Cornelius V. S. Roosevelt
Personal details
Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt III

(1915-10-23)October 23, 1915
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedAugust 3, 1991(1991-08-03) (aged 75)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
RelationsSee Roosevelt family
Parent(s)Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
Eleanor Butler Alexander
Alma materHarvard University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceUnited States Navy
Years of service1942–1951
RankLieutenant commander
Battles/warsWorld War II

Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt III (October 23, 1915 – August 3, 1991) was an American intelligence officer, business executive and World War II veteran, who was a grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt. He worked for the CIA from the close of World War II until his retirement in 1973.[1]

Early life

He was the third child of Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and Eleanor Butler Alexander and therefore the grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt. His siblings were Grace, Theodore Roosevelt IV, and Quentin Roosevelt II. He attended Harvard University[2] and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,[1] where he was a member of St. Anthony Hall, and graduated in 1938.[1][3][4]

As an Oyster Bay Roosevelt, and through his ancestor and namesake Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt (1794–1871), he was a descendant of the Schuyler family.[5][self-published source][6]


From 1938 to 1941, Roosevelt was a mining engineer for the American Smelting and Mining Company in Mexico.[7]

World War II

He served in the Navy during World War II.[1][8] He was commissioned as an ensign in the Naval Reserve on May 28, 1942, and promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) on July 1, 1943.[9] He remained in the Naval Reserve after the war and was promoted to lieutenant commander in 1951.[10]

Post-War career

From 1946 to 1949, he moved to Shanghai where he was the manager of the mining division of William Hunt & Co. In 1949, after the Communist takeover in China, he relocated to Hong Kong where he served as president of the company in 1950. During the same period, he also served as president of International Industries Inc. in Hong Kong.[7]

In 1952, after a brief stint as vice president of Security Banknote Co. in Philadelphia, a research administrator for the Office of Naval Research and president of Linderman Engineering Co., he joined the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington. While in the CIA, he was the chief of the Technical Services Division/TSD from 1959 to 1962.[11][12]

He served as the chairman of the Technical Surveillance Countermeasures Committee, which involved securing American facilities against electronic eavesdropping.[7] Evan Thomas wrote that Roosevelt was the person who originally suggested the CIA project that attempted to poison Fidel Castro.[13] Roosevelt, as a head of the CIA technical division, supervised Sidney Gottlieb, who brought a biological poison to Congo during the autumn of 1960. To friends and family, he said that his work for the CIA mainly involved creating devices to detect listening devices. He also mentioned that he took part as a subject in the CIA experiments on LSD (part of MKULTRA). Roosevelt retired from the CIA in 1973 and had served in retirement as a defense consultant and on the board of Aerospace Corp.[7]

Personal life

Roosevelt had many lifelong hobbies and interests and published about them: the archaeology of Peru, the history of early sugar processing machines in the Caribbean,[14] Japanese Netsuke carvings, and scuba-diving.[15][16][17] He gave a collection of more than 50 M. C. Escher prints to the National Gallery of Art.[18]

Roosevelt was a member of the Metropolitan Club and the Army and Navy Club in Washington.[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Cornelius V. S. Roosevelt, Ex-C.I.A. Official, 75". New York Times. August 7, 1991.
  2. ^ Associated Press (August 9, 1991). "Obituaries | Cornelius Van Schaak Roosevelt, CIA | Seattle Times Newspaper". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  3. ^ Times, Special To The New York (28 December 1935). "C.V.S. ROOSEVELT SUES.; Theodore Roosevelt's Grandson Asks $15,000 for Auto Injuries". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  4. ^ "C. V. S. Roosevelt Wins Suit". The New York Times. 7 May 1938. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  5. ^ Taylor, Robert Lewis. Along The Way: Two Paths From One Ancestry Xlibris Corporation, 2014
  6. ^ Brogan, Hugh and Mosley, Charles American Presidential Families October 1993, page 568
  7. ^ a b c d e Barnes, Bart (9 August 1991). "CORNELIUS ROOSEVELT, 75, DIES". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Theodore Roosevelt Family - Alamanac of Theodore Roosevelt". Archived from the original on 2007-01-02. Retrieved 2006-08-23.
  9. ^ US Naval Reserve Register. 1944. pg. 103.
  10. ^ US Naval Reserve Register. 1959. pg. 489.
  11. ^ Richelson (2002), p. 38.
  12. ^ Wallace, Robert; Melton, Harold Keith (2008). Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda. Penguin. ISBN 9780525949800. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  13. ^ Thomas (1995), pp. 108, 228, 235–236.
  14. ^ Roosevelt (1976).
  15. ^ Richelson, Jeffrey T. (2002). The Wizards of Langley: Inside the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology. Westview. ISBN 9780813340593.
  16. ^ Roosevelt, Cornelius Van S. (1976). "1818 Beam Engine and Sugar Mill in Haiti". IA, the Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology. 2 (1): 23–28. JSTOR 40967909.
  17. ^ Thomas, Evan (1995). The Very Best Men: Four Who Dared the Early Years of the CIA. Simon & Schuster.
  18. ^ "NGA - M.C. Escher Prints (07/1974)". Archived from the original on 2011-10-27. Retrieved 2011-08-29.