Teddy Roosevelt Berates Child for Taking His Photo

Here is an interesting article about President Teddy Roosevelt attending church, and then verbally berating a child for trying to take his photograph. Roosevelt was attending church at 15th and O St., for the 11 o’clock service at the Reformed Church (still there). This was his home church, chosen just after his inauguration as Vice President.

The article was published in the Washington Post on September 23rd, 1901, just nine days after President McKinley’s death and Roosevelt’s swearing in as the 26th President of the United States.

A rather unexpected incident occurred just as Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Robinson left the church. A 15-year-old boy anxious to obtain a photograph of the Chief Executive had stationed himself on the sidewalk about 60 feet from the entrance to the church. As soon as Mr. Roosevelt reached the sidewalk he saw the boy with his big box immediately, and, raising his hand in a signal to a bicycle policeman standing near, said: “Stop that! Stop that!”

The officer jumped in front of the camera and the President strode forward almost on a run. Coming up to the boy he shook his finger menacingly at at him and declared: “You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Trying to take a man’s picture as he leaves a house of worship. It’s a disgrace. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”

With Mr. Robinson the President then started across Fifteen street, with head erect and shoulders back. A bicycle officer under instructions previously given him started to follow, but Mr. Roosevelt turned and with an impatient wave of the hand said: “I don’t need you.”

The officer thereupon turned back and the President and Mr. Robinson continued their walk, going in a roundabout way to Captain Cowles’ house. Many persons passed and recognized the President, the latter pleasantly responding to their salutations. Two bicycle policemen, who kept at a respectful distance in the rear, had followed the President when he went to church.

Below is a great old photo we dug up of the church from 1905. Thanks Library of Congress!

- click image for more -
Grace Reformed Church circa 1905
Grace Reformed Church circa 1905

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

Check Also

Orville Wright’s Flight Record at Fort Myer in 1909

On July 27th, 1909, Orville Wright sets the flight duration record at Ft. Myer. The …