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Boxing in the White House

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  • Jim Wiedman
    I ve got a friend who asked me for details about TR boxing in the East Room in the White House. I had remembered that he lost the use of his left eye in one
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 2, 2007
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      I've got a friend who asked me for details about TR boxing in the East
      Room in the White House. I had remembered that he lost the use of his
      left eye in one of the fights, and I was able to find a reference to a
      young artillery captain who was the boxer, but I can't find his name.
      Does anyone know who it was that TR was boxing with?

      Does anyone have any other details of boxing matches in the East Room?

      Jim
    • simonatl
      TR was injured as a result of boxing with Archie Butts, his military aide. His obiturary stated, Besides carrying a bullet in his body, Colonel Roosevelt was
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 3, 2007
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        TR was injured as a result of boxing with Archie Butts, his military
        aide. His obiturary stated, "Besides carrying a bullet in his body,
        Colonel Roosevelt was partially blind and partially deaf. The sight
        of his left eye was destroyed while he was in the White House in a
        boxing match. The hearing of one ear was destroyed by the abscess in
        his ear last February. He had suffered from broken ribs on numerous
        occasions, mostly in falls from horses, and a strained ligament on a
        rib caused him a severe attach of pleurisy in 1916. After that attack
        he was ordered by his physicians to give up violent exercise, but
        this advice he would not follow." See
        http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/life/NYTobit.htm

        A site on US Presidential medical histories recounts the same story
        at: http://www.doctorzebra.com/prez/t26.htm and attributes it to a
        book by a white house employee Ira Smith in "Dear Mr. President:" The
        Story of Fifty Years in the White House Mail Room. New York: Julian
        Messner, 1949, stating that Ira Smith was a peppery fellow who ran
        the White House mail room from 1897 to 1948. He started working
        during the administration of William McKinley and was the only mail
        room staffer until the volume of mail made it necessary to hire help
        during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. Other biographers
        such as Morris mention it. They also note that this was not common
        knowledge nor was it released to the American people at the time.

        Simon






        --- In tr-m@yahoogroups.com, Jim Wiedman <jim@...> wrote:
        >
        > I've got a friend who asked me for details about TR boxing in the
        East
        > Room in the White House. I had remembered that he lost the use of
        his
        > left eye in one of the fights, and I was able to find a reference
        to a
        > young artillery captain who was the boxer, but I can't find his
        name.
        > Does anyone know who it was that TR was boxing with?
        >
        > Does anyone have any other details of boxing matches in the East
        Room?
        >
        > Jim
        >
      • Linda Milano
        Sorry to disagree, but the boxing match in question was not with Archie Butts - it was with a cousin of his wife Edith s (whose name escapes me at the moment.
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 3, 2007
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          Sorry to disagree, but the boxing match in question was not with Archie Butts - it was with a cousin of his wife Edith's (whose name escapes me at the moment.  He never mentioned it because he did not want to hurt the man's feelings.
           
          Best,
          Linda Milano
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: simonatl
          Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 6:20 PM
          Subject: [tr-m] Re: Boxing in the White House

          TR was injured as a result of boxing with Archie Butts, his military
          aide. His obiturary stated, "Besides carrying a bullet in his body,
          Colonel Roosevelt was partially blind and partially deaf. The sight
          of his left eye was destroyed while he was in the White House in a
          boxing match. The hearing of one ear was destroyed by the abscess in
          his ear last February. He had suffered from broken ribs on numerous
          occasions, mostly in falls from horses, and a strained ligament on a
          rib caused him a severe attach of pleurisy in 1916. After that attack
          he was ordered by his physicians to give up violent exercise, but
          this advice he would not follow." See
          http://www.theodore roosevelt. org/life/ NYTobit.htm

          A site on US Presidential medical histories recounts the same story
          at: http://www.doctorze bra.com/prez/ t26.htm and attributes it to a
          book by a white house employee Ira Smith in "Dear Mr. President:" The
          Story of Fifty Years in the White House Mail Room. New York: Julian
          Messner, 1949, stating that Ira Smith was a peppery fellow who ran
          the White House mail room from 1897 to 1948. He started working
          during the administration of William McKinley and was the only mail
          room staffer until the volume of mail made it necessary to hire help
          during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. Other biographers
          such as Morris mention it. They also note that this was not common
          knowledge nor was it released to the American people at the time.

          Simon

          --- In tr-m@yahoogroups. com, Jim Wiedman <jim@...> wrote:
          >
          > I've got a friend who asked me for details about TR boxing in the
          East
          > Room in the White House. I had remembered that he lost the use of
          his
          > left eye in one of the fights, and I was able to find a reference
          to a
          > young artillery captain who was the boxer, but I can't find his
          name.
          > Does anyone know who it was that TR was boxing with?
          >
          > Does anyone have any other details of boxing matches in the East
          Room?
          >
          > Jim
          >

        • axonqueen
          Hi, My impression is that Butt was more of a tennis player! Was Edith s cousin one of the Rough Riders; I guess I remember the boxing match being between TR
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 3, 2007
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            Hi,

            My impression is that Butt was more of a tennis player! Was
            Edith's cousin one of the Rough Riders; I guess I remember the
            boxing match being between TR and one of his Rough Rider buddies?

            Happy 4th of July, Linda


            --- In tr-m@yahoogroups.com, Linda Milano <lemilano@...> wrote:
            >
            > Sorry to disagree, but the boxing match in question was not with
            Archie Butts - it was with a cousin of his wife Edith's (whose name
            escapes me at the moment. He never mentioned it because he did not
            want to hurt the man's feelings.
            >
            > Best,
            > Linda Milano
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: simonatl
            > To: tr-m@yahoogroups.com
            > Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 6:20 PM
            > Subject: [tr-m] Re: Boxing in the White House
            >
            >
            > TR was injured as a result of boxing with Archie Butts, his
            military
            > aide. His obiturary stated, "Besides carrying a bullet in his
            body,
            > Colonel Roosevelt was partially blind and partially deaf. The
            sight
            > of his left eye was destroyed while he was in the White House in
            a
            > boxing match. The hearing of one ear was destroyed by the abscess
            in
            > his ear last February. He had suffered from broken ribs on
            numerous
            > occasions, mostly in falls from horses, and a strained ligament
            on a
            > rib caused him a severe attach of pleurisy in 1916. After that
            attack
            > he was ordered by his physicians to give up violent exercise, but
            > this advice he would not follow." See
            > http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/life/NYTobit.htm
            >
            > A site on US Presidential medical histories recounts the same
            story
            > at: http://www.doctorzebra.com/prez/t26.htm and attributes it to
            a
            > book by a white house employee Ira Smith in "Dear Mr. President:"
            The
            > Story of Fifty Years in the White House Mail Room. New York:
            Julian
            > Messner, 1949, stating that Ira Smith was a peppery fellow who
            ran
            > the White House mail room from 1897 to 1948. He started working
            > during the administration of William McKinley and was the only
            mail
            > room staffer until the volume of mail made it necessary to hire
            help
            > during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. Other
            biographers
            > such as Morris mention it. They also note that this was not
            common
            > knowledge nor was it released to the American people at the time.
            >
            > Simon
            >
            > --- In tr-m@yahoogroups.com, Jim Wiedman <jim@> wrote:
            > >
            > > I've got a friend who asked me for details about TR boxing in
            the
            > East
            > > Room in the White House. I had remembered that he lost the use
            of
            > his
            > > left eye in one of the fights, and I was able to find a
            reference
            > to a
            > > young artillery captain who was the boxer, but I can't find his
            > name.
            > > Does anyone know who it was that TR was boxing with?
            > >
            > > Does anyone have any other details of boxing matches in the
            East
            > Room?
            > >
            > > Jim
            > >
            >
          • Linda Milano
            No, he wasn t a Rough Rider - although TR kept in touch with the Rough Riders for the rest of his life, even attending some of their annual reunions. The Rough
            Message 5 of 6 , Jul 4, 2007
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              No, he wasn't a Rough Rider - although TR kept in touch with the Rough Riders for the rest of his life, even attending some of their annual reunions.
               
              The Rough Riders had vowed to have annual reunions "to the last man" - however, they stopped when there were only three of them left and none of them was in any shape to visit the other two.
               
              Happy 4th everyone - planning on visiting Sagamore Hill today, myself...
               
              Best,
              Linda Milano
               
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: axonqueen
              Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 11:25 PM
              Subject: [tr-m] Re: Boxing in the White House

              Hi,

              My impression is that Butt was more of a tennis player! Was
              Edith's cousin one of the Rough Riders; I guess I remember the
              boxing match being between TR and one of his Rough Rider buddies?

              Happy 4th of July, Linda

              --- In tr-m@yahoogroups. com, Linda Milano <lemilano@.. .> wrote:
              >
              > Sorry to disagree, but the boxing match in question was not with
              Archie Butts - it was with a cousin of his wife Edith's (whose name
              escapes me at the moment. He never mentioned it because he did not
              want to hurt the man's feelings.
              >
              > Best,
              > Linda Milano
              > ----- Original Message -----
              > From: simonatl
              > To: tr-m@yahoogroups. com
              > Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 6:20 PM
              > Subject: [tr-m] Re: Boxing in the White House
              >
              >
              > TR was injured as a result of boxing with Archie Butts, his
              military
              > aide. His obiturary stated, "Besides carrying a bullet in his
              body,
              > Colonel Roosevelt was partially blind and partially deaf. The
              sight
              > of his left eye was destroyed while he was in the White House in
              a
              > boxing match. The hearing of one ear was destroyed by the abscess
              in
              > his ear last February. He had suffered from broken ribs on
              numerous
              > occasions, mostly in falls from horses, and a strained ligament
              on a
              > rib caused him a severe attach of pleurisy in 1916. After that
              attack
              > he was ordered by his physicians to give up violent exercise, but
              > this advice he would not follow." See
              > http://www.theodore roosevelt. org/life/ NYTobit.htm
              >
              > A site on US Presidential medical histories recounts the same
              story
              > at: http://www.doctorze bra.com/prez/ t26.htm and attributes it to
              a
              > book by a white house employee Ira Smith in "Dear Mr. President:"
              The
              > Story of Fifty Years in the White House Mail Room. New York:
              Julian
              > Messner, 1949, stating that Ira Smith was a peppery fellow who
              ran
              > the White House mail room from 1897 to 1948. He started working
              > during the administration of William McKinley and was the only
              mail
              > room staffer until the volume of mail made it necessary to hire
              help
              > during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. Other
              biographers
              > such as Morris mention it. They also note that this was not
              common
              > knowledge nor was it released to the American people at the time.
              >
              > Simon
              >
              > --- In tr-m@yahoogroups. com, Jim Wiedman <jim@> wrote:
              > >
              > > I've got a friend who asked me for details about TR boxing in
              the
              > East
              > > Room in the White House. I had remembered that he lost the use
              of
              > his
              > > left eye in one of the fights, and I was able to find a
              reference
              > to a
              > > young artillery captain who was the boxer, but I can't find his
              > name.
              > > Does anyone know who it was that TR was boxing with?
              > >
              > > Does anyone have any other details of boxing matches in the
              East
              > Room?
              > >
              > > Jim
              > >
              >

            • John Willson
              Hi Jim: In TR s Autobiography, he notes that: After a few years I had to abandon boxing as well as wrestling, for in one bout a young captain of artillery
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 4, 2007
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                Hi Jim:
                 
                In TR's Autobiography, he notes that: "After a few years I had to abandon boxing as well as wrestling, for in one bout a young captain of artillery cross-countered me on the eye, and the blow smashed the little blood-vessels."
                In a letter to Michael Donovan (ex-middleweight champion), dated 12/13/04, TR writes that: "A couple of days ago I spent a good afternoon with Ted and one of his football friends and a couple of young army officers sparring, playing singlestick, etc., and I am sorry to say I have wrenched my thigh again and succeeded in breaking a blood vessel in one eye, while Ted put his thumb out of joint."
                William Roscoe Thayer, in his biography of TR, states that: "It was in a boxing bout at the White House with his teacher that he lost the sight of an eye from a blow which injured his eyeball."
                In John J. Leary's, Talks with T.R., he devotes a short chapter to the incident in which he quotes TR as saying: "I used to like to box, but I had to stop when I hurt my left eye in the White House. You know it is blind: a loss, but not nearly as bad as if it were the right one. It happened this way: I was boxing with a naval officer, a husky chap and a cousin of Mrs. Roosevelt. He countered a hot one on the side of the head - right over the eye. One of the hardening arteries ruptured. Then the eye gradually began to film over. Soon all the sight was gone. That's how I lost it."
                Finally, regardless of how he lost the sight in his left eye, he must have been quite a boxer. The afore-mentioned Mike Donovan in his book, "The Roosevelt That I Know," states that: "I've hit him many times as hard as ever I hit a fighter in the ring, without stopping him, and thousands know how hard I can hit. I want to say, now, that I never saw him wince or show even by an involuntary sign that he was discomforted in spirit, no matter how severe the bodily pain. On the contrary, it met with only that characteristic turning of the head a bit to the side, a grim smile and a determined setting of the bulldog jaw, followed by another rush.Theodore Roosevelt is a strong, tough man: hard to hurt, and harder to stop." Even if we assume that there is a bit of hyperbole in Donovan's remarks, TR clearly must have been able to hold his own in the sport of boxing.
                 
                John Willson
                 
                 
                 
                Jim Wiedman <jim@...> wrote:
                I've got a friend who asked me for details about TR boxing in the East
                Room in the White House. I had remembered that he lost the use of his
                left eye in one of the fights, and I was able to find a reference to a
                young artillery captain who was the boxer, but I can't find his name.
                Does anyone know who it was that TR was boxing with?

                Does anyone have any other details of boxing matches in the East Room?

                Jim

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