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Our great naturalist President, Theodore Roosevelt, as a teenager, was collecting specimens along the river with some friends. When he found he had no more room in any of his bulging pockets, which were already crammed with frogs, toads, snakes and insects of all sorts, he stuck the last frog under his hat. On the way up the river bank the boys came upon the Honorable Hamilton Fish and his wife. Poor Teddy tipped his hat and lost both his frog and his dignity, and in the process scared Mrs. Hamilton out of her wits.
Theodore Roosevelt is remembered as the twenty-sixth President of the United States, but this multifaceted man was a great many other things as well.
In addition to holding elective office as a New York State Assemblyman, Governor of New York, Vice President, and President, he was also a deputy sheriff in the Dakota Territory, Police Commissioner of New York City, U.S. Civil Service Commissioner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and Colonel of the Rough Riders, all by the age of 42, at which time he became the youngest man ever to hold the office of President.
He was one of the original members of the American Institute of Arts and Letters, and he was one of the first fifteen elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was a founder of the Boone and Crocket Club, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and the Long Island Bird Club.
He also established himself as a historian (he was President of the American Historical Association, and as a naturalist (he was considered the world's authority on large American mammals and he led two major scientific expeditions for prominent American Museums, one in South America and one in Africa, each lasting many months). Had he not become President, he would be remembered for his contributions in both of these fields.
In between these busy enterprises, he found time to ranch in the West, hunt on several continents, raise a family of six rambunctious children, read a remarkable number of books (often one a day), write more than thirty-five himself, and develop an extraordinary network of friends and contacts, which he maintained mostly by mail, writing well over 150,000 letters.
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