"Senator McCarthy, you are not going to call me Alice.
The trashman and the policeman on my block call me Alice, but you may not."
- Alice Roosevelt Longworth
to Senator Joseph McCarthy, who had jokingly remarked at a party, "Here's my blind date. I am going to call you Alice.”
Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth (1884 – 1980) was the oldest child of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. She was the only child of Roosevelt and his first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee.
Longworth led an unconventional and controversial life. She was an eccentric who was often in the news. An instant celebrity upon the election of her father, she also became a fashion icon. At a time when women were expected to conform, she became a noted rule-breaker: she smoked cigarettes in public, rode in cars with men, stayed out late partying, kept a pet snake named Emily Spinach (Emily as in her spinster aunt and Spinach for its green colour) in the White House, and was seen placing bets with a bookie. During a 1905 cruise to Japan with her father, she jumped into the ship's pool fully clothed, and coaxed a Congressman to join her in the water. Years later, when she was an octogenarian, Bobby Kennedy chided her about the incident, saying it was outrageous for the time. Longworth replied it would only have been outrageous had she removed her clothes.
In 1906 Longworth married Nicholas Longworth, a Republican member of the US House of Representatives. He later rose to become Speaker. The marriage was shaky and included her campaigning against her husband in the 1912 election. He lost by 105 votes but was elected again in 1914. Nonetheless it created further conflict. He had numerous affairs, she had a child by Senator William Borah.
Longworth died in 1980 aged 96 of emphysema and pneumonia.
She is also remembered for the pillow on her settee with the embroidered words:
"If you haven't got anything good to say about anybody, come sit next to me."