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The President's Wife and the Librarian: Letters at an Exhibition

April 2-December 31, 2009

curated by Harriet Shapiro

In 1980, Alice Gore King donated 588 letters to the Houghton Library at Harvard University. The letters had been written by Edith Kermit Roosevelt to Miss Kingís mother, Marion King, between 1920 and 1947. Mrs. Roosevelt was the wife of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. Marion King was, for almost fifty years, a staff member at The New York Society Library. This treasury of letters documents the little-known friendship between the Presidentís wife and the Librarian. This exhibition marks the first time this relationship and correspondence have been displayed in public. The letters and accompanying materials offer a unique view of an influential First Ladyís literary tastes and opinions and a touching story of a friendship stretching through a tumultuous period of American history.

Contributors to the research and catalog include Sylvia Jukes Morris and Wallace Finley Dailey. Sylvia Jukes Morris is the author of the definitive biography of Theodore Rooseveltís wife, Edith Kermit Roosevelt: Portrait of a First Lady. Wallace Finley Dailey is Curator of the Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Harvard College Library.

This exhibition was generously supported in part by Theodore and Constance Rogers Roosevelt, Helen D. Roosevelt, and Mary Kongsgaard and Richard Williams.

Sylvia Jukes Morris speaks about Edith Roosevelt at the exhibition opening, April 2009 (photo by Karen Smul)

Theodore Roosevelt IV and Constance Rogers Roosevelt (photo by Karen Smul)

Sylvia Jukes Morris with Chairman of the Board Charles G. Berry (photo by Karen Smul)