Historic President Roosevelt’s Pocket Watch Returns After 36-Year Odyssey


After an incredible 36-year absence, the historic pocket watch of President Theodore Roosevelt has been returned to its rightful home, the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, following a remarkable journey.

The watch, which held immense sentimental value, was loaned to the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site in 1971 for an exhibition. However, in July 1987, it was stolen from the site, and despite numerous efforts to recover it, it remained missing for nearly four decades.

In a stunning turn of events, an auctioneer in Florida stumbled upon the antique timekeeper and contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the National Park Service (NPS) to confirm its authenticity. After extensive research, both the FBI and NPS officials positively identified the watch as the stolen piece.

According to Special Agent Robert Giczy of the FBI Art Crime Team, the watch was a gift given to Roosevelt by his youngest sister, Corinne Roosevelt Robinson, and her husband, Douglas Robinson, Jr., before he departed for Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Giczy commended the teamwork involved in returning the watch, stating that the partnership between the FBI, NPS, and the auctioneer ensured the safe return of the historic treasure.

The repatriation ceremony, held at the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site just days shy of its 37-year anniversary of being stolen, marked a momentous occasion for the site and its visitors, as the watch was finally returned to its rightful home.

Anna Kutz
Anna Kutz
Digital Reporter. Previously, Anna was a digital journalist at a local ABC station in Des Moines, Iowa. She has a bachelor’s degree in Convergence Journalism from the University of Missouri.

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