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

Christmas Gift Exchanges in the Waldorf-Astoria

My colleagues here sometimes tease me about ‘my favorite thing’ in the archives.  It is Hoover’s reading copy of a speech he gave at Cairo in April 1946.  It is inscribed to Kitty Milbank, one of Hoover’s close friends: ‘Dear Kitty, This is one of the most important speeches I have ever delivered.’  Hoover gave … Continue reading Christmas Gift Exchanges in the Waldorf-Astoria

Chance and Circumstance: Pearl Harbor in History

History is strange.  It has a perverse way of folding back on itself like a Mobius strip.  I once listened to an entire lecture by a seasoned historian who, after years of research and thought, ascribed the cause of the 1967 Detroit riots to chance and circumstance.  Really?  Can we resolve complex events to such … Continue reading Chance and Circumstance: Pearl Harbor in History

John W. Hill on Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy

By Thomas F. Schwartz In his memoir, The Making of a Public Relations Man, John W. Hill, founder of the public relations firm Hill and Knowlton, Inc., devoted a chapter, “Hoover and Kennedy—A Study in Contrasts.”  Hill was a friend of Herbert Hoover so much of his assessment was not based upon hearsay from others … Continue reading John W. Hill on Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy

Mad Men and Miss Manners: A Hoover Christmas Carol

By Thomas F. Schwartz Bruce Barton is not a familiar name to most people but they certainly know some of his iconic brands such as Betty Crocker.  Barton was a principal in the advertising agency Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn.  The writer/director Matthew Weiner used the advertising industry as a model for his 2007 show … Continue reading Mad Men and Miss Manners: A Hoover Christmas Carol

H. L. Mencken: Sage of Baltimore

Former president Hoover with Stanford University president, Ray Lyman Wilbur, enjoying the Yale vs. Penn football game at Franklin Field. 10/13/1935 Sometimes history—and this blog post—take shape through coincidence.  For instance, I was in Baltimore last week for a family event.  I took advantage of the situation to do some literary sight-seeing, visiting the homes … Continue reading H. L. Mencken: Sage of Baltimore

Hoover’s November 5, 1938 Address Inspires A Political Cartoon

By Thomas F. Schwartz In an address delivered to a joint Republican organizations in Spokane, Washington, November 5, 1938, former president Herbert Hoover rebutted President Franklin Roosevelt’s claim of “his success in creating economic stability, prosperity and security for the average man.”  Hoover pointed out that President Roosevelt failed to mention, “the 11,000,000 unemployed or … Continue reading Hoover’s November 5, 1938 Address Inspires A Political Cartoon

The Hoover/Kennedy Letters.

“May you have the happiest new year imaginable.”  By Thomas F. Schwartz The recent film Jackie (2016) by Pablo Larrain offers an artistic interpretation of a life based on a 1963 Life magazine interview by Theodore H. White with the recently widowed Jacqueline Kennedy.  One typically would not connect Herbert Hoover with this fashionable First … Continue reading The Hoover/Kennedy Letters.

Hoover and the Teleprompter

A stereotype frequently attributed to Herbert Hoover is that he was cold and aloof. He did not have an official White House photographer (that would come with his successor, Franklin D. Roosevelt) and refused to have his family and private life as fair game for media coverage. Unlike later Presidents that used the media to … Continue reading Hoover and the Teleprompter

Oscar Winner Ethel Barrymore’s Birthday Greeting from a former President

By Thomas F. Schwartz In nineteenth-century America, the ruling family of the stage was the Booth family.  John Wilkes Booth forever ruined the family reputation by assassinating President Abraham Lincoln.  In the twentieth-century, the Barrymore family were the stars of stage and screen.  Beginning with Maurice Barrymore and his three children, John, Lionel, and Ethel, … Continue reading Oscar Winner Ethel Barrymore’s Birthday Greeting from a former President