Theodore Roosevelt Island: A Most Unusual American Memorial

Theodore Roosevelt

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Discover the surprising history of America’s largest presidential memorial

Theodore Roosevelt Island is the largest presidential memorial. It’s also the least visited. A new documentary, The Man on the Island, tells the story of this most unusual place and how it has affected the memory of one of America’s most popular presidents.

When Theodore Roosevelt died in 1919, memorial committees drafted plans for several monumental tributes. The most controversial was the national memorial at Washington DC. After failing to secure a location on the national mall, the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association purchased Analostan Island, an alluvial island in the Potomac River. In 1932 they donated it to the nation as a memorial. The island underwent many changes, all of which have implications for how Theodore Roosevelt has been remembered. Originally conceived as a conservationist memorial, the island was painstaking groomed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. However, in the 1950s, as the population boomed in the capital, the city’s planners built a roadway over the island.  

Today, most people observe the island from their car as they cross the bridge. It attracts few visitors, despite the island's proximity to the national mall. Few people know the island's place in Washington's history or the way it has influenced Roosevelt's public memory. 

The Man on the Island is a 60 minute documentary which tells the remarkable history of the island as a memorial to Roosevelt. The film will be introduced by Executive Producer Michael Cullinane, who will also take questions from the audience following the screening.

Michael Patrick Cullinane is professor of US History at the University of Roehampton, London. A former Eccles Centre Visiting Fellow, he is the author of Theodore Roosevelt’s Ghost: The History and Memory of an American Icon, which won the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Book Prize.

Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library


Name: Theodore Roosevelt Island: A Most Unusual American Memorial
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £8.00
Senior 60+: £6.00
Student: £5.00
Registered Unemployed: £5.00
Under 18: £5.00
Member Ticket: £8.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546