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Tag: Lou Henry Hoover

Hoover Library: Honoring Iowa’s only President

October is American Archives Month! We’re celebrating the work of archivists and the importance of archives with a series of blog posts about the Presidential libraries. The records created by Presidents while in office will become part of the National Archives, and eventually will be used by researchers. Here’s how it happens! 

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, ca. 1970. National Archives Identifier: 23856239)

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, ca. 1970. (National Archives Identifier: 23856239)

Herbert Hoover opened his Presidential library on August 10, 1962, nearly 30 years after he left the Presidency.

This was the National Archives’ fourth Presidential library.

The three preceding libraries belonged to his three successors. This was because at the time Hoover was President, there were no laws or guidance governing Presidential records.

Hoover originally planned for all his papers to go the Hoover Institution on the campus of Stanford University, his alma mater. However, in the late 1950s Hoover’s relationship with Stanford became strained.

In 1958, Hoover’s friends began to raise funds for a small museum in his birthplace—West Branch, Iowa.

As his conflict with Stanford worsened, Hoover decided to take advantage of the recently passed Presidential Libraries act and donate his personal and Presidential papers to the National Archives. He expanded the museum in West Branch into a larger archival and research facility.

His papers related to his relief work remained at the Hoover Institution.

Former Presidents Harry S. Truman and Herbert Hoover move through the crowds of people attending the dedication of the new Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, IA, August 10, 1962. Harry S. Truman Library & Museum, National Archives.)

Former Presidents Harry S.

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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.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa.

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.

Lou Henry and Herbert Hoover on the deck of their cabin at Camp Rapidan, Virginia. August 2, 1930. Herbert Hoover Library.

In … [ Read all ]

History Crush: Lou Henry Hoover

Lou Henry posing on a burro at Acton, California, 8/22/1891 (Hoover Presidential Library, 1891-5)

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 … [ Read all ]