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Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

T.R. was responsible for Teddy Bears! His refusal to shoot a trapped bear on a presidential hunting expedition received major newspaper coverage, inspiring some savvy marketers to create the stuffed bears to capitalize on Roosevelt's popularity.12

After the death of his first wife, T.R. was so distraught he was unable to speak his wife's name. T.R. thus called his daughter, Alice Lee Roosevelt, by her middle name, Lee, until the age of three.13

T.R. had a bad heart. From the time he was in college, he took daily nitroglycerin pills for his health, a common remedy at the time. Those pills, combined with his gallon-a-day coffee habit, may help explain the source of his unstoppable energy.14

T.R.'s penchant for exercise knew almost no bounds, not even propriety. As president, Roosevelt would lead visiting dignitaries and high-ranking government officials on dangerous hikes and rocks scrambles. On these expeditions, the president had only one rule: no matter what obstacle they encountered, they were never allowed to go around it. "Over, under, or through—but never around."15

Frustrated with archaic and illogical spellings left over from Old English, T.R. became the highest-profile member of a campaign to reform English orthography. In 1906 he instructed the Government Printing Office to switch to "simplified spellings" for three hundred common but strangely spelled words—"thorough" became "thoro," "kissed" became "kisst." Despite public outcry which forced the government to reverse course, some of the new spellings are now accepted—"center" for "centre" and "catalog" instead of "catalogue," for instance.16

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