Ethel Roosevelt Derby
Daughter of Theodore Roosevelt
Ethel Roosevelt Derby
Ethel Carow Roosevelt Derby was the youngest daughter and fourth child of the President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt. Known as The Queen of Oyster Bay and The First Lady of Oyster Bay by its Long Island residents, Ethel was instrumental in preserving both the legacy of her father as well as the family home, "Sagamore Hill" for future generations, especially after the death of her mother Edith in 1948.
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  • 1977
    Age 85
    In 1977 she made her final visit to the White House to see Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn.
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  • 1960
    Age 68
    In 1960, she along with her daughter Edith, made a seconding speech for the nomination of Richard Nixon at the Republican National Convention.
    More Details Hide Details By 1975, Derby was in visibly weak condition.
  • 1913
    Age 21
    On April 4, 1913, she married Richard Derby, a surgeon.
    More Details Hide Details Mrs. Derby helped his efforts in France during World War I where she served as a nurse in the American Ambulance Hospital. Ethel was the first of T.R.'s children to serve in this "war to end all wars". Ethel's marriage produced four children: All of the children were raised in Oyster Bay, where Ethel was regarded as a church and community leader earning her the nickname "Queen of Oyster Bay". In her later years, Derby devoted more time to the American Civil Rights Movement, a cause she had long been devoted to. She worked on a smaller scale, though no less committed than her first-cousin, Eleanor Roosevelt and believed in solving local problems before working nationally. When she felt Black residents were being discriminated against, Derby formed a committee to bring low-income housing into Oyster Bay. The proposal initially was rebuffed by most of the residents. Ethel had her friends meet at her house where she convinced them that this was a good idea and the housing project was successfully completed. A large number of Blacks continue to reside in these areas Mrs. Derby helped to build.
  • 1908
    Age 16
    Just months before the Roosevelts' departure from the White House, Ethel had her Debut and Coming Out Party in the White House on December 28, 1908.
    More Details Hide Details Ethel was just 17 at the time of her debut, one year shy of the typical age of 18 that most women "came out." The reason for this being the fact that the family was due to leave the White House less than three months following Ethel's debut. This would be last opportunity to do so if Ethel was to "come out" from Pennsylvania Avenue. Ethel's indomitable spirit in the face of tragedy has been chronicled, along with a number of triumphs. During World War I, Ethel, now a nurse, served in France in the same hospital where her husband served as a surgeon. Later, she became involved with the Red Cross, and served as Nassau County Chairman during World War II, and then as Chairman of the Nassau County Nursing Service. Her long involvement, even while traveling, is shown by her correspondence still residing in the Nassau County Red Cross archives. When the Red Cross recently brought her Fifty Year Service Pin to Sagamore Hill, they had to correct themselves—it was not fifty years of service, it was sixty. When it came time to have her portrait painted, she did not choose to wear an evening gown and jewels, she wore her Red Cross uniform.
  • 1901
    Age 9
    In the White House, Ethel often filled in for her mother by placing meal orders and delegating tasks to the staff. She was only 10 years old when her father became President after William McKinley's assassination in 1901.
    More Details Hide Details During her family's years in the White House, Ethel always tried to keep as low a profile possible because she did not seem to enjoy the attention as much as her half-sister Alice Roosevelt did. She was also encouraged to maintain her low-key persona by her mother Edith, who believed that a woman only made the news to announce her birth, marriage and death. Ethel attended school at the National Cathedral and had difficulty making friends due to her father's position.
  • 1891
    Born on August 13, 1891.
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