One of my favorite things in the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace is the stereoscope in the family library. Stereography was a major medium until moving imagery rendered it obsolete in the early twentieth century. An even earlier method for conveying imagery was the magic lantern. Magic lanterns date back to the seventeenth century and could even depict the illusion of movement by projecting images drawn on glass slides on to a screen via candle light. When daguerreotypes and film came along in the nineteenth century magic lanterns adapted and thrived. Enthusiasts still practice the craft in its many forms today in the digital age.
I say all this because, in response to a post on the WW1 Centennial Commission Facebook page, Susan Mitchem of the The Salvation Army National Archives in Virginia noted that her repository holds several lantern slides of Quentin Roosevelt’s original resting place in Chambray, France. You may know that Lieutenant Roosevelt was shot down of Bastille Day 1918, the anniversary of which was yesterday. (In the 1950s Quentin was reinterred in Normandy American Cemetery next to his older brother Ted. Quentin Roosevelt is the only soldier of the Great War to be buried in this cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach.)
Ms. Mitchem said she would be interested in sharing the slides and so I contacted her seeking permission to show them here on The Strawfoot. And so, here you go: two lantern slides of Quentin Roosevelt’s original resting place. The Germans buried him with full military honors and, when the Allies re-took this area shortly thereafter, this site became something of a shrine for soldiers and civilians alike. Pilgrimages such as you see here were quite common.
(images courtesy of The Salvation Army Archives)
Dr. Jack Barnathan said:
There were so many deaths, and so much potential lost, but his death still hits me is so tragic. Thank you again for sharing some important, it in history.
Keith Muchowski said:
Thanks for the kind words. The WW1 centennial is an opportunity to explore so many important topics.
Quentin’s death has always hit me hard as well. He was the youngest and had so much potential. It’s painful even nearly a century later to think of what he might have accomplished had he lived. It also accelerated the death of his father, who died just six months later.
I’m so looking forward to getting up to Oyster Bay this fall.