Federal Home Loan Banks

Economists are still divided about what caused the Great Depression, and what turned a relatively mild downturn into a decade long nightmare.  One contributing problem was that the United States had too many small banks (branch banking was illegal at that time), and many banks made risky loans during the late 1920s.  Only one third … Continue reading Federal Home Loan Banks

Herbert Hoover on the Kings of Belgium

  On May 28, 1959, Herbert Hoover gave the keynote at a dinner honoring the King of Belgium. Given that his ties to Belgium dated back to the early days of World War I, Hoover was the natural candidate to give this speech.  In October 1914, Hoover was called upon to lead famine relief for … Continue reading Herbert Hoover on the Kings of Belgium

Herbert Hoover and the Veterans Administration

When Herbert Hoover became President in 1929, the care of America's veterans was one of the nation’s most pressing issues.  Three agencies had overlapping jurisdiction over veterans affairs:  the Veterans Bureau, the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, and the Bureau of Pensions.  By the end of the 1920's, the total expenditures on veterans' affairs … Continue reading Herbert Hoover and the Veterans Administration

And the War Came:  Lou Hoover and the Great War

By Thomas F. Schwartz Lou Hoover was a prodigious letter writer.  Her correspondence provides great insight into both the life of her husband as well as her own activities.  Lou presents a graphic description of their efforts to assist stranded Americans in London at the beginning of World War I in a letter written to … Continue reading And the War Came:  Lou Hoover and the Great War

‘It’s 11:59 on the Clock of Starvation’

Speaking to an American radio audience just before the German surrender at the end of World War II, Hoover raised important issues for Western Civilization in the post-war world. His main focus was on food availability and security.  Hoover observed ‘No peace will be possible in nations that are half well-fed and half starved.’  He … Continue reading ‘It’s 11:59 on the Clock of Starvation’

What’s in a Name?  The Saga of the Hoover Dam

On September 17, 1930, Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur journeyed to the Nevada desert to drive a silver railroad spike, marking an end and a beginning.  The spike commemorated the completion of a railroad from Las Vegas to Black Canyon, which was to be the site of an enormous new dam on the … Continue reading What’s in a Name?  The Saga of the Hoover Dam

Jan Karski and Herbert Hoover

By Thomas F. Schwartz History, some argue, is the study of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It is also the study of extraordinary people doing seemingly impossible things.  Jan Karski is an example of the latter.  A Polish diplomat, Karski was taken prisoner by Soviet military forces during the 1939 invasion by both Nazi Germany … Continue reading Jan Karski and Herbert Hoover

The most interesting – but largely forgotten – siege and bombardment of the age

On August 8, 1900, a young Lou Henry Hoover wrote to her friend Evelyn Wight, “you missed one of the opportunities of your life by not coming to China in the summer of 1900… So many many many times I thought of you, and that you should have been here, at the most interesting siege … Continue reading The most interesting – but largely forgotten – siege and bombardment of the age

Revisiting Hoover’s Memo to Truman, May 1945

At this time last year, I wrote a blog on Hoover’s return to the world stage in response to President Truman’s request for Hoover’s insights into the food situation in Europe immediately after V-E Day.  I summarized an 18-page memo Hoover sent to Truman on May 31, 1945, recapping the main points of their 55-minute … Continue reading Revisiting Hoover’s Memo to Truman, May 1945

Rock, Scissors, Sandpaper

By Thomas F. Schwartz A popular children’s game is rock, scissors, paper: rock breaks scissors, scissors cut paper, paper covers rock.  Hoover’s eye doctor, Maynard C. Wheeler offered an interesting variation on the game in his oral history about Herbert Hoover.  Previous blog posts have detailed Hoover’s habit of smoking Cuban cigars and pipe smoking … Continue reading Rock, Scissors, Sandpaper