University Archives

Lot 280

Previous image preload Next image preload


TR's Father, Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. Signed Receipt on "American Museum of Natural History" Notepaper; 15-Year-Old Teddy Had Begun His Own Natural History Museum 7 Years Earlier!

This remarkable document relates to the origins of New York City's American Museum of Natural History; as well as to future 26th U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), and his lifelong passion for natural science.

The document is signed by two of the founders of the American Museum of Natural History: Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. (1831-1878), Teddy's father, as "Theodore Roosevelt" at left center; and by Dr. Albert S. Bickmore (1839-1914), as "Correct / Albert S. Bickmore" along the left edge. The partly printed partly written receipt, on a half-sheet of "American Museum of Natural History / Central Park" letterhead, was written in New York City on June 28, 1874. Also signed by an unknown worker or tradesman at lower right. Expected folds and notched at upper right. Loss to lower left corner affects the "A" of "Albert." Light stain along the left edge and mounting traces verso, else very good to near fine. 8.125" x 5.375."

The receipt, no. 131, most likely pertained to some of the very first expenditures related to the construction of the American Museum of Natural History. The cornerstone of the first building of the museum had been laid less than a month earlier, on June 2, 1874.

In part:

"Am. Museum to J.F. Holden Sr. (?)

To amount for services at Museum from June 10th to June 30th inclusive.


Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. helped make the American Museum of Natural History a reality. His sense of philanthropy, as much as his oldest son's obsession with natural science, probably equally motivated the elder Roosevelt to assist in the creation of the museum. The charter of the future museum was drafted in the front parlor of the Roosevelt home in the spring of 1869, just steps away from young Teddy Roosevelt's bedroom, where the precocious tot had formed the "Roosevelt Museum of Natural History" in his bedroom in 1867. The centerpiece of the boy's collection was a harbor seal skull, which was carefully exhibited side by side with 11 other animal specimens which Teddy had caught, killed, and taxidermized. Teddy Roosevelt later donated his childhood collection to the American Museum of Natural History, which his father had helped to establish.

Teddy Roosevelt's interest in biology, ornithology, and natural science was cultivated by his parents, as Teddy gratefully acknowledged in his autobiography "Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography" (1913). Teddy's interest in the natural world continued throughout all the phases of his life, from child to college student, and from South Dakota rancher to president to retired statesman.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


Online Payments Accepted

Accepted Forms of Payment

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


We do our own in-house worldwide shipping!

Applicable shipping and handling charges will be added to the invoice. We offer several shipping options, and remain one of the few auction houses who proudly provides professional in-house shipping as an option to our clients. All items will ship with signature required, and full insurance. Most items are sent via Federal Express, with P. O. Box addresses being sent through USPS. We insure through Berkley Asset Protection with rates of $.70 per $100 of value, among the lowest insurance rates in the industry. Our shipping department cameras document every package, both outgoing and incoming, for maximum security. In addition, we compare our shipping and handling rates against those of other auction houses, to ensure that our charges are among the lowest in the trade.

Upon winning your item(s), you will receive an invoice with our in-house shipping and handling fees included. ***We will ship to the address as it appears on your invoice, unless you inform us otherwise, immediately upon your receipt of invoice***

International shipments: In order to comply with our insurance provider, all international shipments will be sent via Fed Ex and customs paperwork will show a value of $1.00. International buyers should contact our office directly with any questions regarding this policy.

Third Party Shipping Option: If a third party shipper is preferred, the buyer is responsible for contacting them directly to make shipping arrangements. For your convenience, we have provided some recommended shippers. For your protection, we will require a signed release from you, confirming your authorization for us to release your lots to your specified third party Please copy and paste this following link into your browser: http://universityarchives.com/UserFiles/ShippingInfo.pdf. At that point, our responsibility and insurance coverage for your item(s) ceases. Items picked up by third party shippers are required to pay Connecticut sales tax. Items requiring third party shipping due to being oversized, fragile or bulky will be denoted in the item description.

Please see our full terms and conditions for names of suggested third party shippers.

After payment has been made in full, University Archives will ship your purchase within 5 business days following receipt of full payment for item.

Please remember that the buyer is responsible for all shipping costs from University Archives' offices in Westport, CT to the buyer's door. Please see full Terms and Conditions of Sale.

September 30, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

Westport, CT, US

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25.0% and any applicable taxes and shipping

View full terms and conditions

From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000