Edith Roosevelt was one half of one of the most powerful and influential political couples in American history. She proved to be a perfect complement to her husband Theodore as her quiet and self-assured nature balanced the exuberance and recklessness of her husband. She was mother to the largest family of children ever to live in the White House and is rated as one of the more efficient and competent First Ladies. Yet, she is also a figure that is cloaked in relative obscurity. After Theodore’s death, Edith refused offers to write an autobiography and instead continued to work to promote the memory of her husband and his political legacy. Towards the end of her life, Edith slipped into obscurity and was far overshadowed by her relative, Eleanor Roosevelt. In this regard, Edith was able to maintain the privacy that had marked her life even after her death.
This work is an endeavor to provide readers with an overview of both Edith Roosevelt’s character and personality and her accomplishments as political wife. As such, it delves into the intricacies of her relationships with Theodore, their children and other members of the Roosevelt family. It traces the degree to which the complexities of these relationships shaped Edith’s life and her legacy as the matriarch of the Oyster Bay branch of the Roosevelt clan. Concurrently, the work examines the considerable political contributions Edith made. This includes her roles as soldier’s and minor politician’s wife to her time as First Lady of both the state of New York and of the United States. As such, the work is both a homage and critical appraisal of a “Bully” First Lady.