They were Roosevelts by the dozen, the Teddy type rather than the Franklin, although the views of some might well have made the latter grin with approval.
What brought them together last night at the Georgetown home of Archibald B. Roosevelt Jr. and his wife, Lucky, was a book about their illustrious forebear: "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt," and the man who wrote it.
All had heard of the book, which drew critical acclaim last spring and appeared on some best-seller lists. Some of the Roosevelts had even helped Kenya-born author Edmund Morris with his research. But not all of them had read it.
Joanna Sturm, T.R.'s great granddaughter and Alice Roosevelt Longworth's granddaughter, was quite candid about it, saying she wasn't much interested in reading about "family matters." Still, it hadn't prevented her from running interference for Morris yesterday at the Library of Congress, where he was doing research for his second volume about Roosevelt.
Lucky Roosevelt said her husband was one of the Roosevelts who had read the Morris book.
"T.R. died soon after Archie was born, so Archie says Edmund Morris gave him the grandfather he never knew."
Morris said it was Richard Nixon who gave him the idea that eventually led to the book. Morris was listening to Nixon's farewell speech to his staff the day he resigned the presidency.
"He got very sentimental about his mother and pulled out a book of quotes by Teddy Roosevelt and began to read. The quote started out, 'She was beautiful in face and form, as a flower she grew and as a young flower she died,'" said Morris. "I said, 'What is he talking about, what does that have to do with leaving the White House?'"
(One young Roosevelt also remembered the Nixon speech. She thought it was "unfortunate" that he quoted T.R.).
Sylvia Jukes Morris said her husband's book proved inspirational to her. She wrote a book of her own about T.R.'s second wife, titled "Edith Kermit Roosevelt, Portrait of a First Lady," due out early next year.