Theodore Roosevelt: A Voracious Reader Who Tore Out Pages Until Done

smiling theodore roosevelt

After reading the The Rise of Theodore Roosevelta particular excerpt stood othe rise of theodore rooseveltut to me that relates to all writers, regardless of whether or not you make money or simply scribble down words for enjoyment.

It all starts with framing who Theodore Roosevelt actually was, tying in the fact that he’s considered one of the most eccentric, “common man” presidents in the history of the United States. Take a look at the following passage on how Theodore Roosevelt managed to complete a considerable amount more reading than the average person, and keep in mind that this was when he was President of the United States (he also held various other professions such as author, conservationist and explorer).

Tonight the President will bury himself, perhaps, in two volumes Mrs. Lodge has just sent him for review: Gissing’s Charles Dickens, A Critical Study, and The Greek View of Life, by Lowes Dickinson. He will be struck, as he peruses the latter, by interesting parallels between the Periclean attitude toward women and that of present day Japan, and will make a mental note to write to Mrs. Lodge about it. He may also read, with alternate approval and disapproval, two articles on Mormonism in the latest issue of Outlook. A five-thousand-word essay on “The Ancient Irish Sagas” in this month’s Century magazine will not detain him long, since he is himself the author. His method of reading periodicals is somewhat unusual: each page, as he comes to the end of it, is torn out and thrown onto the floor. When both magazines have been thus reduced to a pile of crumpled paper, Roosevelt will leap from his rocking-chair and march down the corridor. Slowing his pace at the door of the presidential suite, he will tiptoe in, brush the famous teeth with only a moderate amount of noise, and pull on his blue-striped pajamas. Beside his pillow he will deposit a large, precautionary revolver. His last act, after turning down the lamp and climbing into bed, will be to unclip his pince-nez and rub the reddened bridge of his nose. Then, there being nothing further to do, Theodore Roosevelt will energetically fall asleep.

theodore roosevelt prppeing for the hunt

The praise for Roosevelt’s reading prowess continues…

Somewhere between six one evening and eight-thirty next morning, beside his dressing and his dinner and his guests and his sleep, he had read a volume of three-hundred-and-odd pages, and missed nothing of significance that it contained.

roosevelt speakingIn reference to quieter nights…

On evenings like this, when he has no official entertaining to do, Roosevelt will read two or three books entire.

And the busy, yet still literature-ridden days…

The President manages to get through at least one book a day even when he is busy.

What do you think about Theodore Roosevelt’s reading rate? How would you say you match up to this ravenous book and article consumer? Let me know your thoughts, and if you’ve had a chance to read The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt in the comments below.

Image credits: JBrazitosakraft1A Meyers 91

About Joe Warnimont

I am a writer, marketing expert and adventure seeker. I help people write, market their writing, live truthfully and embrace their lives through creativity. You can find me riding my bike around the streets of Chicago. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.


  1. Kristen Brockmeyer says:

    “Then, there being nothing further to do, Theodore Roosevelt will energetically fall asleep.” I love this! I can do a book a day, but not two or three “entire.” Unless reading were my day job…

    • Right? Even though it doesn’t really specify how long the books were, it’s still pretty amazing. And it seems like most books are longer nowadays. Anyway, I can usually only get in one or two books per week. Thanks for the comment Kristen!