Taking TR to the People

The quandry of how to get more people interested in history continues.  Everyone needs to realize that knowing names, places, and dates is just not the same as digging into fascinating lives which made our country what it is.  So last weekend in Medora, North Dakota, the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation hosted the third annual “Gathering of TRs.”

My husband and I were happy to plan a free cabin-building workshop for children on Sunday afternoon (TR’s reconstructed “Maltese Cross Ranch Cabin” sits just outside the National Park Service visitor center there).  Twenty excited kids of various ages put together the scale models to get a feel for the place where a future president lived.  A few had help from someone very familiar with it.

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Most of the weekend was devoted to re-enactors who came from far and wide to showcase Theodore Roosevelt’s ideals and accomplishments, but they were not all him.  Edith Roosevelt was there, as well as their youngest son, Quentin.  University of North Dakota student Austin Artz received a standing ovation from the Old Time Theatre’s  packed house.

Julia Marple, Austin Artz, and Larry Marple as Edith, Quentin, and Theodore Roosevelt

The person in the selfie below took a turn as Corinne Roosevelt Robinson, telling stories about her older brother.  Used to presenting historical figures in classroom venues, she was taken by surprise when the stage lights prevented her from seeing the audience.  But they asked good questions, and it was even more enjoyable to be part of a discussion panel at the end of the day.

A Bully Year for Blogging

A year ago, I wrote my first blog post.

So it is fitting that this one will be about not just one Theodore Roosevelt – but several of them.  Last weekend was the second annual gathering of TR re-enactors in Medora, North Dakota.  I was invited to do a book talk as part of the program, and didn’t have to think too long about an answer.

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Larry and Julia Marple, of South Charleston, Ohio, as Theodore and Edith Roosevelt.   Mrs. Roosevelt served tea and lemonade to guests in front of the Von Hoffman House, explaining etiquette of the day.

It was “dee-lightful” from beginning to end.  We learned more about phases of the twenty-sixth president’s life with enthusiasts who traveled from eight states.  The re-enactors themselves were treated to a class given by Martin Jonason, acting studio director from Fargo, North Dakota.  He designed the session to strengthen their Theodore voices, gestures, and personas.

 

 Mike Thompson, of San Angelo, Texas, as TR in the Badlands.  With a stunningly realistic collection of western clothing and tools, he is the author of a book about the Maltese Cross cabin.

Adam Lindquist of Lonsdale, Minnesota, as the conservationist president who toured Yellowstone and Yosemite in 1903.

Margaret Porter Griffin's photo.

Derek Evans, of Wilmette, Illinois, performed “Do What You Can, With What You Have, Where You Are.”  He began as himself, in a white shirt and dark pants, and gradually transformed into the president.

My book talk helped bolster what they already knew about TR’s childhood.  They asked good questions; it was gratifying to have my opinions of his early years valued.

Theodore Roosevelts, standing: Joe Wiegand (Solana Beach, California, the resident Theodore Roosevelt at the TRMF in Medora), Arch Ellwein (Sidney, Montana), Larry Marple, Brian Haggard (Flint, Michigan), Adam Lindquist, Steve Stark (Fargo, North Dakota), and Gregg Harris (Portland, Oregon).

In the coming year they will bring back Theodore Roosevelt for the young and old at schools, clubs, and special venues.  Audiences will get to know an American who once enlivened the country and the world, and with every performance a little more of the efforts he made to improve their lives today.

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If you missed reading some of the blogs from the last fifty-two weeks, I’ll tell my favorites.  Go to http://www.amazingbirdcollection.wordpress.com or click on “View all posts by Margaret” at the bottom of this page, and the format I recently switched to will allow you to click on a picture and its title for easy access.

  • Edwardian – 6.7.15
  • Unshelved – 6.2.15
  • “What Do You Think?” – 4.2.15
  • Sunday Dinner – 1.26.15
  • The Morrises – 10.28.14
  • Fleet – 10.21.14
  • Finding Freddie – 10.9.14
  • 1861 Day – 9.26.14
  • There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters – 9.24.14
  • Reading, Writing, and Roosevelt – 8.28.14