Theodore Roosevelt was one of the major figures in America's Progressive movement in the early years of the 20th century.
But his influence might not have been nearly so great had it not been for the efforts of one of his biggest supporters: Kansas City Star publisher William Rockhill Nelson.
The depth of their relationship is explored by Lewis L. Gould in a presentation entitled "I Am With You Tooth and Nail": William Rockhill Nelson, Theodore Roosevelt, and the Progressive Movement, 1907-1913 on Tuesday, September 10, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
Gould maintains that Nelson and The Star played a larger role in Roosevelt's political fortunes than historians have realized.
First as a sponsor of Teddy Roosevelt's successor, William Howard Taft, and then as a major actor in Roosevelt's campaign for the presidency in 1912, the charismatic Nelson fed innovative ideas and advice to the bespectacled statesman and politician. Their friendship flourished for a time and then waned after 1912, but no before Nelson's influence reached well beyond Kansas City to embrace the national reform movement.
Gould's presentation brings Nelson out of the historical shadows and underscores the need for a modern biography of this significant figure in American journalism.
Gould is professor emeritus and Eugene C. Parker Centennial Professor Emeritus in American History at the University of Texas at Austin. Among his books are Theodore Roosevelt, The William Howard Taft Presidency, The Modern American Presidency, and The Spanish-American War and President McKinley.
This event is co-sponsored by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org  or call 816.701.3407.