India House Foundation



Roosevelt, Straight and The War to End All War


('The Real Dope,' photograph annotated by Willard Straight, c 1915, Courtesy Willard Straight Papers, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University)

Theodore Roosevelt - military historian, "Rough Rider," Progressive President of the United States, and recipient of the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize, yearned to do his part when World War I began in Europe in 1914. He was 57 years old and medically unfit to be a soldier when this photograph was taken with Willard Straight at the volunteer pre-enlistment training program in Plattsburg, New York, in 1915. Roosevelt was a mentor to Willard Straight, whose father died when he was six, and his mother when he was ten years old. Roosevelt urged his family and friends to serve in the war. His son Quentin joined the Army and lost his life in aerial combat over France on Bastille Day, 1918. U.S. Army Major Willard Straight died of Spanish Flu in Paris in December 1918. Theodore Roosevelt died less than a month later at 'Sagamore Hill,' his home on Long Island. .