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The Religious Affiliation of
Theodore Roosevelt
U.S. President


Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States.

Theodore Roosevelt previously served as U.S. Vice-President in 1901 under Pres. McKinley.

Virtually all published text books and lists of presidential facts list Theodore Roosevelt's religious affiliation as Dutch Reformed. Less well known is the fact that Roosevelt was also affiliated with Episcopalianism.

Theodore Roosevelt appears to have maintained a denominational identity that was Dutch Reformed, but congregational affiliation with some Episcopalian parishes, as his wife was an Episcopalian. The authors of this webpage are studying this subject further.

From Theodore Roosevelt and the Local Church, by Buddy Dano (www.divineviewpoint.com; http://www.mylinuxisp.com/~appelomega/TR_Local_Church.pdf), pages 3-4:

President Theodore Roosevelt manifested his Christianity all during his public and private life, as illustrated in this statement, when he first came to Washington: "When I first came to Washington, I did not know there was any Dutch Reformed Church there, and went with my wife to the Episcopal Church. But, on becoming President, I learned that there was a little obscure, red brick building tucked away on the back of a lot, and I immediately selected that as my Church.

...His family faith was the Dutch Reformed, but he found no church of that denomination at Cambridge, and drifted into a Mission School of the high church of Episcopalian faith. He did not stay there long...

Roosevelt... did not observe the formalities of the High Church service as they thought he should. They asked if he had any objection to them. "None in the world, but I am Dutch Reformed." This did not help matters and in the end, Roosevelt left this field of labor and entered a Congregational Sunday School nearby, where he taught during the remainder of his college term.

Theodore Roosevelt's obituary (New York Times, http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/life/NYTobit.htm) includes the following paragraph, indicating active participation in a local Episcopalian congregation during his later years:

When Colonel Roosevelt returned from his South American journey in 1914, he gave the first account of his discoveries in an address at the local church, months ahead of the announcement of the discovery of the mysterious Brazilian River, now the Rio Teodoro, in a magazine. He was a village institution as the master of ceremonies over the Christmas tree in Christ Episcopal Church, and in the role of Santa Claus at the Cove Neck School, near Sagamore Hill, where all of his children learned the A B C's. Last Christmas was the first time that Colonel Roosevelt had failed to take charge of these functions since he left the White House, with the exception of the Christmas of 1913, when he was on his way to South America. His son, Captain Archie, took his place last Christmas as the Santa Claus of the Cove Neck School.

The "Christ Church" of Oyster Bay, an Episcopalian parish, claims Roosevelt as a member of their congregation on their web page (http://www.christchurchobay.org/welcome.htm):

From the 1880's on, the Roosevelt Family of Sagamore Hill together with many of their Roosevelt cousins attended Christ Church; and the church was often the focus of national attention after Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States in 1901. TR attended Christ Church until his death in 1919, and former First Lady Edith Kermit Roosevelt was a faithful parishioner up to the time of her death in 1948.

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Webpage created 11 August 2005. Last modified 29 November 2005.
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