The untold story of the illegitimate Roosevelt son and the family’s scheme to keep him hidden reveals the secret pain that was carried by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt all her life, as well as the fact that the successful management of political sex scandals is hardly a 21st century accomplishment. In previous accounts, Theodore Roosevelt’s actions in 1891—1894, when he did his best to commit his brother to an asylum, even if that meant splitting up Elliott’s family, have been presented as noble and inevitable. I take a different view.
—William J. Mann
Theodore Roosevelt wanted to be president more than anything. As a young man serving on the Civil Service Commission in 1891, he would often walk past the White House on his way home and his “heart would beat a little faster,” he admitted. He was in a hurry to get ahead. Still smarting over losing the New York mayoral race two years earlier, the thirty-two-year-old Republican loyalist didn’t want to be some gray-bearded codger when he finally grabbed the brass ring. He didn’t want to be President Benjamin Harrison, “the little gray man in the White House,” as Theodore called him. He wanted to make his move now.