin dropped the snakes on the table, the officials scrambled for safety. The snakes were eventually captured and promptly sent back to the pet shop. Alice, Quentin's sister, also had a pet garter snake that she named Emily Spinach ("because it was as green as spinach and as thin as my Aunt Emily").
The Roosevelts were dog lovers as well. Among their many canines were Sailor Boy the Chesapeake retriever, Jack the terrier, Skip the mongrel, and Pete, a bull terrier who sank his teeth into so many legs that he had to be exiled to the Roosevelt home in Long Island! Alice had a small black Pekingese named Manchu, which she received from the last empress of China during a trip to the Far East. Alice once claimed to have seen Manchu dancing on its hind legs in the moonlight on the White House lawn.
(Reprinted from the National Archives and Records Administration)
If you would like to learn more about the Roosevelt pets, please read:The Roosevelts' Assorted Pets
Last updated: November 22, 2020