title: Theodore Roosevelt: Icon of the American Century

The First bull Elephant

Three weeks after Theodore Roosevelt left the White House in March 1909, he embarked with his son, Kermit, upon an African safari, lasting nearly a year. He had always wanted to hunt the big game of Africa, but he also wanted his expedition to be as scientific as possible. With this in mind, he invited the Smithsonian Institution to take part, and promised to give the Institution significant animal trophies, representing dozens of new species for its collections. Roosevelt himself made extensive scientific notes about his African expedition. For instance, he was keenly interested in the flora of Africa, and recorded the dietary habits of the animals he killed after examining the contents of their stomachs.

While on safari, Roosevelt wrote extensively about his African adventure. Scribner's magazine was paying him $50,000 for a series of articles, that appeared in 1910 as a book, African Game Trails. This photograph of Roosevelt with a bull elephant was used as an illustration.

The First Bull Elephant
R. J. Cunninghame (lifedates unknown) / photograph, 1909
Edmund Heller Papers, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C.


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