Discover the amazing life of America’s 26th President, Teddy Roosevelt!

Published on March 20, 2024

Credit: Brandon Mowinkel

In 2016, a fake photo of Teddy Roosevelt riding a moose through a lake completely baffled the internet. While the photo was certainly weird, what was so confusing about it was that the one U.S. president we could have expected to ride a wild animal with ease was Theodore Roosevelt. Besides, wasn’t he known as the "Bull Moose" candidate in 1912?

While the moose photo was definitely photoshopped, few American presidents have amassed as many fun and quirky anecdotes as Teddy Roosevelt. We have decided to pay tribute to our 26th president with a small biography that showcases ten moments that show both his fun side, as well as his unbreakable work ethic. Like Teddy Roosevelt once said: "When you play, play hard; when you work, don't play at all."


A fighter’s spirit

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We’ll start at the very beginning, in President Roosevelt’s childhood. Born on October 27, 1858, young Teddy was completely different from the image of toughness and resilience his future self would give: he was a frail kid, often troubled by asthma and illness. He was, however, an avid outdoors fan, and would often test the limits of his physical strength outside.

According to a popular myth, President Roosevelt cured his asthma by enduring vigorous exercise. While this isn’t completely true, since he suffered a few asthmatic episodes as an adult, Teddy did go through an intense routine in his teenage years, becoming proficient in boxing, judo, and weightlifting.


College days

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By the fall of 1876, a 17-year-old Teddy started attending Harvard University , where he showed a particular interest in biology, science, and rhetoric. He also participated in rowing and boxing and became an editor for The Harvard Advocate , the university’s art and literary magazine.

If the numerous anecdotes about his time in Harvard are to be believed, Teddy was an energetic and boisterous debater, often striking his hand into his palm to highlight a point. He was also a member of the Porcellian Club, one of the country’s most prestigious final clubs.



Credit: Jed Owen

In 1883, while hunting bison in the Dakotas, Teddy became intrigued with the idea of becoming a rancher, since cattle ranching was becoming a booming industry in the territory. He invested $14,000 (over $400,000 by today’s standards), and spent the following years traveling between New York and his ranch in North Dakota, which he named "Elkhorn Ranch".

During his time in North Dakota, Roosevelt published three books on frontier life and helped organize ranchers to address shared issues. The site on which Elkhorn Ranch is still standing, and is a protected unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.


1886’s "Miami Vice"

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During his time in North Dakota, Roosevelt didn’t settle with just being a rancher: In 1886, he became a deputy sheriff in Billings County. It was during this time that one of the most action-packed anecdotes of his life took place: the time he helped chase down a gang of boat thieves.

After his beloved boat was stolen, Roosevelt enlisted two of his ranch hands and trailed these thieves through the freezing waters of the Little Missouri River. After three days of bravely coursing through the icy and treacherous river, Roosevelt's group tracked down the thieves and apprehended them. Victorious, Teddy spent the long way back home reading Leon Toltoi’s classic novel "Anna Karenina."


The youngest president for 123 years (and counting)

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We are now entering the period that separates young Teddy from President Roosevelt. However, we can still consider these his juvenile years: After all, Teddy is the youngest president in U.S. history.

After William McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Vice President Roosevelt became the 26th American president, at 42 years of age. While Presidents Kennedy and Clinton were pretty close at taking the title (Kennedy was 43 when he was sworn in, and Clinton was 46), Teddy still remains America’s youngest president (for now, at least).


Go long, Mr. President!

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In 1905, President Roosevelt summoned representatives from Harvard, Columbia, and Yale universities to take on a challenge in sports: the increasing number of injuries and deaths in football. Approximately 45 players died between 1900 and 1905 as a result of collisions, so naturally, Teddy sought to make this beloved sport of his safer.

The changes that Roosevelt added to football include making first down at 10 yards instead of 5, adding a forward pass that would add distance between players, and authorizing a neutral zone between defense and offense. While football is still far from completely safe, these reforms helped reduce the number of casualties and serious injuries.


Those beloved Teddy bears…

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Did you have a favorite teddy bear as a child? A little huggable companion called "Buttons" or "Snickerdoodle"? Well, you might be surprised to know that, no matter what you called that fuzzy friend, the name "Teddy Bear" itself pays homage to Teddy Roosevelt.

In 1902, President Roosevelt was invited by Mississippi Governor Andrew H. Longino to a hunting trip on "the Magnolia State.'' Since Teddy hadn’t been able to hunt any animal, a group of hunters on the group cornered and tied a black bear to a tree for him to shoot. However, President Roosevelt refused, since he considered it unsportsmanlike. After this anecdote was featured in a Washington Post cartoon, it sparked so much national interest that a Brooklyn-based businessman designed a toy bear and placed him on the window of his shop with the caption "Teddy’s Bear."


An aggressive debate

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They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but thanks to this story, we at least know that words are sturdy enough to stop a bullet. In 1912, Teddy Roosevelt was giving a speech in Milwaukee when he suffered an assassination attempt by a man named John Schrank. The would-be assassin shot at the former president, but luckily the bullet was stopped by a stack of papers that contained Roosevelt’s speech.

Determined to prove his "Bull Moose" endurance, Teddy announced to a shocked crowd that he had been shot, only to continue immediately after with his speech. He continued to speak for approximately 90 minutes before finally allowing his staff to take him to a hospital. Roosevelt survived the attempt without any serious injuries, except for the bullet lodged in his ribs that stayed there until his death.



Credit: Arnor Ingi Juliusson

In 1914, Teddy Roosevelt met the world’s most famous illusionist aboard the SS Imperator. Houdini was returning from a tour through the United Kingdom, while the former president was returning from a European trip that culminated in his son Kermit’s wedding in Madrid. This odd couple became friends quickly and exercised together every morning.

When Houdini was asked by an officer to perform an impromptu show , the illusionist performed a séance on which he correctly conjectured that Roosevelt had recently been on a trip through Brazil. A flabbergasted Teddy (who didn’t know that Houdini already knew that he would be on the ship) then allegedly asked the magician if he dealt with the dark arts.


Oh, The Places You'll Go!

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We’ll end this article with another time in which President Roosevelt met a famous person, although at a time at which he hadn’t gained notoriety yet. In 1918, a young Theodor Geisel, later known as Dr. Seuss , sold war bonds as part of his Boy Scouts troop. Theodor became one of Springfield’s top bond salesmen, so he was recognized alongside other scouts with an award given by former President Roosevelt.

However, at the ceremony, Teddy accidentally received only nine medals for the ten recipients, and, as luck would have it, young Dr. Seuss was the only one without a medal. Since Roosevelt thought that only nine children had been commended, when Theodor crossed the stage the president asked "What’s this kid doing here?" According to the beloved author, this event was the reason he developed a phobia of speaking in front of large crowds.


Demystify The Origins Of These 12 Musical Terms!

Published on March 20, 2024

Credit: Sarah Dao

As with any other complex art or science, music generates its own lexicon, full of technical terms that describe the speed, the color, the intention, and a million more things that make music what it is.

Delving into the origins and meanings of terms like legato, opus, baritone , and more, reveals a fascinating journey through time and across continents. These terms, often rooted in ancient languages or musical traditions, carry narratives that unveil the intricate layers of musical expression.



Credit: Stefany Andrade

One of a handful of words in this list that is much heard within the classical music realm, allegro originates from the Italian language. It serves as a dynamic descriptor for a brisk and lively tempo.

Derived from the Latin word alacer , meaning lively or quick, allegro encapsulates the essence of energetic movement within musical compositions. Often indicated at the beginning of a piece or a specific section, it instructs performers to approach the music in a lively and swift manner.


A capella

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Another term rooted in Italian , a cappella embodies a musical style where vocal harmonies take center stage without instrumental accompaniment. Its origins trace back to the Italian phrase alla cappella translating to "in the style of the chapel".

This term emerged during the Renaissance era when vocal music, predominantly sacred, was performed in chapels without instrumental support. Nowadays, this style transcends genres, embracing everything from classical compositions to contemporary pop arrangements.



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Italians have done a lot for music and it shows in the lexicon. The Italian term arpeggio comes from arpeggiare, meaning "to play on a harp". It describes a musical technique where notes within a chord are played sequentially rather than simultaneously.

Originating from the harp's characteristic practice of sounding individual strings in succession to create a chord, the term extends beyond harp music to serve various instruments and genres. It involves the fluid and distinct articulation of each note within a chord, producing a cascading effect that adds depth, resonance, and a sense of harmonic richness to musical passages.



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Let us leave Italians aside—only for a moment—and focus here on a Greek word instead: canon originates from kanōn, meaning "rule" or "law." It defines a compositional technique where a melody or musical line is imitated and repeated by different voices or instruments with precise temporal offsets.

This technique, prevalent in Western classical music, establishes a strict structure wherein subsequent voices echo the initial theme in a contrapuntal manner, creating layers of interwoven melodies. The most famous example of this structure is Johann Pachelbel’s famous "Canon in D".



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The term coda, stemming from the Italian word for "tail," serves as a musical element used to express the conclusion of a piece. Originating in the Baroque period, the coda is a passage where themes culminate, offering a sense of resolution to a composition.

Working as a musical punctuation, the coda provides a conclusive endpoint, whether it's a delicate fade-out or a powerful, emphatic finale.



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The Italian term crescendo means "growing". It is used to represent a gradual increase in volume, intensity, or force within a musical passage. Also originating from the Baroque era, this dynamic marking instructs musicians to amplify the sound progressively.

The crescendo indicates performers to elevate the volume gradually from a softer to a louder dynamic level. It serves as a powerful tool for shaping musical phrases, building climactic moments, and infusing compositions with a sense of anticipation, leading to a peak before resolving into subsequent musical expressions.



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The word tempo is derived from the Latin word for "time" and it serves as a foundational element in music, defining the speed or pace at which a piece is performed. Marked at the beginning of a musical score with terms like the previously mentioned allegro (fast), adagio (slow), or using metronome markings, tempo guides performers in maintaining a consistent beat throughout a piece.

To put it more simply, tempo is the heartbeat of music, influencing mood, energy, and emotional depth, allowing for a diverse range of interpretations and enhancing the expressive nature of musical performances.



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Derived from the Italian word for "texture" or "weaving,", tessitura refers to the predominant range or pitch zone within which a musical piece or a specific vocal part lies. Originating from the realm of opera, this term describes not only the average range but also the most frequently used or comfortable notes for a voice or instrument throughout a composition.

For singers, understanding the tessitura is crucial as it dictates the ease or difficulty of vocal execution within a piece. Composers and arrangers consider tessitura when crafting melodies or instrumental parts, ensuring a comfortable and expressive range while shaping the overall texture and emotional depth of the music.



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One thing Johnny Cash, David Bowie, and Elvis Presley have in common: Their voice type. A baritone, stemming from the Italian word baritono, denotes a male voice type with a range lying between the bass and tenor voices.

Originating from the world of opera, the baritone voice possesses a rich and versatile quality, capable of delivering both lower, resonant notes and higher, more lyrical tones. With a tessitura typically situated between the bass's depth and the tenor's height, baritones often portray a wide array of characters on stage, embodying heroes, villains, or nuanced roles within operatic performances.



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A word that brings to mind big stages and imposing men with grandiose voices, tenor originated from the Latin word tenere meaning, "to hold." The word describes a male voice type characterized by its range, typically lying between the countertenor and baritone. Think of Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, or Enrico Caruso but also pop voices like Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, or Phil Collins.

Known for its versatility and lyrical qualities, the tenor voice often takes on leading roles in operas, choral works, and various other musical genres as well. With a range capable of reaching both high and moderately low notes, the tenor voice embodies a blend of strength, clarity, and emotive power.



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A German term combined from the words leit, meaning "leading," and motif, meaning "motive" , leitmotif refers to a recurring musical theme or motif associated with a particular character, place, idea, or emotion in a musical composition.

Originating from the operas of Richard Wagner during the Romantic era, this technique involves the use of distinct musical phrases or themes to represent specific elements within a larger work. Each leitmotif carries symbolic significance, serving as a musical identifier that recurs throughout the composition, providing continuity and depth to the narrative.



Credit: Lucia Macedo

We end this list with one more Italian contribution to the world of music: the word legato , meaning "tied together", represents a musical technique characterized by smooth and connected notes.

Originating from the Baroque and Classical periods, this technique instructs musicians to play or sing successive notes in a flowing and seamless manner, avoiding abrupt breaks or silences between them. Marked by a curved line connecting the notes, legato allows for a continuous and lyrical expression, creating a sense of fluidity and unity within a musical phrase.

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