Tadd Roosevelt

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Tadd Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt, James R. Roosevelt, Jr, and Helen R. Roosevelt in Bicester, England - NARA - 196561.jpg
Tadd (middle) in Bicester, England with sister Helen (right) and uncle Franklin (left) in January 1889
James Roosevelt Roosevelt Jr.

(1879-08-20)August 20, 1879
DiedJune 7, 1958(1958-06-07) (aged 78)
New York City, New York, U.S.
EducationGroton School
Alma materHarvard University
Parent(s)James Roosevelt Roosevelt
Helen Schermerhorn Astor
RelativesSee Astor family and Roosevelt family

James Roosevelt "Tadd" Roosevelt Jr. (August 20, 1879 – June 7, 1958) was an American heir and automobile worker.

Early life[edit]

James Roosevelt Roosevelt Jr. was born on August 20, 1879. He was the son of diplomat James Roosevelt "Rosey" Roosevelt (1854–1927) of the Roosevelt family and Helen Schermerhorn (née Astor) Roosevelt (1855–1893) of the Astor family. He had one sister, Helen Rebecca Roosevelt (1881–1962).

Among his large and prominent family were uncles Franklin Delano Roosevelt (who was actually three years younger than Tadd), who later became President of the United States, and Colonel John Jacob "Jack" Astor IV, who died during the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Tadd's paternal grandparents were businessman James Roosevelt I and Rebecca Brien (née Howland) Roosevelt , while his maternal grandparents were businessman William Backhouse Astor Jr. and socialite Caroline (née Schermerhorn) Astor, who was known as the "Mrs. Astor".

He and Franklin both attended Groton School and Harvard University, with Tadd being ahead of Franklin. Their kinship led to Franklin often being mockingly referred to as "Uncle Frank" while the two attended Groton together.[1]


Upon his mother's death in 1893, Tadd inherited $1,500,000 (equivalent to approximately $42,683,333 in 2019 dollars).[2]

Personal life[edit]

On June 14, 1900, while still a student at Harvard, Roosevelt married a Hungarian-born working class woman, Sadie Messinger (c. 1880–1940) (said by some to be a prostitute, though this has been disputed). Tadd's father Rosey, upon learning of the wedding, came down from Hyde Park and brought Tadd home.[3] Their union sparked controversy, and Rosey ended up disowning Tadd.[4]

In 1907, Tadd was arrested for speeding on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn.[5] In February 1917, Tadd was again arrested in Florida and required to stay in Florida pending a divorce suit. He had lived in Daytona under the name "M. S. King" with another woman. The Roosevelt family had reportedly opposed the marriage to Sadie and had prevailed in achieving a separation, in which Sadie was to receive a $10,000 (equivalent to $199,558 in 2019 dollars) annual income.[6] A court soon granted $625 (equivalent to $12,472 in 2019 dollars) per month alimony to Sadie, pending settlement of the divorce. At the time, Tadd was reported to be the Floridian paying the highest income taxes, having a $12,000,000 fortune (equivalent to $239,470,130 in 2019 dollars).[7]

By October 1921, Tadd and Sadie were reportedly no longer living together.[8] However, they remained married until her death. They never had children.[9]


Roosevelt died in Manhattan on June 7, 1958.[10] A recluse in his later years, his fortune was donated to the Salvation Army.[1]


  1. ^ a b Cook, Blanche Wiesen (1993). Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 1: The Early Years, 1884–1933. Penguin. p. 162. ISBN 9781101567463. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Court Disposes of an Astor Fund.; Provisions as to It in Mrs. Roosevelt's Will Held to be Inoperative" (PDF). The New York Times. 25 May 1894. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  3. ^ "BOY MILLIONAIRE WEDS | James R. Roosevelt Jr.'s Step Without His Father's Consent | Ceremony Was Performed by an Alderman at the City Hall—Taken Home by His Parent" (PDF). New York Times. October 19, 1900.
  4. ^ Groom, Winston (2018). The Allies: Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and the Unlikely Alliance That Won World War II. National Geographic Books. p. 111. ISBN 9781426219665. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  5. ^ "J.R. ROOSEVELT ARRESTED. Youth Who Says He Is President's Nephew Held for Auto Speeding" (PDF). The New York Times. November 11, 1907. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  6. ^ "J.R. Roosevelt Arrested; Put Under $50,000 Bond to Stay in Florida Pending Divorce Suit" (PDF). New York Times. February 24, 1917.
  7. ^ "J.R. Roosevelt Must Pay; Court Grants $625 a Month to Wife Pending Settlement of Suit" (PDF). New York Times. March 3, 1917.
  8. ^ "Mrs. J.R. Roosevelt Jr. Accused of Slander; Mrs. Schultz of Lynbrook, L.I., Itemizes Four Occasions and Sues for $40,000" (PDF). New York Times. October 1, 1921.
  9. ^ Birmingham, Stephen (2016). America's Secret Aristocracy. Open Road Media. p. 155. ISBN 9781504041072. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Roosevelt Genealogy". www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu. Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved 23 February 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Moffat, R. Burnham The Barclays of New york: who they are and who they are not,-and some other Barclays (1904)
  • Black, Conrad Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom (2005)
  • Panchyk, Richard Franklin Delano Roosevelt for Kids: His Life and Times with 21 Activities (2007)

External links[edit]