The dedication page of "The Tapestry Room Murder" by Carolyn Wells Houghton. It says: "To Herbert Hoover, my long time friend who lives up to the presidential tradition of liking detective stories."

Mystery Writers Read by the Hoovers: Part V, Carolyn Wells Houghton

By Thomas F. Schwartz Carolyn Wells was born on June 18, 1862, in Rahway, New Jersey. She worked as a librarian after completing her education, accounting for her interest in books and writing. Her marriage to Hadwin Houghton, heir to the publishing house Houghton-Mifflin, provided an additional tie to the book world.  Author of 170 books, … Continue reading Mystery Writers Read by the Hoovers: Part V, Carolyn Wells Houghton

A page inside of the mystery novel "The Matilda Hunter Murder" tells readers to stop and guess who the murderer is. Readers at the time were encouraged to send in their guess as to "who done it."

Mystery Writers Read by the Hoovers: Part IV

By Thomas F. Schwartz Lawrence Saunders (a pseudonym for the married couple John Burton Davis and Clare Ogden Davis, not the Lawrence Saunders of The Anderson Tapes) and Harry Stephen Keeler are relatively unknown today but were rather well-known mystery writers in their day. The Columnist Murder (1931) was dedicated to Walter Winchell, the infamous gossip … Continue reading Mystery Writers Read by the Hoovers: Part IV

A group sits inside the President's cabin at Camp Rapidan. Lou Henry Hoover is seen on the left with guests.

Mystery Writers Read by the Hoovers: Part III

A group sits inside the President's cabin at Camp Rapidan. Lou Henry Hoover is seen on the left knitting. By Thomas F. Schwartz Many of the leading mystery writers of the era were English and tended to place murder settings in country manors. Class status, a pronounced feature of British society up to and beyond World … Continue reading Mystery Writers Read by the Hoovers: Part III

Mystery Writers Read by the Hoovers: Part II

August 20, 1932: President Hoover, Lou Henry Hoover and Weegie relaxing at Rapidan Camp. By Thomas F. Schwartz How do we know what mystery writers were read by the Hoovers and available for visitors to Camp Rapidan? There are two boxes of 3x5” cards with the names of the author, title, and location of the … Continue reading Mystery Writers Read by the Hoovers: Part II

Lessons of History? The Use and Misuse of Smoot-Hawley Tariff

Rep. W.C. Hawley and Sen. Reed Smoot, April 11, 1929.Library of Congress, National Photo Company Collection, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.17371. A popular understanding of studying history is reflected in an attribution to the philosopher George Santayana: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The notion that history contains lessons that if only studied … Continue reading Lessons of History? The Use and Misuse of Smoot-Hawley Tariff

Herbert Hoover and “The Star Spangled Banner”

The American flag flying in front of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum by Spencer Howard Did you know that on March 3, 1931 President Hoover signed the law that designated "The Star Spangled Banner" as our national anthem? For more than a century, the people of the United States debated what song, if any, should … Continue reading Herbert Hoover and “The Star Spangled Banner”

Johnny Cash and Herbert Hoover Confront Prison Reform

On display until March 19 is our temporary exhibit, 1968: A Folsom Redemption. The exhibit tells the story of the Johnny Cash live recording concert for the inmates of Folsom and its aftermath. The concert rebooted Cash’s career and began a series of concerts he gave at various prisons. He became an inspiration for many … Continue reading Johnny Cash and Herbert Hoover Confront Prison Reform

Modern Hoover Myths: Part 4

President Hoover, in formal attire, greets President elect Herrera of Columbia, June 2, 1930. (HHPL-M image #31-1930-45) Critics have often claimed that Hoover lacked the social graces required of a President. What constitutes required “social graces” of any President is subjective. One of America’s greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, was criticized for the vestiges of his … Continue reading Modern Hoover Myths: Part 4

Modern Hoover Myths: Part I

Former President Herbert Hoover shaking hands, 1940 Popular histories are meant to provide a broad audience access to history that is not written exclusively for an academic audience. As such, the writing tends to be livelier with numerous anecdotes that are memorable but might lack veracity. Footnotes, that are intended to keep academic writings honest … Continue reading Modern Hoover Myths: Part I

The Hoover grandchildren at the White House

Peggy Ann, Joan and Peter Hoover at the White House, December 1930. by Spencer Howard Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover’s grandchildren were an important but little publicized part of the Hoover White House.  Their youngest son, Allan, had just graduated from Stanford University and was still single when his father became President, but, their older … Continue reading The Hoover grandchildren at the White House