Theodore Roosevelt: 1917 and Now

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Imagine that you were a fifth-grader in 1917, and that you wanted to learn about former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. You go to your school’s brand new set of The World Book Encyclopedia, which was first published that year, for help. As you read the article about Roosevelt, you would have learned many facts about him. However, there are things that the encyclopedia editors could not have known and presented in his biography—because those things had not happened yet!

You would have read how, in 1898, Roosevelt led the cavalry regiment known as the Rough Riders in their charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. But you could not have known that, in 2001, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery during that charge. He is the only U.S. president ever so honored.

You would have read that, in 1901, when Roosevelt became president of the United States, he was the youngest person to hold that office. He was only 43. Although Theodore Roosevelt still holds that distinction, you could not have known that his fifth cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, would later have the distinction of serving as president for 12 years, longer than anyone else.

You may have read with interest—even amusement— a caption that accompanied an illustration of Roosevelt in the 1917 edition, which says of him: “The millions who believe in him call him ‘Teddy.’ His opponents call him many things. His intense activity makes a neutral viewpoint almost impossible.” So, knowing what a controversial figure Roosevelt was during his lifetime, it is unlikely that you—a student in 1917—or an encyclopedia editor of the time could have imagined that years later he would be immortalized with three other presidents—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln—on a famous memorial, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.


Throughout the nearly 100 years of publication of The World Book Encyclopedia many things have changed, but World Book’s dedication to providing timely, reliable, and readable educational and reference materials has not wavered.
Today, World Book remains dedicated to fostering a deep desire to learn in students of all ages. In print and online, World Book content is especially crafted with young readers in mind to help ensure that their commitment to reading is rewarded with easily understandable text that engages and educates.

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