Carnegie and The Roosevelts

In the recent documentary The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, produced by Ken Burns and airing on PBS, it is said that Theodore Roosevelt wrote more than 150,000 letters during the course of his lifetime.  As a leading member of one of the country’s oldest and most powerful political families, “T.R.,” as he was congenially known, corresponded with the most influential Americans of his time. That, of course, included Andrew Carnegie. 

A collection of T.R.’s letters has been assembled in The Library of America series, and shows that he and Carnegie frequently exchanged views on issues they cared deeply about, from economic concerns to foreign policy. One major subject of their correspondence was peace and disarmament. Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for ending the Russo-Japanese War with the Treaty of Portsmouth.  Andrew Carnegie’s good friend Elihu Root, who also served as Roosevelt’s Secretary of War, was awarded the prize six years later.

In the example below, Mr. Carnegie writes congratulating President Roosevelt for supporting the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, an institution established with funding from Carnegie.

RTEmagicC_carnegie_roosevelt_letter.jpg

The Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University in North Dakota offers a digital library of President Roosevelt’s correspondence. Sixteen items from Andrew Carnegie live in the collection and can be found here.