The Alice Roosevelt Longworth Collection of Photographs from the 1905 Taft Mission to Asia

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At A Glance

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  • Creator

    Longworth, Alice Roosevelt, 1884-1980
  • Dates

  • Physical Description

    1 Album (42 leaves, unbound, 38 x 52 cm.)
  • Collection ID


  • Scope and Contents

    A collection of photographs and photographic albums obtained by Alice Roosevelt, daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, when she accompanied the Taft Mission to Asia in the summer of 1905. The collection contains 1.) One album of 8 leaves, embroidered cloth-covered boards with gilt edges and silk endpapers, 36 x 48 cm., containing 16 photographs of Alice Roosevelt during her stop in San Francisco, and on the passenger ship Manchuria, with the inscription "To Miss Alice Roosevelt: This Album of Photographs Taken by its Artists Is Presented by the San Francisco Call As a Souvenir of Her vist to the Philippines 1905." on the inside cover is an oil painted scene of a ship leaving San Francisco painted by the California artist Frederick John Behre (1863-1942); 2.) one album of 42 leaves, unbound, 38 x 52 cm., containing photographs of the Mission by American photographer Burr McIntosh, with the inscription "To Alice Lee Roosevelt in sincere admiration and appreciation of her generosity to the 'official photographer.' -- Burr McIntosh"; 3.) one album of 8 leaves, cloth-covered with gilt edges, 28 x 37 cm., containing photographs of a reception at Korakuen in Tokyo; 4.) one photographic portrait of the Empress Dowager Cixi, image 23 x 17 cm. in a 40 x 31 cm. frame; 5.) two signed photographic portraits, one each of the Meiji Emperor and Empress, images 28 x 21 cm. in elaborately carved frames, 44 x 34 cm.; 6.) two signed photographic portraits, one each of Emperor Gojong and Crown Prince Sunjong of Korea, images 27 x 22 cm. in 45 x 38 cm. frames; 7.) one photographic portrait of Japanese Foreign Minister Nagasaki Shōgo, by the Maruki Studio, Tokyo, 14 x 6 cm. in a 23 x 13 cm. frame, inscribed "Hon. Taft with sincere regards from his friend" above the image and signed "Michinori S. Nagasaki" below; 8.) Small matted print of American and Japanese audiences watching a Sumo demonstration at Korakuen in Tokyo, 6.8 x 16.3 cm., mounted on a board 22 x 31.5 cm; 9.) one loose photographic print of Alice Roosevelt and William H. Taft on the deck of the Manchuria, 26 x 18 cm.; 10.) one album of photographs of Nikko by the Hoshino studio in Nikko, with elaborately embroidered dragon cover, 27 x 38 cm.; 11.) accordian album of woodblock prints and descriptions of the whaling industry in Ikitsukishima in Nagasaki province, dated 1829, 23 x 34 cm.; 12.) album of various 19th century Japanese woodblock prints, 37 x 25.5 cm.; 13.) 73 picture postcards from the Kobe Picture Postcard Club, many handmade, addressed to President Roosevelt in appreciation of his efforts to obtain a peace treaty between Japan and Russia.
  • Biographical / Historical

    Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth, eldest child of President Theodore Roosevelt, was a writer, activist, and socialite, known for her exploits and willingness to flout convention. Her father once said that, "I can be President of the United States, or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both." She was born on February 12th, 1884 in New York City, and was the only child of Theodore Roosevelt and Alice Hathaway Lee. Her mother died two days after her birth. Alice's life changed dramatically when her father became the 26th president of the United States in 1901 upon President William McKinley's assassination. She entered Washington society the following January at her debutante ball, launching her career as an important political mover and a celebrity. During her father's presidency, she hosted large events for him, acted as a stand-in at events he could not attend, and went on various diplomatic trips at his behest, cementing her place among the Washington political elite.

    On February 17, 1906, she married Congressman Nicholas Longworth (1869-1931), a Republican from Ohio, and moved her base of influence from the White House to her husband's home. She had one daughter in 1925 named Pauline. After her daughter's death from an overdose of sleeping pills in 1957, Alice gained custody of her granddaughter, Joanna and raised her. Alice Longworth campaigned frequently for Republican Party candidates and wrote regular political columns, but she supported the Democratic Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Throughout her life, Alice Longworth was known both for her caustic wit as well as her convivial dinner parties, two traits that gave her lasting influence and in later years earned her the title, "the other Washington Monument." She died two weeks after her 96th birthday on February 20, 1980.

    Alice was a member of one of the first and largest U.S. foreign diplomatic delegations to Asia. It embarked from San Francisco on July 8, 1905 for a three-month tour, stopping in Japan, the Philippines, and China. The delegation, under the leadership of then-Secretary of War William Howard Taft, also included congressmen, senators, and a group of other civilians. Alice's future husband, Nicholas Longworth, was one of the congressmen with the delegation and their engagement was declared shortly after their return. On this trip, Alice met with the Meiji Emperor of Japan, the Philippine Sultan of Sulu, and the Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi. Multiple photographs of her, other members of the delegation, and those they met with, were taken during the journey. Alice also collection albums, prints and postcards of local cities on her journey.
  • Local Numbers

    FSA A2009.02
  • Collector

    Longworth, Alice Roosevelt, 1884-1980
  • Creator

    McIntosh, Burr, 1862-1942
  • Names

    Behre, Fred J., 1866-1941
    Cixi, Empress dowager of China, 1835-1908
    Kojong, King of Korea, 1852-1919
    Longworth, Alice Roosevelt, 1884-1980
    Meiji, Emperor of Japan, 1852-1912
    Sunjong, King of Korea, 1874-1926
    Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930
  • Place

    Beijing (China)
    Tokyo (Japan)
    Hong Kong
  • Topic

  • See more items in

    The Alice Roosevelt Longworth Collection of Photographs from the 1905 Taft Mission to Asia
  • Custodial History

    Former collection of Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884-1980). Gift of Joanna Sturm, granddaughter of Alice Roosevelt Longworth, 2009.
  • Archival Repository

    Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
  • Type

    Collection descriptions
    Archival materials
    Photographic prints
    Photograph albums
  • Citation

    The Alice Roosevelt Longworth Collection of Photographs from the 1905 Taft Mission to Asia, FSA A2009.02. National Museum of Asian Art Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
  • Rights

    Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
  • Genre/Form

    Photographic prints
    Photograph albums
    Photographs -- 1900-1910
  • Restrictions

    Collection is open for research.
  • Related Materials

    Alice Roosevelt Longworth Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Repository Contact

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
National Museum of Asian Art Archives
Washington, D.C. 20013