The Letterjoy Blog

Remember When Theodore Roosevelt Wrote an Infamous Murderer a Letter?

I was digging around in the archives at the University of Chicago last month when I came across something peculiar: A letter from President Theodore Roosevelt to one "Master Richard Loeb".

If you're familiar with 20th century crime (or you read Letterjoy), you'll recognize Richard Loeb as one half of the duo of Leopold & Loeb, who committed perhaps the worst attempt at a "perfect crime" in history. President Roosevelt had high praise for "Master Richard," still a few years from his infamous prime.

How did this letter come about? Richard was the son of one of the top executives at Sears & Roebuck, and Sears & Roebuck co-owner Julius Rosenwald had sent Roosevelt some writing by 10-yard-old Loeb. Roosevelt wrote that "it does me good to see young men of your stamp growing up in this country".

It's probably good that Roosevelt didn't live to see who Richard grew up to be. This letter was too short to fit into our 1920s trials theme, but it's a gem, so I recommend you peruse it below.

If you want an incredibly detailed (maybe too detailed) account of Loeb's crime and trial, read Simon Baatz's "For The Thrill Of It".

Julius Rosenwald copy of Theodore Roosevelt letter to Richard Loeb

(By the way, this letter was in Rosenwald's scrapbooks, which were probably the coolest scrapbooks I've ever seen. If you want to make interesting scrapbooks, it helps to be one of the richest men in America).