Alice Roosevelt Was Possibly Cooler Than Her Dad

Alice Roosevelt Was Possibly Cooler Than Her Dad

Alice Roosevelt possibly invented daddy issues. She was born just before that famous day that Teddy Roosevelt lost both his wife and his mother, and he reacted by promptly fleeing to North Dakota to work out his grief in the most manly ways possible, leaving little Alice in the care of his sister. When he returned, he quickly remarried and began a new family with his new wife, and though she'd no doubt bristle at the suggestion, it may very well have been Alice's lifelong fight for her dad's attention that led her to become a complete badass.

It started with a rebellious youth, full of tension with her stepmother that led Teddy to consider sending her to boarding school, but she threatened him, "If you send me, I will humiliate you. I will do something that will shame you. I tell you, I will." When he became president shortly before she turned 18, the media became obsessed with the hard-partying, fast-driving, smoking, poker-playing young woman, to the point that they meticulously tracked every party she went to over a period of 15 months. She often supplied this information to the media herself to get the cash rewards they offered, like some kind of America's Most Wanted for wearing pants. She was said to keep a dagger, a copy of the Constitution, and her pet snake, named Emily Spinach, in her purse.

Her dog, Leo, also had huge "I bite noses off" energy.

But she also served as a diplomat on her father's behalf and offered him frequent political advice, sometimes to his dismay. One day, after she'd interrupted him in the Oval Office three times with such suggestions, he'd threatened to throw her out the window and then told his friend, "I can either run the country, or I can attend to Alice, but I cannot possibly do both." She wrote a wildly successful autobiography in 1933 and became a frequent political columnist known for her scathing wit. One of her most well-known bon mots, "If you can't say something good about someone, sit right here by me," which she famously stitched onto a pillow, is still repeated by gossipmongers, and she considered naming her daughter, the product of an extramarital affair with Senator William Borah, "Deborah" as a clue to her parentage. She died in 1980 at 96 years old, still making dick jokes with reporters from the Washington Post. We should all be so lucky.

Top image: Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

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