A Most Glorious Ride

The Diaries of Theodore Roosevelt, 1877-1886

Edited by Edward P. Kohn

Subjects: American History, Biography
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Hardcover : 9781438455136, 322 pages, April 2015
Paperback : 9781438455143, 322 pages, July 2020

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

Preface: Theodore Roosevelt as Diarist
Introduction: Theodore Roosevelt’s Life until 1877
Harvard: Volume I (1877)
Diary Entries
“Trust in the Lord, and Do Good”: Volume II (1878)
Diary Entries
Chestnut Hill: Volume III (1879)
Diary Entries
Married: Volume IV (1880)
Diary Entries
photo gallery follows pages 176
Politics: Volume V (1881)
Diary Entries
Albany: Volume VI (1882)
Diary Entries
1882 Legislative Diary: Diary of Five Months in the New York Legislature
Albany and “Dakotah”: Volume VII
Diary Entries
“The light has gone out of my life”: Volume VIII (1884)
February 14 Entry (Image)
Diary Entries
“E. K. C.”: Volume IX
Diary Entries
Conclusion: Theodore Roosevelt’s Life after 1886
Glossary of Latin Names of Wildlife Observed and Collected by Theodore Roosevelt
Works Consulted

Encompasses key years and important events in Theodore Roosevelt’s early life and career.


Finalist for the 2015 ForeWord INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award in the History Category

A Most Glorious Ride presents the complete diaries of Theodore Roosevelt from 1877 to 1886. Covering the formative years of his life, Roosevelt's entries show the transformation of a sickly and solitary Harvard freshman into a confident and increasingly robust young adult. He writes about his grief over the premature death of his father, his courtship and marriage to his first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee, and later the death of Alice and his mother on the same day. The diaries chronicle his burgeoning political career in New York City and his election to the New York State Assembly. With his descriptions of balls, dinner parties, and nights at the opera, they offer a glimpse into life among the Gilded Age elite in Boston and New York. They also recount Roosevelt's first birding and hunting trips to the Adirondacks, the Maine woods, and the American West. Ending with Roosevelt's secret engagement to his second wife, Edith Kermit Carow, A Most Glorious Ride provides an intimate look into the life of the man who would become America's twenty-sixth president.

Brought together for the first time in a single volume, the diaries have been meticulously transcribed, annotated, and introduced by Edward P. Kohn. Twenty-four black-and-white photographs are also included.

Edward P. Kohn is Assistant Professor of History and Chair of the Department of American Culture and Literature at Bilkent University in Turkey. Kohn has written extensively on Theodore Roosevelt, and his previous books include Heir to the Empire City: New York and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt and Hot Time in the Old Town: The Great Heat Wave of 1896 and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt.


"While many superb biographies of TR have utilized these diaries, this is the first time they have been published in their entirety. To finally have this material available for one of our most important American Presidents is no small achievement, and one long overdue. As a student of Theodore Roosevelt for over 30 years, I was astonished at the insight these chronological diary entries allow into this period of TR's life that has never been conveyed effectively in the hands of even the most talented biographer." — Greg Wynn, Long Island History Journal

"…[Kohn] provides scholars and history buffs alike with a much-needed, accessible, annotated, and expertly footnoted one-volume collection of Theodore Roosevelt's personal diaries from 1877 through 1886 … Highly recommended." — CHOICE

"…Kohn is not just a layout artist, tossing the entries down on paper and leaving the reader adrift in outdated terminology and the occasional confusing misspelling. He has gone much further. He is present as an instructor; the entries are respectfully enhanced with abundant annotations, clarifications and sic marks as necessary … A Most Glorious Ride ties up many loose ends in a way normally reserved for the conclusion of a life story. In this case, the story has only just begun. The book will alter and expand perspective for those who only maintain a solid textbook knowledge of Theodore Roosevelt." — Watertown Daily Times

"This is a great book for those who simply cannot get enough of Theodore Roosevelt … an excellent book as well as an easy and enjoyable read." — Bismarck Tribune

"Edward P. Kohn has done scholars a great public service by editing the diaries of Theodore Roosevelt, 1877–1886. This volume is essential reading for anybody interested in the rise of the great Rough Rider. Highly recommended." — Douglas Brinkley, author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

"I thought there was nothing new under the sun to be done on Theodore Roosevelt, given the thousands of books already published, but Edward P. Kohn has discovered, and admirably filled, a major gap in books on the life and times of TR. By bringing these diaries together in one place for the first time and providing expert annotation and footnotes, Kohn makes an extremely valuable contribution to understanding Roosevelt." — Paul Grondahl, author of I Rose Like a Rocket: The Political Education of Theodore Roosevelt

"A Most Glorious Ride is an outstanding addition not only to the scholarship on Roosevelt but also to the study of the Gilded Age, capturing the social norms of the times and offering insights into a long-gone era of family life." — Michael Patrick Cullinane, author of Liberty and American Anti-Imperialism: 1898–1909