in the Works of
Dear Young Friend:
The Letters of American Presidents to Children
Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2000
Theodore Roosevelt to James A. Garfield
Jimmy Garfield, named for his assassinated grandfather, was the son of lawyer James H. Garfield, who was Roosevelt´s secretary of the interior. The letter thanks "Jimmykins" for a Christmas present and describes how Christmas was observed in the TR White House.
White House, Dec. 26, 1902
....Yesterday morning at a quarter of seven all the children were up and dressed and began to hammer at the door of their mother´s and my room, in which their six stockings, all bulging out with queer angles and rotundities, were hanging from the fireplace. So their mother and I got up, shut the window, lit the fire, taking down the stockings, of course, put on our wrappers and prepared to admit the children. But first there was a surprise for me, also for their good mother, for Archie had a little Christmas tree of his own which he had rigged up with the help of one of the carpenters in a big closet; and we all had to look at the tree and each of us got a present off of it. There was also a present for Jack the dog, Tom Quartz the kitten, and Algonquin the pony, whom Archie would no more think of neglecting than I would neglect his brothers and sisters. Then all the children came into our bed and there they opened their stockings. Afterwards we got dressed and took breakfast, and then all went into the library, where each child had a table set for his bigger presents. Quentin had a perfectly delightful electronic railroad, which had been rigged up for him by one of his friends, the White House electrician, who has been very good to all the children. Then Ted and I...went for a three hours´ ride, and all of us, including all the children, took lunch at the house with the children´s aunt, Mrs. Captain Cowes....all our family and kinfolk and Senator and Mrs. Lodge´s family and kinfolk had our Christmas dinner at the White House, and afterward danced in the East Room, closing with the Virginia Reel.
Your father´s friend,
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