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Next PagePrevious Page "I Need Rest"

Taft faithfully wrote his wife, Nellie, whenever they were separated. The following statements and descriptions, taken mostly from such letters, show the consistency of Taft's concern with rest.

Letter to Nellie, Mar. 31, 1907, on his way to Panama:
"I found myself pretty tired when I went about the boat, and it took a day or two to throw off the cares that I carried with me from Washington."

[Note: Taft was probably not somnolent at this time, as he read several books during the sea voyage to Panama, including Charles Dickens' lengthy novel Martin Chuzzlewit.]

Letter to Nellie, June 15, 1907, while recovering from food poisoning:
"Really what I have needed has been this long rest which I have taken."
After the nominating convention in summer 1908:
"Immediately after the convention he and Nellie went to Hot Springs [Virginia] for a rest."
Unable to rest as he wanted in Hot Springs:
"In September the weary candidate took a brief rest with Nellie at Middle Bass Island in Ohio."
During the 1908 Presidential campaign:
"As the campaign got underway he was already desperately tired. ... He would dictate to Carpenter [his secretary] while lying down to snatch some rest before an evening function."
Description of election night 1908:
"Taft went out to acknowledge the greeting. His voice was hoarse and the lines of his face were deeply etched in the glare of the torches. He was utterly tired."
Another description of election night 1908:
"The Citizens Taft Club arrived [where Taft was staying] to cheer the winner. A tired man went out on the porch and acknowledged their greeting. He had been talking for the preceding forty days and was exhausted."
Washington Post, Feb. 28, 1909:
"Mr. Taft last night said that he positively would not give out anything "official" regarding the cabinet for another day or so. He said he was tired, and the he did not want to talk politics." -- Anonymous. "Taft reaches city." Washington Post, page 1, 1909-02-28
Description of Archie Butt, May 4, 1909, as Taft is recovering from a severe cold:
"The President tried to pose [for a portrait painter] for a little while, but he was very tired and very weak. He fell asleep twice while standing up, and sat in a chair for a minute and was sound asleep. ... He soon went upstairs to rest."
Letter to Nellie, Jul. 6, 1909, describing his ceremonial activities in a Connecticut town:
"We rode around the town a little, then went out to Mr. Williams', where I planted a tree.... Then I went upstairs to dress and take a nap."
Letter to Nellie, Oct. 10, 1909, written from California's Yosemite National Park after walking from Glacier point down to the Yosemite Valley floor:
"While I am tired from the open air exercise, I feel greatly the better for it."
Description of his actions before meeting with the President of Mexico:
"The occasion did not disturb Taft's nerves. He retired to a conference room and lay down on a lounge. A few minutes later, when Butt scurried in for some decision, he found the President of the United States locked in slumber."
Letter to Nellie on the same day, Oct. 17, 1909, recounting his actions after meeting with the Mexican President:
"I went back to the hotel and had a little lunch and went to bed to get one and a half hours of sleep or more."
Letter to Nellie, Oct. 22, 1909, from Texas:
"On the whole while I have not rested in the physical sense since I have been here, I have enjoyed the change exceedingly and am now ready to go on with the trip."
Letter to Nellie, Oct. 24, 1909:
"Then we went into the town of Dallas [before dinner], where I went to bed and slept and hour and a half -- or rather didn't sleep, which was an exception."
Letter to Nellie, Oct. 28, 1909:
"Then I went to the Planters' Hotel [in St. Louis], where I rested for two hours."
Letter to Nellie, Oct. 28, 1909, after leaving St. Louis:
"[At dinner with 25 governors] I felt tired and asked them to excuse me."
Letter to Nellie, Nov. 9, 1909: describing a social event:
"I stood on my legs from four o'clock until six, and it seemed to me that I would fall from exhaustion."
Letter to Nellie, Nov. 9, 1909, in same letter as above:
"I am pretty tired today because I didn't sleep very well last night, and had a pretty strenuous day yesterday."
Description of Archie Butt, Mar. 12, 1911:
"She [Mrs. Taft] strongly urged him to go back to Washington, that he was not getting the rest he came for."
Letter to Nellie, Aug. 3, 1911:
"But after golf in the morning I don't think I would have the necessary energy [to ride a horse]."
Letter to Nellie, Aug. 3, 1911, later in the letter above:
"I am longing to be with you. I am tired and I want quiet and rest. Hasten the day of adjournment [of Congress]."
Letter to Nellie, Aug. 9, 1911:
"He must be tired as we are."
Letter to Nellie, Aug. 16, 1911:
"I dictated my speech on the way over and took a nap of an hour. Coming home I did not sleep very well but I'll go to golf this afternoon and sweat well - that helps me."
Letter to Nellie, Sept. 17, 1911:
"We are resting today."
Letter to Nellie, Sept. 27, 1911:
"Today have just had one hours sleep and bath at Representative Anthony's [home]."
Telegram to Nellie, Sept. 29, 1911:
"Made number of speeches today did not get any rest this afternoon and therefore feel healthily tired."
Description of Archie Butt, Oct. 1, 1911, written during one of Taft's cross-country tripps:
"The President remains well, but how he does it I fail to see. The programs have been arranged without any periods of rest for him. He is up at six-thirty every morning, eating vile breakfasts at clubs, and continues until midnight."
Letter to Nellie, Oct. 25, 1911, after making 14 well-received speeches in one day:
"It has been a very tiresome but a very delightful day."
Telegram to Nellie, May 12, 1912:
"Go to Cleveland tonight, where we shall be all day tomorrow, where I hope to have a little rest until night, when I make a speech in a hall."
Letter to Nellie, May 21, 1912:
"Had a good sleep last night and am resting today."
Letter to Nellie, July 9, 1912:
"In the discussion of the campaign wth Barnes, we sat up until half past two, so that I am rather short off sleep. ... I have completed thus the recital of the day's doings, and feel that the time is near when I must try in some way to secure rest enough to make up for having gone to bed this morning at half past two."
Letter to Nellie, July 14, 1912:
"We take a joy ride [in an automobile] every night before we go to bed, and I find that my recollection of the places we go on that ride is very dim and hazy. It brings about sleep as quickly as anything I know."
Letter to Nellie, July 18, 1912:
"We took a joy ride after that, so that I did not get to bed until a quarter after one. I need some sleep as I am afraid my golf game will be affected by the lack of nature's sweet restorer."
Letter to Nellie, July 19, 1912:
"We won [at golf] until I began to get sleepy and made a misplay which resulted in our quitting even."
Letter to Nellie, Aug. 12, 1912:
"I took an automobile ride yesterday afternoon and another one in the evening, and it contributed to sleep."
Letter to Nellie, Aug. 14, 1912:
"I went to the base-ball game yesterday afternoon, but it was a very sleepy game."
Letter to Nellie, Aug. 16, 1912:
"Everybody is very tired here."
Letter to Nellie, Aug. 20, 1912:
"Everybody is tired, everybody is cross, and everybody wants to get away." [i.e., Congressional adjournment]
Letter to Nellie, Aug. 22, 1912:
"I was rather more tired yesterday than I have been at any time."

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