Christmas in Vienna, 1920 — Part 1: A visit from Santa

The year 2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I.  As far as most Americans were concerned, that was the end of the war – the fighting stopped, the doughboys soon came home, and the Versailles Peace Conference concluded an acceptable peace. In much of Europe, the Armistice brought no … Continue reading Christmas in Vienna, 1920 — Part 1: A visit from Santa

Movie Review – Snow White

Just over 80 years ago, Walt Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first feature length cel animated film, which quickly became both a critical and commercial success.  While still popular today, Snow White may seem somewhat quaint compared with more recent animated films, but at the time it was truly revolutionary.  Nothing … Continue reading Movie Review – Snow White

When is a yacht not a yacht?

by Spencer Howard At his news conference on March 22, 1929, President Hoover announced that he had ordered the Presidential yacht, USS Mayflower, decommissioned.  He explained, "The Secretary of the Navy reports that it costs over $300,000 a year to maintain the yacht and that it requires a complement of 9 officers and 148 enlisted … Continue reading When is a yacht not a yacht?

Lou Henry Hoover’s Narrow Escape?

by Spencer Howard Washington Star, March 18, 1928 MRS HOOVER ESCAPES INJURIES IN CAR CRASH Secretary's wife and two friends leap from auto hanging at bridge edge Winchester, March 17 – Mrs. Herbert Hoover, wife of the Secretary of Commerce, Mrs. Hugh Cumming, wife of the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, … Continue reading Lou Henry Hoover’s Narrow Escape?

What ever Happened to Herbert Hoover’s Kids?

by Spencer Howard Visitors to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum often ask, what ever happened to the Hoovers' kids?  Both of their sons lived productive lives, though neither achieved as much fame as their father. Herbert Charles Hoover was born in London on August 4, 1903.  He was named for his father, Herbert Clark Hoover, … Continue reading What ever Happened to Herbert Hoover’s Kids?

The President’s Mountain School

by Spencer Howard When Hoover became President in 1929, he decided to build a weekend retreat – a fishing camp – some place where he could escape from Washington and unwind.  He chose a site on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia about 100 miles from Washington, where two small streams … Continue reading The President’s Mountain School

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Not Quite American

By Spencer Howard Lou Henry Hoover's papers include numerous files documenting some of the secretaries, servants and aides that worked for her over the years.  Among them is a folder of letters that tell the story of a Filipino, Matias Estella. Matias Estella was born in the Philippines around 1896.  Two years later, the United … Continue reading Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Not Quite American

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930

In any discussion of President Hoover’s economic policies, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff often takes center stage.  What's typically omitted, however, is the context in which the bill emerged. From the earliest days of the republic, a protective tariff was one of the bedrock principles of U.S. economic policy.    In the late 19th and early 20th century, … Continue reading The Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930

Desegregating the Commerce Department

  In 1928, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover took action for the civil rights of African Americans that was both momentous and trivial – he desegregated the Commerce Department. As his assistant, George Akerson pointed out, the official policy of the Coolidge Administration was that segregation was prohibited in Federal employment.  In reality, an "unwritten … Continue reading Desegregating the Commerce Department