As told in Crowded Hours: Reminiscences of Alice Roosevelt Longworth
C. Scribner’s Sons; First Edition (1933)
The following text is from Chapters 5 and 6 of Crowded Hours, an autobiography by Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884–1980). In these chapters, Longworth describes her 1905 travels in the Pacific and Asia as part of a diplomatic delegation of American legislators and private individuals, led by then-Secretary of War William Howard Taft (1857–1930). As the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, Alice was often the center of public and press attention; she was also given unparalleled access to political leaders and state functions. Her recollections are extremely valuable to our understanding of America’s early twentieth-century diplomatic engagement with Asia on a personal level.
Alice Roosevelt Longworth Collection of Photographs from the 1905 Taft Mission to Asia, held by the Archives of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. The collection features an extensive photo album by the mission’s official photographer, Burr McIntosh (1862–1942), as well as imperial portraits presented to Alice by the courts of Japan, China, and Korea. All of the photographs were donated to the Freer|Sackler Archives by Alice’s granddaughter Joanna Sturm in 2009.
I have added specific dates and location when known. The travel diaries of Richard Hobart, kindly made available by his daughter Mabel Cabot, were particularly useful in retracing the mission. The extremely thorough Japanese itinerary is from the official records of the Archives of the Imperial Household Agency (宮内公文書館) in Tokyo. Those records were transcribed by Tsutsui Yayoi, who has been an invaluable co-researcher in this project.
Many thanks to the volunteers and interns who helped with the research, organization, transcriptions and photograph identifications.
A more thorough presentation of the imperial portraits presented to Alice Roosevelt can be found in a brief essay titled “Imperial Exposures,” featured on the Google Cultural Institute website.
– David Hogge, head of Archives, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution