Army and Navy Union USA at the Hoover Gravesite

Visitors to the gravesite of Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover are often struck by its dignified simplicity.  Two ledger stones of Vermont white marble mark their resting place, inscribed only with their names and life dates.  No epitaph records their achievements or honors.  Located at the top of a small rise known as “the overlook,” … Continue reading Army and Navy Union USA at the Hoover Gravesite

Freedom Betrayed

Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath Nearly eighty years ago, during World War II, former President Herbert Hoover began writing the first words of what was later to be called his “magnum opus.”  The "magnum opus" originated as a volume of Hoover’s memoirs, a book initially focused … Continue reading Freedom Betrayed

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 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

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

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

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