Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth was born on February 12, 1884, in New York City. She was the oldest child of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, and the only child he had with his first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee.
Just two days after Alice was born her mother died. It was a sad day for Theodore Roosevelt since his mother also died the same day. Soon after Roosevelt left New York City and went to North Dakota, leaving his infant daughter in the care of his sister Anna.
Roosevelt spent the next two years away from his daughter, and in 1896 he got married to Edith Kermit Carow with whom he raised Alice in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Alice had five half-siblings, one sister, and four brothers.
Her father became the President of USA in 1901, and as soon as she swept into the White House, she became the center of national attention and a favorite topic for the press. Newspapers dubbed her Princess Alice and millions of American women started naming their babies after her and copied her dress and actions. Songs were written for Alice and her favorite color, a shade of blue-gray became widely popular as “Alice blue.”
The main reason for Alice’s popularity was that she loved to break all rules of society. She was a real eccentric at that time and led a controversial life. She didn’t care what people would say or think about her; she smoked cigarettes publically; rode in cars with men; would often stay out late partying; kept a pet snake named Emily Spinach in the White House; and placed bets with a bookie.
In 1905 her father sent her on a lengthy 1905 cruise to China, Japan, Korea and the Philippines together with 23 congressmen, seven senators, and other diplomats and officials. Roosevelt knew that she would distract the press on the trip from the secret negotiations between USA and Japan and she did.
She was constantly photographing with the Emperor of Japan and the Empress of China. She jumped into the ship’s pool fully clothed and coaxed a Congressman to join her in the water.
Alice married Nicholas Longworth, a Republican member of the US House of Representatives in February 1906. Their wedding was attended by more than a thousand guests. Their marriage was just like her life, controversial and unconventional. Believe it or not, she campaigned against her husband in the 1912 election.
When William Howard Taft became President of the USA, and Alice had to move out of the White House, she buried a Voodoo doll of the new First Lady, Nellie Taft, in the front yard.
During the Great Depression, she wrote a newspaper column and appeared in tobacco advertisements.
In 1955, she broke her hip and in 1956 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After many years of ill health, Alice died on February 20, 1980, at the age of 96. She is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.