Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, was born on this day in 1858. Famous for his exploits as a soldier, conservationist, and statesman, he was also defined by his progressive politics and cultivated image as a cowboy outdoorsman, forever linked in the popular imagination to images of the American West.
From its founding, the DeGolyer Library at SMU has specialized in Western Americana, making it a natural home for the Doris A. and Lawrence H. Budner Collection on Theodore Roosevelt, which was first gifted to the DeGolyer in 1984.
The Budners spent more than 20 years building their collection of books, photographs, and ephemera related to the 26th president. The Budners were Dallas civic leaders, and deeply involved in public healthcare, social welfare, and the Jewish community. Both were historians of President Roosevelt, with Lawrence writing his SMU master’s thesis on Roosevelt and how his years living in the American West shaped his progressive social politics. You can view a finding aid to the entire collection by clicking here.
The Budner collection is exhaustive, ranging from Roosevelt family correspondence to campaign ephemera. One of the more memorable items for DeGolyer staff was a Roosevelt matchbook. If your job was to store and preserve large amounts of paper, how would you safely house a matchbook? The archivist processing the collection decided on (according to best practices) cutting off the match tips, and keeping the book.
The immense project of making the collection available digitally begins with the photograph collection, which you can browse by clicking here. Also included is the smaller print collection, which you can view by clicking here.
If you’d like to learn more about the Budner Roosevelt collection, email firstname.lastname@example.org