Thank you, Gwendolyn I. Koehler, for presenting at today’s First Sunday Lecture. Ms Koehler, Educational Coordinator for Bulloch Hall in Roswell, spoke about her first book, “Mittie & Thee: An 1853 Roosevelt Romance”. She discussed the love affair between Martha "Mattie” Bulloch and Theodore Roosevelt. Their courtship, conducted mostly through letters, provides us with an intimate peek into their personal love story.
Born and raised in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of New York State, an area rich in the history of the American Revolution, Gwendolyn Koehler was the daughter of Milton and Lillian (Moody) Roblee. Educated at local schools she graduated from Corning Northside High School, and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She taught elementary grades in Endicott, NY until her marriage to Arthur Koehler, and their move to Ithaca, New York. Her teaching career continued and she enrolled in the Independent Studies Program at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her mentors were Pat Carini of the Prospect School and Archives, Brenda Engle, and George Hein. She graduated with a Master of Arts Degree and continued her extensive career in the field of education in Ithaca, New York until her retirement in 2000 and their move to Georgia.
Making their home in Alpharetta Georgia, Gwendolyn found an advertisement in the local paper that caught her interest. Bulloch Hall, the 1839 home of Mittie Bulloch, mother of President Theodore Roosevelt, was looking for Volunteer Docents. She answered the ad, fell in love with the house and the story of the Bulloch/Roosevelt family and entered her journey into the Southern past. What began as a volunteer opportunity to pursue her love of history evolved into her present position. She is the Education Director of Bulloch Hall, responsible for docents and training, tour development, the research library and archives and the intern program. She is President of the Advisory Board of the Schools of Geography and Anthropology at Kennesaw University. She works closely with Connie Huddleston, her co-author, authenticating the available information regarding the history of the family, and other projects.
For the past five years, assisted by interns from various universities, she embarked on an intensive project; authentically interpreting and transcribing hundreds of pages of Bulloch/Roosevelt family letters written during the 19th century. She researched and published a brief history of the house and family which is available in the Bulloch Hall Museum Shop. Mittie and Thee, An 1853 Roosevelt Romance, is the first of three volumes of letters to be published by the co-authors.
The First Sunday Lecture series is sponsored by the Friends of Smyrna Library and Smyrna Library.