Modern Hoover Myths: Part 5

Joseph Green, one of Hoover’s devoted CRB men.

Most individuals appreciate complements on a job well done and welcome their superiors inquiring about their level of satisfaction at work and in family life. Critics who have painted Hoover as cold and aloof also claim he didn’t like to complement subordinates because it removed the spotlight from his own achievements. Moreover, these critics claim Hoover had no interest in the personal welfare of those who worked from him. Once again, the failure to look at a wide range of evidence that easily refutes these claims explains the misrepresentations.

The most glaring example of Hoover’s involvement in the personal situation of a coworker involved A. Stanley Rowe, the accountant and partner in Bewick, Moreing, Rowe where Hoover was also a junior partner. After celebrating Christmas Eve dinner with the Rowe’s and their five children, Hoover learned the following day that A. Stanley Rowe had left his wife and children because of misusing company funds amounting to $250,000. Hoover had to break the news to the senior partners indicating that they were all responsible from covering the debt to investors, a prospect that was not well received. Rowe was captured, tried, and imprisoned. Throughout the entire episode and imprisonment, Hoover provided financial support for Mrs. Rowe and her children. In numerous other instances, Hoover, at his own expense, paid the salaries of people he needed in his humanitarian efforts but used Stanford University as the pass through so these individuals thought the university rather than Hoover himself was the source of employment.

Joseph Green, who worked for Hoover in the Commission for Relief in Belgium [CRB], recalled that he and two other CRB workers were accused by the Germans of sending military information through Rotterdam to the British Government. The Germans demand the immediate removal of the Green and his associates. Green’s immediate supervisor was willing to send Green and the other accused home to avoid dealing with difficult German authorities. Hoover asked Green if the allegations were true which Green denied. Hoover asked the Germans for the evidence convicting Green and the others. They gave the name of a person in Rotterdam who was their alleged go-between. Upon further investigation, the person in Rotterdam confessed that he alone acted in providing the information and Green and the others continued to work for the CRB, their reputations intact.

William Mullendore, another who worked with Hoover in the CRB, described Hoover’s leadership style this way: “He was devoted to his work, and he had a natural knack for leadership of an unusual kind; leadership that was not gotten by trying to project his personality in order to be liked. It was because of his acceptance of the people who worked with him as being on the same plane of genuineness—of honesty and integrity, and interest in the work to be done rather than their own careers as such.” This commitment to achieving the task at hand is reflected in the numerous accounts of individuals who worked with Hoover in many of the humanitarian efforts spanning a half a century. Edwin Howard Robnett served with the American Relief Administration after World War I managing feeding centers in Austria. He claimed his most memorable experience: “While making inspections at the various feeding places to see the smile of gratitude on the faces of the poor underfed children; to see their faces filled out after a period of our feeding, to see the great relief our supplies gave to the children’s hospital in Innsbruck where some of the children doubled their weight in two weeks’ feeding. The love of the mothers for our help was [of] most interest.”

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