Friday, July 21, 2006

What the President Is Reading

July 21, 1907
Los Angeles

President Theodore Roosevelt suggests “reading of certain books of pure fiction that have the prime quality of being interesting.”

The Times quotes Roosevelt: “You will learn the root principles of self-help and helpfulness toward others from ‘Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch’ just as much as from the formal treatise on charity, you will learn as much sound social and industrial doctrine from Octave Thanet’s stories of farmers and wageworkers as from avowed sociological and economic studies and I cordially recommend the first chapter of ‘Aunt Jane of Kentucky’ for use as a tract in all families where the men folks tend to selfish or thoughtless or overbearing disregard of the rights of their womenkind.”

More about Octave Thanet (Alice French) here. Was the U.S. president actually recommending that Americans read the works of a lesbian writer? Sure looks that way, doesn’t it?

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