Theodore Roosevelt: The Pronounciation

Odds & Ends
The proper pronounciation of Roosevelt's last name rhymes the first syllable with "rose." SEE BELOW The family name came from ancestor Claes Martensen, who changed his name to Claes van Rosevelt (meaning: "from the world of roses") upon coming to America in 1650 1a.
For more than 100 years there has been confusion over the proper pronounciation of "Roosevelt."

One of Theodore Roosevelt's great-grandchildren wrote Dr. Zebra in no uncertain terms that the desired pronounciation rhymes the first syllable with "rose." He wrote:

If further proof is necessary there was a wonderful exchange of letters in the New York Sun in 1903 between Richard E. Mayne (Chairman, Department of Reading and Speech Culture, NY State Teachers Association) and Robert B. Roosevelt, uncle of Theodore. (TR asked him to answer the Professor's letter, believing correctly in was improper for him as President to attack a private citizen.) After a short introduction R.B. Roosevelt declares "It is rather a dangerous proceeding to assume that a man does not know how to pronounce his own name" and goes on with great fun from there. ... It has been published in the TRA Journal [TRA = Theodore Roosevelt Association] several times, most recently I believe in 1990 (Vol. XVI, no 2, pp 84-5).
[Received Feb. 17, 2006; lightly edited]
Different views do exist. According to one, only Franklin Roosevelt's side of the family pronounced it as in "rose," while Theodore Roosevelt's side pronounced as in "roof" 2a.

Dr. Zebra has been unable to locate a copy of the TRA Journal, but has been converted to the Robert Roosevelt view!

Cited Sources
  1. Parks, Lillian Rogers. My Thirty Years Backstairs at the White House. New York: Fleet Publishing, 1961.
    a  p.277

    Comment: This book stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for 26 weeks, prompting Jacqueline Kennedy to require all staff at the White House to sign a pledge agreeing not to write about their experiences (NY Times, page B8, Nov. 12, 1997). Parks's mother, a maid at the White House from 1909-1939, had actually been encouraged by Eleanor Roosevelt to write and publish a memoir (p260).

  2. Gary, Ralph. Following Lincoln's Footsteps. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2001.
    a  p.457

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