Thodore Roosevelt Meets Alice Lee

Snowing heavily, but I drove over in my sleigh to Chestnut Hill, the horse plunging to his belly in the great drifts, and the wind cutting my face like a knife. My sweet life was just as lovable and pretty as ever; it seems hardly possible that I can kiss her and hold her in my arms; she is so pure and so innocent, and so very, very pretty. I have never done anything to deserve such good fortune.”

— Theodore Roosevelt

Alice Hathaway Lee (July 29, 1861 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts – February 14, 1884 in Manhattan, New York) was the first wife of Theodore Roosevelt and mother of their child, Alice. Roosevelt's wife, Alice died of an undiagnosed (since it was camouflaged by her pregnancy) case of kidney failure called, in those days, Bright's disease at 2 pm two days after Alice Lee was born. Theodore Roosevelt's mother had died of typhoid fever in the same house, on the same day, at 3 am, some eleven hours earlier. After the near simultaneous deaths of his mother and wife, Roosevelt left his daughter in the care of his sister, Anna "Bamie/Bye" in New York City. In his diary he wrote a large X on the page and wrote "the light has gone out of my life." (See diary photo).

Nearly ten months after making this declaration of his enchantment with the young Alice Lee of Boston, Theodore Roosevelt married his "sweet life." Four years later, February brought tragedy; on February 14, 1884, Roosevelt's young wife died after giving birth to the couple's first child. Only a few hours earlier, his mother, Martha Bulloch Roosevelt had died in the same house. After the double funeral and the christening of his new baby daughter, Alice, on February 17, 1884, the bereaved husband wrote:

For joy or for sorrow my life has now been lived out.