Welcome to Sagamore Hill!
Step into the world of Theodore Roosevelt, his wife Edith, and their six children as you enter the front door. The informal, lived in appearance indicate a family home where children played and house guests were always present. Life at Sagamore Hill was anything but quiet.
The furnishings decorating the home mirror the active lifestyle the President and his family maintained. The ornate blue and white containers on either side of the buffalo held the family’s tennis balls. The original grounds contained a tennis court, one of TR’s favorite sports. In the summer, the family kept their rackets in the fireplace.
The front hall originally served as the family’s sitting room. The growing family and increasing number of visitors forced the Roosevelt’s to expand in 1905. The original entrance to the dinning room is hidden behind the rhinoceros.
The library encapsulates the personality and interests of TR. Often called a living biography of Theodore Roosevelt, the room reveals much about the man who inhabited the room.
The portraits over the bookcase and mantle are of his father, Chief Justice John Marshall, and Grant signify the people he admired and the values he sought to bring to his Presidency.
The animal skins and heads and the bronzes on the bookshelf indicate his love of nature and hunting. The books showcase his love of learning and education.
At this desk Roosevelt completed most of his Presidential duties.
Important visitors also met the President in this room including Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and Booker T. Washington.
Not only did TR do work in this room, but he also read books and relaxed with the family. Ethel, his youngest daughter, referred to this room as the heart of the house. Often before and after the Presidency this is where the family gathered at the end of the day to read books and play games.
The comfortable worn furniture provides evidence of the rough and tumble lifestyle advocated by TR.
The Drawing Room furnishings is distinctly different from the rest of the rooms on the first floor. The room is brighter and there are no animal heads on the walls. The furniture are family pieces from the Carows & Kermits, Edith's relatives.
Edith managed all aspects of Sagamore Hill from this desk. She supervised servants, planned events, and managed the family's finances. Edith put a certain amount of money (his daily allowance) in TR’s clothing every morning
Edith entertained many of the guests visiting Sagamore Hill with tea in the afternoon.
The fireplace in the Drawing Room.
The North Room was added to the home in 1905 to accommodate the expanding family and numerous visitors coming to Sagamore Hill. The large room is 20 feet high and 30 by 40 feet.
The North Room reveals TR’s love of nature. The two bison framing the fireplace are the oldest animals in the house, originating from an 1884 hunting trip to the Dakotas. The painting above the fireplace, Where the Light Meets the Shadow by P. Marcus Simons, incorporates the naturalist scenes favored by TR. The bronze on the left side of the fireplace, The Bronco Buster , is one of two Frederick Remington bronzes in the home.
At night the family entertained themselves in the North Room. Kermit, the middle boy, played the mandolin positioned on the chair. On special occasions the Roosevelt’s moved the furniture, rolled back the rugs, and danced. These special days included New Years Eve and their youngest child Ethel's wedding. The family also played card games including cribbage, on a walrus tooth set.
The construction of the North Room coincided with TR’s second Presidential term. Many of the unusual furnishings were gifts to the President. The carved eagle on the wall was sculpted by John Gutzon Borglum, the creator of Mt. Rushmore.
TR utilized the desk by the window to work including writing newspaper editorials, journal articles, and over thirty books. Roosevelt used the rhinoceros foot ink well to complete his writing by hand. TR wasn't the only one to occupy this desk; all members of the family did as well.
Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite portrait of himself hangs on the back wall. The portrait, painted in his Rough Rider uniform, was completed after the Spanish American War. The President had put on weight and told the painter to take off twenty pounds.
The Japanese chest was given to the President as a gift. The silver cup on top of it was a gift from the Dowager Empress of China.
More than any other room in the house the dining room shows Sagamore Hill was not built for affairs of state, but as a home.
The Roosevelts purchased the dining room table in Florence on their honeymoon in 1886. While the table looks small it extends to seat about twelve.
The children were expected to participate in conversation--the house rule was that the children had to ask any guest at least one question. Ted Jr. said the best conversation he ever received was sitting here at the dining room table.
Mrs. Roosevelt sat at the end of the table closest to the screen where she could communicate with the servants.
Much of the silver in this room including the pitcher came from TR’s mother, Mittie.
The silverware and place setting on the table are the Roosevelts state china from the White House.