In September 1901, news of the nation’s tragedy swept across America. President William McKinley had died from a gunshot wound inflicted on him earlier by a deranged anarchist. For eight days the people watched as the Grim Reaper beckoned the president to the eternal regions.
Nobody was more anxious than the vice president for McKinley’s recovery, and no one was happier on the occasion of his death than the vice president’s daughter, Alice Lee Roosevelt, much to TR’s chagrin.
Alice Roosevelt had always been a handful, in part because of the tragedy that accompanied her arrival on Feb. 12, 1884. Two days after her birth, both her mother and her grandmother died in the same house on the same day. Her heartbroken father gave Alice to his sister for a while and went west for two years to camp and hunt. When he returned, he married Edith Crow and resumed his role as a husband and father.
At Edith’s insistence, all allusions to the first Mrs. Roosevelt ceased. After a time, it was as if she never existed. Alice never quite got over this annihilation of her own identity, for she had been named after her mother but was never called Alice in her father’s house again. Instead, folks referred to her as “Sister” or “Baby Lee.” ...