in portraying Roosevelt "grinning toothily," according to the historian Edmund Morris, the author of several books on Roosevelt. Examples of other descriptive phrases recited in Morris' book Colonel Roosevelt include "white tile grin," "click of his teeth," "tooth-snapping vigor," and "highly specialized smile" -- the latter being "disarming," according to Morris. Julian Street, a reporter for Collier's magazine wrote that Roosevelt "[charmingly] showed his hard white teeth" when Street first met the former president. Sonya Levien, an editor at Metropolitan magazine who worked with TR, claimed his smile was "an arc of light" that had a "magnetic sparkle."

'Grief-stricken beyond despair'

Roosevelt was born in New York City in 1858. As a youth, he suffered from severe asthma and diarrhea. His doctors did not expect him to live beyond the age of 3. At the time, common therapeutic agents and antibiotics of our era had not been developed. His doctors described him as having "skinny legs, eager blue eyes, sandy hair, and protruding teeth." His father often "walked the floor with him to try to help him breathe," Robert Kimberly of the Theodore Roosevelt Association wrote. His father encouraged him to build his body using weights, boxing, and spending considerable time outdoors in the fresh air. Eventually, according to Kimberly, he overcame "his infirmities and [became] the rugged outdoorsman we know."

Roosevelt attended Harvard College, graduating magna cum laude in 1880. Because of his asthma and a bout with cholera, doctors there advised him to "lead [a] sedentary, scholarly life because of [his] heart weakness." At Harvard, he studied zoology and was a champion collegiate boxer. He had a photographic memory and while a student at Harvard published articles on ornithology (the study of birds).

Roosevelt married Alice Lee in 1880. Shortly after his graduation, he published The Naval War of 1812, which established him as a major historian. The scholarly study continues to "influence all subsequent scholarship on the naval aspects of the war," according to Michael Crawford, a current expert on Roosevelt.

In 1881, a year after graduating from Harvard, he was elected to the New York State Assembly. Two years later, on Valentine's Day, his mother died of typhoid fever; 11 hours later his wife died of kidney failure. She had given birth to their first child, Alice, two days earlier.

Grief-stricken beyond despair, the 26-year-old Roosevelt quit the Legislature, placed his daughter in the care of his sister, and moved to the Dakota badlands, where he spent the next two years developing ranching properties in North Dakota. At the same time, he published three books on ranching and hunting, along with writing numerous articles about frontier life for Eastern magazines.

During his lifetime, the scholarly Roosevelt would author 35 books, thousands of articles, and more than 150,000 letters. Throughout his adult life, he was the ultimate multitasker, capable of reading a book and dictating a letter to a stenographer and a memo to a secretary all at the same time. He was a speed reader who read a book every day before breakfast and, time permitting, two or three more in the evening after a full day of work. According to one report, "by his own estimates, TR read tens of thousands of books during his lifetime, including hundreds in foreign languages." He was multilingual with a command of French, German, and Italian. He also mastered Classical Greek and Latin. In 1886, he married his second wife Edith Callow, a childhood sweetheart. Together the couple had five children.

Roosevelt's organizational achievements were Herculean. He was instrumental in the founding of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and served as president of the American Historical Association. He was an ardent naturalist and conservationist who spearheaded legislation establishing the U.S. Forest Service and setting aside more than 230 million acres of national parkland, monuments (including the Grand Canyon), bird sanctuaries, and game reserves. During his lifetime, he was considered the world's
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'Toothsome Rex': The president with the winning smile
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