Theodore Roosevelt Jumping, 1902

Rear view of an action photograph unusual for the time.

As one of history’s most active presidents came on the stage, photography raced to catch up with him.  This rather extraordinary photograph from 1902 shows Teddy Roosevelt, then president, jumping his horse over a split-rail fence.  Such beautifully crisp shots of objects in motion were exceedingly rare at that date.

The man behind the camera was Barnett McFee Clinedinst Jr. (1862-1953), the official White House photographer.  His father, Barnett Sr (c 1838-1904), originally of Staunton, VA, was a great photographic innovator, credited with inventing the viewfinder and mirror-and-prism arrangement used in the single-lens reflex (SLR) camera.  The crisp detail of this photograph, with the many others Clinedinst took as Teddy effortlessly guided his mount over a steeple-chase course, testify to Roosevelt’s aplomb and athleticism as well as to Clinedinst’s impressive technical skills.

Image: from the great collections of the Library of Congress.
Click here to learn more about the picture.

2 responses

  1. A nice find! That is indeed a great, and quite sharp, picture of TR jumping over that fence. Circa 1902–wow! . . . Nice research concerning the photographer’s father.