Quentin Roosevelt Is Born
Quentin was the youngest child of the Roosevelt family including half-sister Alice, sister, Ethel, and brothers Theodore Jr., Kermit and Archibald "Archie".
Quentin was only three years old when his father became president, and he grew up in the White House. By far the favorite of all of President Roosevelt's children, Quentin was also the most rambunctious. He was nicknamed "Quentyquee" and "Quinikins" by his father. He shared T.R.'s physical, intellectual, and linguistic characteristics.
Quentin's behaviour prompted his mother, Edith, to label him a "fine bad little boy". Amongst Quentin's many adventures with the "White House Gang" (a name assigned by T.R. to Quentin and his friends), Quentin carved a baseball diamond on the White House lawn without permission, defaced official presidential portraits in the White House with spitballs, and threw snowballs from the White House's roof at unsuspecting Secret Service guards. Charlie Taft the son of Secretary of War and future President William Howard Taft was also part of the white house gang.
He quickly became known for his humorous and sometimes philosophical remarks. To a reporter trying to trap the boy into giving information about his father, Quentin admitted, "I see him occasionally, but I know nothing of his family life." The family soon learned to keep him quiet during dinner when important guests were present.
Once, when his brother Archie was terribly ill, it was Quentin (with the help of Charles Lee, a White House coachman), who brought the pony Algonquin to his room by elevator, sure that this would make his brother better.
As a young man, Quentin displayed a natural mechanical aptitude. He could fix almost anything, and even rebuilt a motorcycle to present to a friend as a gift.
When Theodore Roosevelt became president after the death of William McKinley, he was the father of 6 children, ranging in age from 3 to 17. The youngest, Quentin, became the darling of the nation during the seven-and-a-half years he lived in the White House.
The press loved covering the antics of this little boy. Visitors of the Smithsonian Institute's First Ladies exhibit may notice the display of a young boy and pony in an elevator. This is Quentin. His brother Archie was sick and restricted to his bedroom, so Quentin decided to cheer up his brother by bringing Archie's beloved pony to the sick room.
That was routine in the life of Quentin Roosevelt. He regularly walked on stilts or roller skated in the East Room. He'd hop on carriages to ride around Washington. Quentin developed a friendship with Charlie Taft (son of William H. Taft) and Earle Looker and some other boys -- a group that had become known as the White House Gang (whose adventures had been turned into a book by Earle Looker). Together, these boys "terrorized" Washington. Once, the gang took mirrors and stood outside a federal building, reflecting the sunlight into the windows and disrupting the secretaries' work. Someone contacted the president, who arranged for a military personnel to go to the top of the building to signal the boys with flags: "Stop the mirrors. Return to the White House for you know what from you know who." The boys slipped the mirrors back into their pockets and hightailed it home for their presidential punishment. Much as the president enjoyed Quentin's fun, he claimed that he couldn't let the boys bring a stop to government work.