Close this search box.

If a Poem Could Live and Breathe: A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt’s First Love | A Conversation with Mary Calvi and Dana Tyler

Event Details

Date: February 22, 2024
Time: 6:00 pm
–7:30 pm

Join the Greenwich Historical Society in welcoming author Mary Calvi as she discusses her latest novel, If a Poem Could Live and Breathe: A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt’s First Love. Calvi will be joined in conversation by co-anchor Dana Tyler of CBS New York as she shares more about her research process and the new historical perspectives that emerged as a result.

Studded with the real love letters between a young Theodore Roosevelt and Boston beauty Alice Lee—many of them never-before-published—If a Poem Could Live and Breathe makes vivid what many historians believe to be the pivotal years that made the future president into the man of action that defined his political life, and cemented his legacy.

Cambridge, 1878. The era of the Gilded Age. Alice Lee sets out to break from the norms of her mother’s generation. Women are fighting for educational opportunities and exploring a new sense of intellectual and personal freedom. Native New Yorker, Harvard student Teddy Roosevelt, is on his own journey of discovery, and when they meet, unrelenting currents of love change the trajectory of his life forever.

If a Poem Could Live and Breathe is an indelible portrait of the authenticity of first love, the heartache of loss, and how overcoming the worst of life’s obstacles can push one to greatness never imagined.

Books may be purchased through Diane’s Books in advance or following the talk for signing by the author.

Speaker Biography

Mary Calvia 14-time New York Emmy award-winning journalist, has covered a vast amount of breaking news stories during her career, including 9/11. She received praise for extensive coverage of the Miracle on the Hudson, as well as news-breaking exclusive interviews inside maximum-security prison, most notably with serial killer Joel Rifkin. She's traveled to Israel and Rome for live special coverage.

Calvi is also an author. Her second novel, If A Poem Could Live And Breathe: A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt's First Love, is based on love letters from the Gilded Age to and from Roosevelt and his first love, Alice Lee. Many of these letters have never been published and were long believed destroyed. Her in-depth research for her debut book, Dear George, Dear Mary: A Novel Of George Washington's First Love, is the basis of a Smithsonian Channel documentary. 

Calvi graduated magna cum laude from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University with a degree in journalism. A native of Westchester County, Calvi lives in her hometown with her husband and their three children.


Dana Tyler anchors CBS News New York at 6pm and contributes longform stories and interviews to the station's multiple media platforms.  She joined WCBS-TV in 1990 as a general assignment reporter and weekend co-anchor. She and Reggie Harris were the first African American anchor team in the nation's #1 media market.

Before joining WCBS-TV, Dana Tyler was an Emmy Award winning reporter and anchor for nine years at WBNS-TV in her hometown, Columbus, Ohio. In 2010, she was awarded Emmys for anchoring the Breaking News Story: "Flight 1549 Lands in the Hudson River," and has continued to release Emmy winning news. Tyler has had the privilege of hosting the Tonys and been honored by The New York Association of Black Journalists with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Tyler graduated from B.U.'s School of Management with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree concentrating in marketing and broadcast journalism. In 2003, Tyler accepted an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from St. John's University. She received a 2001 Alumni Award for Distinguished Service from Boston University.


Buy Tickets