The New York Times/Blind in Left Eye, Roosevelt Admits
BLIND IN LEFT EYE, ROOSEVELT ADMITSEdit
Colonel Reveals That He Lost Sight of Organ in Boxing Bout Years Ago.
WINDS UP TRAINING WORK
Reduced in Weight and Girth, He Distances Mayor Mitchel in a Half-Mile Spurt.
Special to The New York Times.
STAMFORD, Conn., Oct. 21.—Weighing 202 pounds and with a waist measure of 42¾ inches Colonel Roosevelt received newspaper reporters and posed for moving picture photographers this afternoon at Jack Cooper's Health Farm in North Stamford Avenue. In the course of an interview which he gave he revealed the interesting fact that while boxing in the White House with a young artillery officer, the latter by a blow broke a blood vessel in the President's left eye and he had been blind in that eye ever since.
When the Colonel began his course of treatment at the farm on Oct. 8 he weighed 216 pounds and his waist line measured 46 inches. During the two weeks his daily schedule has been this: Arise, 7:30; breakfast, 8:15; attend to correspondence until 10; four miles brisk walking on a half-mile track, followed in the gymnasium by shadow boxing, abdominal exercises, and baths until 12:15; luncheon at 1:15.
After another period for his correspondence the track and gymnasium exercises of the forenoon were repeated. Dinner was served at 6:45, and every night at 9 the Colonel went for a two-mile walk. He was thoroughly massaged before retiring at 10. He ate whatever he wanted and as much as he wanted.
The Colonel this afternoon posed for the camera men with William Warren Barbour, a wealthy New York man, who some years ago won the amateur heavyweight boxing championship of America; Mayor Mitchel of New York, A. McAfee, a copper dealer, and William Ziegler, the baking powder man. He wore khaki knickerbockers, an olive-drab army shirt, reddish-brown woolen stockings, and tan army shoes, and was without a hat.
After posing for the cameras the Colonel, with Mr. Barbour and Gus Navka, a trainer, started on a circuit of the half-mile track, which was a sort of dash up and down hills and through cabbage patches along the borders of a lake. He hit up so fast a pace that Mayor Mitchel turned back before half the circuit had been made, and the newspaper men and onlookers were all winded when the dash was over.
Poses for Cameras.Edit
A large crowd of Stamford people who had learned of the session with the newspaper men were on hand, among them Mayor Treat. They applauded Colonel Roosevelt, and he posed for many of the spectators who had cameras. He stopped to chat with the Rev. J. J. McGuane a Catholic priest, who is taking treatment at the place, and then escorted the newspaper men through the gymnasium. Later at the Cooper House he gave an interview.
Colonel Roosevelt began the interview with a denial of a statement of a clergyman who was quoted under date of Oct. 19 from Atlantic City as saying that the ex-President had announced he would be unable to keep a tentative speaking engagement there tonight because his physician had ordered him to cancel all speaking engagements and take a complete rest.
"That," said Colonel Roosevelt, "is a complete fake. They asked me to speak, and I declined. I haven't seen a physician for months. No human being told me either to cancel a speaking engagement or to take a complete rest."
The Colonel had some notes jotted down on a piece of paper and he referred to them occasionally as he went on with his talk.
"The gentlemen with whom you saw me having my picture taken today are old friends of mine. If I had been allowed to raise a division, Mr. McAfee would have held a commission under me, and Mr. Zeigler would have been with me.
"I don't know if any of you have ever taken any interest in boxing. I may say Warren Barbour here is the ex-amateur heavyweight champion of America. I think in the entire history of the prize ring Mr. Barbour is the one amateur I ever knew who, in his time, was a little better than the best professional. I was very anxious after he won the amateur heavyweight championship to have Warren Barbour go into the ring against Jack Johnson. I would have bet everything I could afford to put up on Warren Barbour. I have seen all the champions in the last thirty years. Only one man, in his prime was, I think, better than Mr. Barbour. He was John L. Sullivan.
"When I was young, I was fond of outdoor life. I used to do considerable boxing, and I wrestled quite a bit. I had gradually to give these exercises up. The last time I wrestled was when I was in Albany as Governor of New York State. A lightweight champion, I think his name was Leonard, used to work with me. He had to go away, and then I had a professional oarsman as wrestling partner. Leonard was so good he could take care of me and himself. But the first afternoon that the professional oarsman and myself got down to business on the mat one of my short ribs and two of his long ones were broken. After that we called it off.
"I kept up my boxing longer. When I was President I used to box with one of my aids, a young Captain in the artillery. One day he cross-countered me and broke a blood vessel in my left eye. I don't know whether this is known, but I never have been able to see out of that eye since. I thought that as only one good eye was left me I would not box any longer."
"Is there any especial significance in the presence of Mayor Mitchel here?" asked a reporter.
"No," he answered. "I am going to make certain speeches for him."
Replying to other questions, Colonel Roosevelt said he had done "a certain amount of writing" while at the health farm, and that he would return to Oyster Bay in a day or two. He also told the reporters jokingly that after he had become a "cub reporter" on The Kansas City Star he received a cablegram from the American correspondents with Pershing's army "welcoming" him.
Colonel Roosevelt assured the newspaper men there was no military significance in his training stunts.
"I'm going home to live as quietly as I can," he said.