For the Love of Books

Lindon (Woody) Wood always had a love of books and an interest in Theodore Roosevelt, but the time he spent in the badlands of North Dakota spurred his interest in TR and prompted him to collect books by and about him. He recently donated more than 250 books by and pertaining to Roosevelt to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.

Wood is a retired junior high history teacher who lives in Colorado. As many teachers do, he sometimes looked for summer work to supplement his income during his decades-long career. One such summer, his search brought him to Roosevelt’s old stomping grounds, the Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park in Medora, North Dakota. He had traveled through western North Dakota before, and decided to put in an application as a seasonal ranger. After he was hired, he spent numerous summers living and working in Medora.

The Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park was created in 1949 as a memorial to Theodore Roosevelt and the time he ranched in the badlands of what was then Dakota Territory during the late 1800s. The park was given National Park status by the Carter Administration in 1978 and renamed Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP).

This monument marks the original entrance to Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park. Although the entrance is no longer used, visitors can still hike to the location.

“I was the first mounted ranger at the park,” he said, adding that he was at home on a horse because of his farm upbringing. “I really liked it, and it fueled my interest in Roosevelt.”

Wood’s passion for Roosevelt and his love of travel complemented each other and throughout his life he collected a large library of books, including his Roosevelt collection.

“Any time I could get a book on Theodore Roosevelt, I collected it,” he said, adding that he scoured antique stores, flea markets, and rummage sales. “I was always looking for books on my travels.”

Now 85 years old, Wood decided it was time to donate his extensive library which also includes many books on mountaineering, another subject of interest to him. He is donating the mountaineering collection to an organization in Colorado, but the Theodore Roosevelt collection has found its new home at the TRPLF. 

Among the books he donated to the TRPL are several volumes dear to his heart, including a beautiful leather bound edition of Big Game Hunting in the Rockies and on the Great Plains by Theodore Roosevelt and two copies of the autographed editions of The Long Trail by TR's son Kermit.

Wood is glad that the books from his library will be used in the TRPL, which will include a reading and research room.

“I was so happy to get them to Dickinson. I wanted my collection to go someplace that it would be of benefit to other people,” he said.