Hoover and the 1932 Olympic Games

By Thomas F. Schwartz The Olympic games originated in ancient Greece as a religious and athletic festival, providing a forum of friendly competition among otherwise factious city-states. Revived in the late 1800s, the tradition of holding games every four years was well established by the 1920s.  The United States hosted the 1932 winter games in … Continue reading Hoover and the 1932 Olympic Games

New Year’s Day, January 1, 1931

By Thomas F. Schwartz A tradition observed by Herbert and Lou Hoover annually invited the Diplomatic Corps and the public to the White House on New Year’s Day.  The President and First Lady would head a receiving line and greet the Diplomatic Corps first and then the public.  It was an exhausting event where several … Continue reading New Year’s Day, January 1, 1931

Make Sure Your Getaway Vehicle Doesn’t Break Down

The following story is filed with Bureau of Standards reports to Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover: On Sunday morning, March 20, 1921, the arrest of a young man and the recovery of a truck full of Government radio equipment was reported to the Superintendent of the Bureau of Standards.  The robbery was committed by Oscar … Continue reading Make Sure Your Getaway Vehicle Doesn’t Break Down

Respectful Partisans: Herbert Hoover and Bernard Baruch

Former president Herbert Hoover talks with Bernard Baruch at the final dinner of the Boys' Clubs of America's 45th annual convention at New York's Hotel Commodore. 05/10/1951. By Thomas F. Schwartz The relationship between Herbert Hoover and Bernard Baruch was both mutual admiration and petty jealousy.  They saw in one another tremendous strengths and skills … Continue reading Respectful Partisans: Herbert Hoover and Bernard Baruch

Christmas Gift Exchanges in the Waldorf-Astoria

My colleagues here sometimes tease me about ‘my favorite thing’ in the archives.  It is Hoover’s reading copy of a speech he gave at Cairo in April 1946.  It is inscribed to Kitty Milbank, one of Hoover’s close friends: ‘Dear Kitty, This is one of the most important speeches I have ever delivered.’  Hoover gave … Continue reading Christmas Gift Exchanges in the Waldorf-Astoria

Christmas During the First “Great Depression”

By Thomas F. Schwartz At the end of a bruising 1932 campaign, Hoover travelled to Iowa where he gave a series of speeches in early October.  While much of the content focused on issues of the day, Hoover also used the opportunity to reminisce about his early youth in Iowa.  Hoover reminded his audience that … Continue reading Christmas During the First “Great Depression”

Chance and Circumstance: Pearl Harbor in History

History is strange.  It has a perverse way of folding back on itself like a Mobius strip.  I once listened to an entire lecture by a seasoned historian who, after years of research and thought, ascribed the cause of the 1967 Detroit riots to chance and circumstance.  Really?  Can we resolve complex events to such … Continue reading Chance and Circumstance: Pearl Harbor in History

A 1930 White House Christmas Recollection

By Thomas F. Schwartz Marion Redman is not a familiar name in the Hoover presidency, although she had a front row seat from December 1930 until the end of May 1931 as the governess for baby Joan, Peggy Ann, and Herbert “Pete” Hoover III.  Tuberculosis was widespread during the Hoover presidency, affecting his eldest son, … Continue reading A 1930 White House Christmas Recollection

When New Communications Media Reach Maturity

While drawing analogies too closely from history is perilous, I am sometimes struck by parallels between events of today and events of the past.  Our world today is not  the only world facing disruptive technologies which test the minds of men and the flexibility of institutions.  Men and institutions today are wrestling with challenges presented … Continue reading When New Communications Media Reach Maturity

Trouble in River City:  Hoover describes Aunt Hannah’s Prophesy

By Thomas F. Schwartz A classic Broadway musical is Meredith Willson’s Music Man.  Willson, a native of Mason City, Iowa, places the musical in River City, Iowa, a veiled reference to Mason City lying along the Winnebago River.  Con man Professor Harold Hill convinces the townspeople that a boy’s band is a wholesome alternative to … Continue reading Trouble in River City:  Hoover describes Aunt Hannah’s Prophesy