In an era when society demanded women and men conform to guidelines governed by gender and class, Alice Roosevelt Longworth broke the rules. From mutinous teenager racing cherry red auto through the streets of DC to capital grande dame skewering those of lesser wit, "she lived on the cream at the top of the bottle."
Her arrival coincided with the death of her mother, Alice Lee Hathaway, and her paternal grandmother. For her first three years of life, she was fostered by her doting Auntie Bye. When father Teddy remarried, at last she was brought into the family fold. Unsurprisingly, she clashed regularly with her endlessly absent father and old-fashioned step-mother. When the Roosevelts ascended to the White House, Alice’s outrageous exploits gained a world-wide audience. She crowned was crowned “Princess Alice,” and admirers devoured reports of her dancing ‘til sun-up and shooting her pistol off the back of trains.
When she married future Speaker of the House Nick Longworth, she yearned to find the unconditional love and attention she’d been denied by Teddy. Sadly, her husband was a womanizer and heavy drinker; so, Alice found consolation in politics…and Idaho Senator, Bill Borah.
Alice remained active in politics after the birth and untimely death of her and Bill’s daughter Paulina. A life-long member of the Republican Party, Alice frequented nominating conventions, stumped for candidates, and most famously hosted exclusive dinner parties for political heavy-weights at her home in Dupont Circle.
Despite never holding a political office, Alice became one of the 20th century most prominent voices in government. So, what was her secret? Listen and take notes.
Wondering how Alice compares to other First Daughters? Check-out these History Bitch approved biographies to get the low-down on Mrs. L:
Two fantastic children’s books have been written about Alice, too:
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