[PW] "Bawdy" joke told by Alice Roosevelt Longworth

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Sun Aug 15 10:30:40 PDT 2021

In 1981 a book of conversations with Alice Roosevelt Longworth
appeared. She discussed telling bawdy jokes about Woodrow Wilson. She
says she went to the White House once when Wilson was there, but she
does not mention being banned.

[ref] 1981, Mrs. L.: Conversations with Alice Roosevelt Longworth by
Michael Teague, Chapter: Later Years, Quote Page 167, 169 and 170,
Doubleday & Company, Garden City, New York. (Verified with hardcopy)

[Begin excerpt]
Wilson was probably rather an interesting man but we had to put on a
show of hating him. There was a sanctimonious quality about him which
was frightfully annoying. Cabot Lodge scorned him because he wasn’t
really an intellectual like the Boston intellectuals. Then there was
this image of the wonderful man who was saving the world, and we all
made fun of that. We made bawdy jokes about him and the various lady
friends who worshiped him. Horrible man, we all said, chasing after
women and then saying his prayers before leaping into bed with them.
All that sort of thing.
. . .
I can’t remember going to the White House when Wilson was there. Oh
yes, I did go once, to an “entertainment,” but he was ill and never
appeared, so Goethals (Footnote 33) and I sat on little gold chairs in
a corner and sneered and jeered about everything and had a wonderful
[End excerpt]

[Begin Footnote 33 for Page 170 on Page 202]
33. General George Washington Goethals (1858-1928). Chief engineer of
the Panama Canal.
[End Footnote 33]

I examined several quotation books to look for bawdy remarks
attributed to Longworth, but I did not find any. Here is a wordplay
joke mentioning pornography that was linked to Longworth in a 1972

[ref] 1972, The Reader's Digest Treasury Of American Humor, Selected
by the Editor's of Reader's Digest,  Chapter: Malapropriety, Section:
Pardon My Language: Linguistic Lapses,  Chapter: Malapropriety, Quote
Page 73, A Reader's Digest Press Book published in conjunction with
McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York. (Verified with scans) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Alice Roosevelt Longworth tells about a merchant seaman who was being
investigated under the McCarran Act. "Do you," asked the interrogator,
"have any pornographic literature?"
"Pornographic literature!" the sailor burst out indignantly. "I don't
even have a pornograph!"
[End excerpt]


On Sun, Aug 15, 2021 at 7:42 AM Amy J. Schneider
<amy at featherschneider.com> wrote:
> Hello, dear wombats --
> I was a member for a while on Stumpers-L back in the day. What a lot of
> fun that was! I'm back with a question whose answer is eluding an
> extremely devoted group of fans:
> What was the "bawdy" (or "ribald," or "disparaging," according to
> various sources) joke that Alice Roosevelt Longworth told about Woodrow
> Wilson, to his face, in public, that got her banned from the White House
> in 1916?
> Seemingly a million websites mention the incident, but so far none that
> we can find actually tell what the joke was. Surely someone recorded it.
> Filthy minds want to know! (I'm sure it will turn out to be quite tame
> by 2021 standards, but knowing Alice's reputation, witty all the same.)
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Amy J. Schneider (she/her) ~ Featherschneider Editorial Services
> amy at featherschneider.com ~ www.featherschneider.com
> "There are no passengers on spaceship Earth. Everybody's crew."
> ~ Marshall McLuhan
> _______________________________________________
> Project Wombat - Project-wombat
> list at project-wombat.org
> http://www.project-wombat.org/

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