Yesterday over at the TRB Facebook page I posted about Roosevelt’s 1909 speech in Hodgenville, Kentucky for the Lincoln centennial. Today we continue with the Roosevelt/Lincoln meme, turning our attention to 1905.
That month Roosevelt was excitedly preparing for his first elective term, his first 3 ½ years in office of course having come after the assassination of William McKinley. Roosevelt was here in New York City to give a talk at the Lincoln Dinner of Republican Club Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. It seems the dinner was held on the 13th and not the 12th because Lincoln’s Birthday had fallen on a Sunday that year.
One of the guests that evening was retired general Oliver O. Howard. After the Civil War Howard had been the leader of the Freedmen’s Bureau, and later the namesake of Howard University in Washington, DC. He had hoped Roosevelt would speak at a fundraiser that night for Lincoln Memorial University. The president was unable to do so, however, because of this engagement at the Waldorf. Still, Roosevelt agreed to plug the Lincoln Centennial Endowment Fund and invited Howard to come along. It was all very last minute.
Roosevelt and Howard were somewhat familiar. The previous year on Memorial Day he and Dan Sickles had given the president a tour of the Gettysburg battlefield. Howard had always been a TR man. He had campaigned for the McKinley-Roosevelt ticket in 1900, and stumped for Roosevelt in 1904 as well. He was especially grateful for Roosevelt’s efforts for Lincoln Memorial University at the Waldorf that night. Howard led a contingent of Civil War veterans at Roosevelt’s inaugural.
(Images/Library of Congress)