Leonard Wood 1860-1927

Born Winchester, New Hampshire


During the Spanish-American War, military officer Leonard Wood joined with his friend Theodore Roosevelt to found the First Volunteer Calvary Regiment, popularly known as the Rough Riders. Their success in Cuba propelled Roosevelt towards the White House and led Wood to be appointed the provisional governor of Cuba. Ben-Yusuf’s portrait of Wood was taken on the same day that he shipped out to Havana to assume his new post. While Wood ruled with an iron fist, effectively disenfranchising the majority of Cuban citizens, he initiated a number of important projects, including a successful campaign to eradicate the deadly yellow fever epidemic. In 1902 he stepped down from his post, having presided over the adoption of a new constitution and the peaceful turnover of authority. After Cuba, he served a similar position in the Philippines before being selected army chief of staff in 1910.

Platinum print, 1899
Print Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundation