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Mrs. Alice (Roosevelt) Longworth

Updated Jul 19, 2022
Ancient Faces
Ancient Faces shared a photo
on Dec 29, 2011 5:30 AM
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A photo of Mrs. Alice (Roosevelt) Longworth, full-length portrait

Alice Roosevelt was the only child of President Teddy Roosevelt and his first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee. (Her mother died when she was 2 days old.)

A strong woman, not bound by the "rules" of the time, Alice came to public attention at the age of 17 when her father became President. Even the color of the blue dress that she wore this same year became a fashion trend - called "Alice Blue".

She did such scandalous things as ride in cars with men, smoke cigarettes in public, keep a snake in the White House, and jump into a pool fully clothed while on a diplomatic trip to Japan.

In February 1906, Alice married (later) Speaker of the House Nicholas Longworth III, wearing a blue wedding dress. But she was still independent, campaigning against her own husband and carrying on numerous affairs. Senator William Borah (R-ID) was the father of her only child, daughter Paulina Longworth (born in 1925), but she and Longworth remained married until his death in 1931.

Her rambunctious attitude never changed - she buried a voodoo doll of Nellie Taft (the new First Lady) in the front yard of the White House when the Roosevelts had to leave at the end of Teddy's term - and was banned from the White House a few times because of her behavior. And after her daughter died in 1957, she raised her granddaughter.

A life-long Republican, she nonetheless was close to the Kennedy family and voted for Lyndon Johnson (because she thought Goldwater was "too mean"). She was a friend to Richard Nixon and encouraged him to run for President - he invited her to a White House dinner and his daughter's wedding.

Alice died in 1980 at the age of 96. Along the path of her very long life, she made quite an impression. To Joe McCarthy (he of "commie witch hunt" fame) who had said: "Here's my blind date. I am going to call you Alice", she replied "Senator McCarthy, you are not going to call me Alice. The truckman, the trashman and the policeman on my block may call me Alice, but you may not." And she told President Johnson that she "wore wide-brimmed hats so he couldn't kiss her".
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AncientFaces commented on Jun 25, 2019
Do you know who this lady is? She was famous in her time - and throughout her life - and often a fashion icon.
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