Wonder Boy — Herbert Hoover as Secretary of Commerce

Herbert Hoover is remembered today primarily as the President who struggled to contain the Great Depression.  It’s hard for us to imagine how incredibly popular he was before entering the White House, and how he dazzled the world with his meteoric rise to fame.  Hoover’s adult life leading up to the Presidency can be neatly … Continue reading Wonder Boy — Herbert Hoover as Secretary of Commerce

The 20th Amendment :  the obscure amendment that changed Inauguration Day

Today we know Inauguration Day falls every four years on January 20, but for much of American history it was March 4, almost four months after election day.  Herbert Hoover was the last and perhaps most unfortunate President to serve four months as a “lame duck.”  What changed?  The ratification of the 20th Amendment to … Continue reading The 20th Amendment :  the obscure amendment that changed Inauguration Day

Graduations that never happened — Laura Ingalls Wilder

In the spring of 1885, 18-year-old Laura Ingalls (soon to be married to Almazo Wilder) did not graduate from high school in De Smet, South Dakota, though perhaps she should have. Of course, high school in the current sense didn’t exist then, especially in rural areas.  Most Americans had no opportunity to attend school beyond … Continue reading Graduations that never happened — Laura Ingalls Wilder

Searching for the real Laura Ingalls Wilder

One of the hidden gems at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum are the papers of Rose Wilder Lane, which document the extraordinary lives of Rose and her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Laura’s Little House books are a fictionalized account of her childhood, but they contain many charming and vivid descriptions of pioneer life in the … Continue reading Searching for the real Laura Ingalls Wilder

Mary Bethune: Adviser to Presidents

Mary McLeod Bethune was a prominent African-American educator and public servant in the early 20th century.  Born in South Carolina in 1875, she was the 15th of 17 children of former slaves Samuel and Patsy McLeod.  As a child she excelled in her studies at a mission school and won scholarships for advanced education.  She … Continue reading Mary Bethune: Adviser to Presidents

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

In remembrance of Professor Ellis Wayne Hawley

A great friend of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum died on September 15.  Professor Ellis Hawley mentored generations of undergraduate and graduate students from 1957 to his retirement in 1994.  He began his career on faculty of North Texas State University, moving to Ohio State University, and ending his career at the University … Continue reading In remembrance of Professor Ellis Wayne Hawley

Herbert Hoover and the 1930 Drought, continued

Part 2 -- The Great Humanitarian Stumbles [For Part 1, see https://hoover.blogs.archives.gov/2020/09/16/herbert-hoover-and-the-1930-drought/ ] At first, Hoover’s drought relief plan was widely praised;  it seemed that he had come up with a perfect combination of Federal leadership and local control.  The state and local committees went to work with enthusiasm.  But as summer turned to fall … Continue reading Herbert Hoover and the 1930 Drought, continued

Herbert Hoover and the 1930 Drought

Part 1 -- The Forgotten Crisis For many Americans, 1930 was a year of struggle as the national economy sank into what became the Great Depression. In the history books, the stock market and urban unemployment often take center stage, leaving aside the hardships of rural America.  Already reeling from a decade of depressed prices … Continue reading Herbert Hoover and the 1930 Drought

Lou Henry Hoover’s White House History

In 1930, First Lady Lou Henry Hoover asked one of her secretaries, Dare Stark McMullin, to compile some information about the historic furnishings in the White House.  What began as a simple list grew into a massive project to document the history of the White House itself and the art and furnishings of each Administration.   … Continue reading Lou Henry Hoover’s White House History