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Sagamore receives Roosevelt's note to son

A note card dated April 16, 1903, written

A note card dated April 16, 1903, written by President Theodore Roosevelt at Yellowstone National Park to his 5-year-old son Quentin, is being donated to Sagamore Hill. Credit: National Park Service

The director of the National Park Service will come to Oyster Bay Thursday to mark Theodore Roosevelt's 153rd birthday and witness the donation to Sagamore Hill of a note Roosevelt wrote to his son Quentin more than a century ago.

Park Service director Jonathan B. Jarvis first will travel to Roosevelt's grave at Youngs Memorial Cemetery in Oyster Bay Cove at 10 a.m. to participate in the annual wreath-laying ceremony held on the 26th president's birthday. The ceremony was begun by Quentin Roosevelt American Legion Post No. 4 in 1919.

From there, Jarvis will go to Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in Cove Neck, where National Park Foundation president Neil Mulholland will donate a notecard Roosevelt wrote to his youngest child, 5-year-old Quentin.

The note is on a card imprinted "Yellowstone Park Wyoming" and includes Roosevelt's sketch of a pack mule. It was penned April 16, 1903, during a presidential visit to the park that lasted several weeks -- a segment of an eight-week western train tour. Theodore Roosevelt covered 14,000 miles through 25 states and two territories, delivering 262 speeches.

"Blessed Quenty-quee," Roosevelt wrote, using his nickname for the child he felt was most like him. "I love you very much. Here is a picture of the mule that carries, among other things, my bag of clothes . . . There are about twenty mules in the pack train. They follow one another in a single file up and down the mountain paths and across the streams."

It is signed, "Your loving father."

The National Park Foundation purchased the card at an auction for $25,000 using funds from a $500,000 endowment provided by the Theodore Roosevelt Association in 1962.

The notecard will join 300 other Quentin Roosevelt artifacts in the Sagamore Hill collection. "In addition to its historical value, the postcard will show visitors, especially children, a personal side of President Roosevelt," Jarvis said.

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