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Tag: herbert hoover

Archives Spotlight: Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

Happy American Archives Month! Throughout October, we’re running a series of “spotlights” on the many locations that make up the National Archives. You can visit the exhibits or use the research rooms.

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa, has an unusual location. It is within the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, a 187-acre park administered by the National Park Service. The location is meant to preserve the wildlife and nature in the site and the Quaker community in which Hoover grew up.

Permanent exhibitions are organized chronologically in a series of galleries that showcase Hoover’s fascinating life and accomplishments. They flow from Hoover’s orphaned boyhood and youth in Iowa, to his success as a global businessman, to his humanitarian efforts during World War I. There is a section that discusses the enormous cultural and technological changes in the Roaring Twenties, which then moves into Hoover’s time as Secretary of Commerce in the same decade, his Presidential campaign and election, his role in the Great Depression, and his post-Presidential life and work. There is also a gallery dedicated to Lou Henry Hoover and her role as First Lady.

In addition to Hoover’s own papers and mementos, the library also contains the documentary legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. Lane wrote the first biography about Hoover, a … [ Read all ]

History Crush: Lou Henry Hoover

It’s the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, and thousands of girls and young women have descended on Washington, DC, for the Girl Scout Rock the Mall event this weekend. It seems like the perfect time confess my own history crush, a woman who was very involved in the Girl Scouts: Lou Henry Hoover.

Actually, I am not the only person here at the National Archives with a history crush on Lou Henry Hoover. Mention this First Lady’s name at a meeting, and female staff members are practically swooning. Here at the National Archives, Lou Henry Hoover is cool.

What inspires such awe?

Lou Henry Hoover was a scientist, polyglot, author, Girl Scout supporter, and world traveler. She mixed  smarts, practicality, and adventure. Apparently Herbert Hoover was charmed “by her whimsical mind, her blue eyes and a broad grinnish smile.”

I actually knew little about her until I started working here and saw a photograph of her in the lab at Stanford University. My coworker was delighted to tell me about Lou, the first woman in Stanford’s geology department.

Rocks may not seem like the setting for romance, but the geology department is where Herbert Hoover met Lou Henry—he was a senior and she was a freshman at the still-new Stanford University. When Hoover finished his degree and went off to Australia to work as an engineer, Lou stayed behind and continued … [ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Flour Sack Art

One of the themes throughout our “What’s Cooking Wednesday” posts has been war and food rationing. American citizens were asked to grow their own food, ration sugar, and eat less meat so that there would be more supplies for soldiers fighting overseas and for people with little food left in their war-torn country.

As a result, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library has one of the largest collections of flour sacks in the world.

But these are no ordinary flour sacks. These cotton bags have been stenciled, embroidered, painted, and remade. They were  turned into pillows, clothing, and accessories to be sold in England and the United States to raise funds for food relief and to help prisoners of war. They have been decorated with red, yellow, and black for Belgium as well as red, white, and blue for the United States. Lions, eagles, symbols of peace, and Belgian lace decorate the humble cotton from American mills.

Why did hungry Belgium citizens decorate empty flour sacks?

During World War I, Herbert Hoover was chairman of the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB). Through donated money and voluntary contributions of food, this commission fed over 11,000 Belgiums. Between 1914 and 1919, about 697,116,000 pounds of flour was shipped to Belgium.

But once empty, the flour sack was a dangerous commodity during World War I. The German military could use them … [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: Herbert the Handsome

Herbert Hoover—successful businessman, international humanitarian, President during the Crash of 1929—and rugged mustachioed mining engineer? Yes, Bert Hoover started his career in the goldfields of Australia in 1897–1898. He then headed to China to develop coal mines, and he and his wife, Lou, were there during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. Fun fact: Herbert is the only U.S. President to have been fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

Although we usually picture the 31st President as clean-shaven and impeccably turned out, pictures from his early days show a man with a bit of dash and swagger.

Today happens to be the anniversary of the dedication of Hoover Dam. The monumental dam across the Colorado River was dedicated on September 30, 1935. When construction was begun in 1930, the project was called the Hoover Dam, but after Hoover left office, Boulder Dam was the commonly used name and the name used at the dedication. Legislation in 1947 officially restored the name Hoover Dam.

If you want to learn more about Herbert Hoover’s pre-Presidential life, visit the Hoover Library. To learn about his humanitarian efforts during World War I, read “Herbert Hoover and Belgian Relief” in Prologue magazine.… [ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Pull out that sweet tooth!

To celebrate our new exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” we are featuring a food-related blog post every Wednesday. Today’s post comes to us from the National Archives at New York City.

“Do you know that the money spent in the United States for candy in one year is double the amount required to feed Belgium for one year?” This statement is not from a modern anti-obesity polemic, but rather from the World War I pamphlet A Sugar Program: Household Conservation Policy to Meet the Sugar Situation for the Summer of 1918.

Why was there a sugar situation? When the United States entered World War I, ships were needed to transport soldiers and supplies across the ocean. Since much of the U.S. supply of sugar was imported, the war interrupted the supply chain of sugar.

Ships crossing over to the United Kingdom with supplies also faced the dreaded German U-boats, which sank large numbers of the Allied merchant fleet when Germany declared unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917. This danger threatened to worsen the Allied food situation in Europe, which was already severe. The woman in the poster above is literally draining away resources that the Allies need to win the war.

To inform U.S. citizens on why they were being asked to ration sugar (2 pounds per month or 6 teaspoons per day) and to provide them with information on how to manage without sugar, the … [ Read all ]