“I would have run for office. If I were very young I would try to get over the shyness of speaking in public. I still have it. I shuddered with terror when people tried to make me get up and speak. It was just false pride I suppose. But I’m really very shy.”
Alice Roosevelt was the daughter of Teddy Roosevelt. And Alice was known as a rule breaker. In an era when women were under great pressure to conform, conform she did not.
She smoked in public, chewed gum, wore pants, raced her own car too fast down D.C. streets, sometimes with male passengers and always unchaperoned, placed bets on horses (a news photographer snapped her collecting her winnings from a bookie).
All these antics played out in the press, as she was the child of a President. Her father was furious. But there was little he could.
Alice had lost her mother two days after birth. And while she had a stepmother, Alice complained often that she felt like the family’s stepchild; that she longed for attention from her father and, when she didn’t get it, acted out to force him to pay her heed.
Her father would remark as President, “I can either run the country or I can attend to Alice, but I cannot possibly do both.”