There are over 4,000 references to books in the Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library(TRDL). A known voracious reader, Roosevelt often devoured a book per day, and was the author of many books himself. Using Roosevelt’s own words and references, a database was started to track what he read to see what could be gleaned from the information, from the quantity and variety of books, to how his reading was influenced by current events or vice versa.
The end result is The Well Read President, a visual timeline and virtual bookshelf of a selection of what Roosevelt read during his first term as president, from 1901-1904. The timeline illuminates not only how books affected Roosevelt’s diplomacy and decisions as president during that time period, but also how reading defined his relationships with his family and friends. The timeline groups books into themes: what he was reading as a father, a president, a curious intellectual, a historian, and an outdoorsman. Each book on the timeline connects to the letter in the digital library that mentioned the book, as well as to a digital copy of the book in Archive.org, often the same edition Roosevelt read.