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The Great American Theodore Roosevelt Puzzle

July 2024
1min read

John Waldsmith, who is curator/librarian of the National Stereoscopic Association’s Oliver Wendell Holmes Stereoscopic Research Library at the Canton (Ohio) Art Institute, was understandably taken with the “blizzard” of images we presented in “Theodore Roosevelt, President” by Edmund Morris (June/July 1981):

“On pages ten and eleven you have a montage of Theodore Roosevelt. I have one of the original prints in my collection. The print measures 13 by 20½ inches and was given to readers of the Farm and Fireside of Springfield, Ohio, in 1908. The montage was created and patented by Underwood & Underwood of New York City. Here is how Farm and Fireside described the print:

“‘This is the most remarkable photograph ever made. It is composed of five hundred different pictures of President Roosevelt taken at all years of his public career, and showing five hundred of his different attitudes and expressions. Two, and only two, of the pictures in this photograph are similar. They show the President in exactly the same position and dressed exactly the same. One is a little darker and larger than the other, but they are the same picture. See if you can find these “Mysterious Mr. Roosevelt” pictures. After you find them, it is a puzzle that will keep your friends busy for quite a while.

“‘This is probably the most expensive single photograph ever made. Its price was $1,000. No other photograph like it can ever be produced, and we have absolute control over its reproduction. Several men worked for months on the preparation of it. The pictures in it were taken in almost every state and territory in the Union, and at some of the most notable events that have taken place in American history. This great composite photograph will be an ornament to any home in America—a priceless ornament. Five years from now a reproduction of this great picture will be worth many dollars, and later on, when President Roosevelt has retired from public life, it will be a treasure to your children and grandchildren which will command a very high price.’”

Our own staff has gone over the photograph (shown below) and has been unable to pin down the duplicate Roosevelts. The first reader diligent enough to come up with the elusive twins will be awarded a free gift subscription to A MERICAN H ERITAGE for one year. Void where prohibited.

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