Digital Repository

Alice Roosevelt Longworth, ca. 1902

President Theodore Roosevelt’s first wife died shortly after the birth of their only child, Alice. Roosevelt remarried and raised other children, but “Princess Alice” became a controversial figure during his presidency. She lived in the White House during her early twenties, inciting scandals for smoking cigarettes, driving cars, and keeping a pet snake named Emily Spinach. When confronted with the suggestion that he curb Alice’s excesses, President Roosevelt responded, "I can be president of the United States—or—I can attend to Alice. I cannot possibly do both!”

Mrs. Alice (Roosevelt) Longworth, full-length portrait, facing left; wearing ball gown, ca. 1902. Copyright by Frances Benjamin Johnston. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.