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Learn more about the Family of
Theodore Roosevelt

Ethel Carow Roosevelt Derby

"The Queen of Oyster Bay" and "The First Lady of Oyster Bay"

Born on Thursday, August 13, 1891 in Oyster Bay, N.Y.     -     Died on Saturday, December 10, 1977 in Oyster Bay, N.Y.

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Ethel was the fourth child and youngest daughter of T.R. and Edith.

Debut and Coming Out Party held at the White House on December 28, 1908.

Attended National Cathedral School in Washington D.C.

Married to Dr. Richard Derby on April 4, 1913.

Four Children: Richard, Sara Alden, Judith, and Edith.

Red Cross volunteer nurse for 60 years.

Chairwoman of Nassau County Nursing Service.

First of two women to serve as Trustees of the American Museum of Natural History.

Instrumental in helping Sagamore Hill become a National Historic Site.

T.R. said of Ethel: "she has a way of doing everything and managing everybody."

Books about
Ethel Roosevelt

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Ethel Roosevelt: A Life in Pictures

Quick Facts

Ethel's soft blue eyes and golden-blonde hair belied her practical yet sensitive leadership qualities that she displayed throughout her life.

Never afraid to stand her ground, Ethel was a perpetual champion of the weak and infirm.

As a nurse in WWI, she and her husband attended to the needs of wounded soldiers in the American Ambulance Hospital.

A firm believer in first solving local problems, Ethel devoted time to ending discrimination of blacks in the Oyster Bay area during the Civil Rights Movement, culminating in the building of low-income housing in Oyster Bay.

Ethel considered herself a "liberal Republican", and in 1960 made a seconding speech for the nomination of Richard Nixon for President.

Ethel's health began to deteriorate in 1975, and she died at Old Adam House in 1977.

Ethel is interred at Young's Cemetery in Oyster Bay alongside her husband and other relatives.

Family of Ethel Roosevelt

Husband:         Dr. Richard Derby (1881-1963)

Son:                  Richard Jr. (1914-1922), died of septicemia.

Daughter:       Edith Roosevelt (1917-2008), married Andrew Murray "Mike" Williams.

Daughter:       Sarah Alden (1920-1999), married Vermont State Senator Robert T. Gannett.

Daughter:       Judith Quentin Derby (1923-1973), married Adelbert "Del" Ames III.

When it came time to have her portrait painted, Ethel did not choose to wear an evening gown and jewels;
she instead wore her Red Cross uniform.

Links to Other Resources

Theodore Roosevelt Association


National Park Service: The Roosevelt Children