Does this photograph show Teddy Roosevelt at Lincoln’s funeral procession?


1865 - Lincoln's funeral procession; Passing the (Cornelius) Roosevelt Mansion, sw corner 14th Street, Broadway, view looking North on Broadway

1865 – Lincoln’s funeral procession; Passing the (Cornelius) Roosevelt Mansion, sw corner 14th Street, Broadway, view looking North on Broadway – Flickr image from Stratis

See the house on the corner, at the left?  Look at the second story, at the window on the side of the house facing the camera.  Is that young Theodore Roosevelt watching Lincoln’s funeral procession?

Stratis, who posted this photo at Flickr, added the note at that window:

6 year old, Theodore Roosevelt watches Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession from an upstairs window of his grandfather, Cornelius Roosevelt’s mansion on Union Square with his younger brother Elliott and a friend.  Teddy lived at 28 East 20th Street.

Is that accurate?  Is that his grandfather’s house?  I assume that it is not 28 East 20th Street, which is where he was born and the house of his father.

A timeline of TR’s life said he watched the passing funeral entourage:

  • 1865  –  Watches Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession from an upstairs window of his grandfather’s house on Union Square, New York City. With him are his younger brother Elliott and a friend named Edith Kermit Carow.

Interesting intersection of history.  This would probably be the only meeting of Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, though Teddy almost certainly knew Lincoln’s sole surviving son, Robert, pretty well.  Both were in Buffalo when William McKinley was assassinated; Robert Lincoln, having lived through his father’s assassination, and then been present at the assassinations of James Garfield and McKinley, declined an invitation to Roosevelt’s inauguration in 1905, not wishing to extend one of the oddest bad luck streaks ever imaginable.

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7 Responses to Does this photograph show Teddy Roosevelt at Lincoln’s funeral procession?

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    When the mansion came down, the owners probably didn’t think of any potential historical value.

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  2. ruidh says:

    20 E 20th St. Is in the middle of a block between 5th and Park Aves. It is not on Union Square but a few blocks north. That looks like it could be Union Square in the photo, but the Roosevelt mansion isn’t there any more.

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  3. [...] “Does this photograph show Teddy Roosevelt at Lincoln’s Funeral procession?” [...]

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  4. Yes. The show “Stealing Lincoln’s Body” actually zeroed in on the photograph where Theodore and his brother Elliot were. However, it wasn’t specified which boy was Theodore and which boy was Elliot.

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  5. seeit81@hotmail.com says:

    definitely tr and brother. confirmed later years by edith (tr’s 2nd wife) who was in the building but locked in a room by them because she was scared of the soldiers who were without arms and legs marching behind lincoln.

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  6. Richard Sloan says:

    It appears to be a certainty that young Teddy is one of the boys in the window, the other one being his brother Eliot (who would turn out to be Eleanor Roosevelt’s father!). Stefan Lorant was the first to figure this out. I think it was a sister of their who later confirmed that the boys were definitely visiting their gramps (Cornelius Van Shaack Roosevelt) in order to watch the funeral. The house was their gramps’ “mansion,” prime real estate then. It’s gone now, but the building on the site (at the corner of Bway and Union Square) is named the Roosevelt Building. No absolute proof that the boys in the window were, in fact, Teddy and his brother. However, if they weren’t, they must have been two other boys, and there was nothing said by that lady about any other young boys in the house watching besides them. So it’s a pretty safe bet that it was them. (For a little more about this, as well as the story of NYC’s funeral for Lincoln, see my chapter in the forthcoming book, “Lincoln’s Assassination,” to be published by Fordham University Press in May. Editors are Harold Holzer, Frank Williams, and Craig Symonds.

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