Days of Reckoning-Herbert Hoover’s Birthdays at age 80+

by Matthew Schaeffer

Former President Herbert Hoover in his office, 1957.

Former President Herbert Hoover in his office, 1957.

Many years after Hoover left the White House, he became a respected elder statesman.  Hoover relished this role, giving advice to Democrats and Republicans alike as he entered his eighties.  At this late stage of his life, Hoover came to be seen as a model of vigorous aging.  Magazine articles were written praising his active lifestyle and agile mind.  Even Joseph Pilates [yes that Pilates] sought to meet with Hoover to discuss fitness and aging.  Hoover declined to take the meeting.

While it is said that no man is a hero to his valet, Hoover’s staff were the exception to this rule.  They held the ‘Chief’ in high esteem.  As Hoover entered his late eighties, his secretaries and staff were routinely amazed by his energy, focus, and productivity.  Hoover had neither lost a step, nor slowed down.  He had too much left to do—too many speeches to give, more books to write, more Boys’ Clubs to dedicate, and more fish to catch—to spend time comparing ills, chills and pills with age peers.

Hoover’s staff would celebrate Hoover’s latest birthday by tabulating his accomplishments for the past year.  The compilation for July 31, 1958 lists: Hoover has four secretaries and one research assistant; he works seven days a week, fourteen hours a day; Hoover made nine major speeches and twenty-one minor speeches; he wrote 55,952 letters [not including birthday or Christmas greetings]; Hoover published one book, The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson; he served as President Eisenhower’s representative to the Brussels Exposition; he dedicated seven new Boys’ Clubs and one Hoover school; Hoover traveled 19,952 miles by air and over 3,000 miles by auto to attend these duties.

Hoover’s staff compiled similar lists for 1959, 1960, 1961 and 1962. Each list grows more impressive as one realizes these were the actions of a man ages 85, 86, 87 and 88.  We should all age in this manner.

Posted in Herbert Hoover | Tagged | Leave a comment

Bonus Army

Soldiers passing through the area near Capital were severe rioting took place between police and Bonus Army. July 28, 1932

Soldiers passing through the area near the Capital were severe rioting took place between police and Bonus Army. 07/28/1932 #31-1932-9

In late June, 1932, a few hundred unemployed World War I veterans boarded freight trains in Portland, Oregon.  Out of work and overwhelmed by the Depression, they had decided to go to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress for early payment of a soldier’s bonus that was scheduled to be paid in 1945.  Along the way the “Bonus March” picked up recruits and arrived in Washington numbering between 8,000 and 25,000 men.  Accounts of the number of participants varied, but because some of the men were accompanied by their wives and children, the entire “Bonus Army” may have numbered as many as 60,000.

It was rumored that some the marchers were not veterans, but were actually Communists or criminals bent on causing a confrontation.  President Hoover believed that most of the marchers were honest veterans, and should be allowed to assemble, as long as they did so peacefully.  Upon arrival, some of the bonus marchers constructed campsites on Anacostia Flats, at the edge of Washington D.C.  Others occupied abandoned buildings in the city.  The President quietly ordered the police and National Guard to distribute Army rations, tents, cots and medical supplies to the Bonus Army.

Congress had previously rejected proposals for early payment of the bonus, and the President recommended that they again decline any early payments.  Veterans’ benefits already comprised 25% of the 1932 federal budget, and to pay the bonus would have cost billions of dollars that the government didn’t have.  In July, the Senate rejected the bonus bill 62 to 18.  Many of the bonus seekers went home, aided by interest-free loans charged against their bonus certificates to pay the train fare.  A few thousand remained behind, though again the reported numbers varied.

On the morning of July 28, Treasury department officials attempted to evict about forty of the veterans who had been living in an abandoned building that was scheduled for demolition.  When the veterans refused to leave, the police were called in.  The Bonus Army began to gather in force, soon outnumbering the police.  Some of the policemen panicked and opened fire.  Two of the veterans were killed, and a riot broke out.

The District of Columbia Board of Commissioners quickly concluded that the police were overwhelmed, and asked President Hoover to send troops to help restore order.  Hoover ordered the Secretary of War, Patrick Hurley, to cooperate with the police.  Hurley ordered Douglas MacArthur, Army Chief of Staff, to “cooperate fully with the District of Columbia police force which is now in charge.  Surround the affected area and clear it without delay.  Turn over all prisoners to the civil authorities.  In your orders insist that any women and children who may be in the affected area be accorded every consideration and kindness.  Use all humanity consistent with the due execution of this order.”

MacArthur thought the riot might be the beginning of a Communist revolution, and he may have immediately made plans not only to quell the riot, but also to force the evacuation of the campsites on Anacostia Flats and expel the Bonus Army from the District.  He later claimed that the Police Superintendent had verbally requested such action.  MacArthur assembled a battalion of infantry, a squadron of cavalry and a platoon of tanks to deploy against the rioters.  At 4:30 p.m., MacArthur’s forces began to advance slowly, ordering groups of rioters to disperse as they encountered them.  Tear gas was used when groups refused to cooperate.

The soldiers arrived at Anacostia Flats a little after 9 p.m.  Most of the protesters had fled the area.  Soon the empty shacks and abandoned campsites were in flames.  MacArthur claimed that he had specifically prohibited burning the camps, and that they had been set ablaze by the retreating rioters.  He ordered his forces to demolish the remaining campsites in order to prevent the fire from spreading out of control, and to gather any remaining Army tents, cots, and supplies that had been given to the Bonus Army by the government.  The next day, the troops rounded up stragglers and completed the destruction of the camps.

Initially, the press was fairly sympathetic with President Hoover and to some extent applauded MacArthur’s actions, based on the assumption that the rioting was the work of criminal elements, not honest veterans.  Public reaction, however, was largely negative;  most of the nation thought it was shameful to deploy tanks, tear gas and bayonets against unarmed veterans.  In far off Albany, New York, Democratic presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt grasped the political implications instantly.  He told a friend on hearing the news, “Well, this elects me.”

Posted in Presidency | Tagged | Leave a comment

Shakespeare, Hoover, and Calvin Hoffman

President and Mrs. Hoover attending the dedication ceremonies of the new Folger Shakespeare Library.

President and Mrs. Hoover attending the dedication ceremonies of the new Folger Shakespeare Library.

By Thomas F. Schwartz

William Shakespeare remains one of the most studied individuals in world history.  Among the many writers about the Bard of Avon, James Shapiro, the Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, explores the life of William Shakespeare and his writings for a general audience in a number of recent studies.  A popular theme among Shakespeare buffs is the question of whether William Shakespeare actually authored the plays and sonnets attributed to him or was it another contemporary such as Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, or the Earl of Oxford? In his book, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?, Shapiro examines all of the authorship claims concluding that William Shakespeare did indeed exist and write the plays and sonnets attributed to him.   But this position was not always the accepted one, with many learned individuals championing Marlowe, Bacon and the Earl of Oxford.  Among those who accepted Christopher Marlowe as the actual author of Shakespeare’s writings were Herbert and Lou Hoover.

The Hoovers attended a number of Shakespeare plays during their residence in London as evidenced by retained playbills of numerous performances.  Lou attempts to expose her two young sons to the classics of world literature met with little success as they were not interested in Shakespeare’s plays.  According to an oral history with Calvin Hoffman, a proponent of Christopher Marlowe as the real author of Shakespeare works, Lou came to the conclusion that Shakespeare did not write the works attributed to him “on the basis of facts.”  She had difficulty accepting Shakespeare as author based upon the known information about him at the time, which was very little.  After Lou’s death in 1944, Hoover continued his interest in Shakespeare, fueled by his friend and colleague William C. Mullendore.  It was Mullendore who introduced Hoover to Calvin Hoffman.  Hoffman published a widely read study, The Murder of the Man Who Was “Shakespeare” (1955).  He believed that Christopher Marlowe was the real “Shakespeare” and tried to prove it by opening the crypt of Thomas Walsingham—Marlowe’s patron—where a chest of hidden unpublished plays allegedly resided.  Hoffman believed that the manuscripts would provide the forensic literary evidence showing the writing style known as Shakespeare to really be Marlowe. Like the live television broadcast of Geraldo Rivera opening up the vault in the Lexington Hotel frequented by Al Capone hoping to reveal a secret hoard of cash only to find discarded glass bottles, opening Walsingham’s crypt only uncovered sand, no chest with manuscripts.

Posted in Herbert Hoover, Hoover Family | Tagged | Leave a comment

National Archives and Herbert Hoover

by: Matthew Schaefer

It should come as no surprise that Herbert Hoover gave thought to the nature and operation of the National Archives.  When World War I was winding down, Hoover [in addition to work with Wilson at the Paris Treaty talks and overseeing the feeding of Europe] created the Hoover Institution of War, Revolution and Peace on the Stanford campus.  The Hoover Institution was established as an archives to document nothing less than the World War, ongoing revolutions, and the emerging peace being hammered out in Paris.

President Hoover laying the cornerstone for the National Archives building. 02/20/1933

President Hoover laying the cornerstone for the National Archives building. 02/20/1933

While President, Hoover was heartened to see Congress pass legislation funding the creation of the National Archives building.  He was dismayed when funding to staff the nascent National Archives stalled in the Senate in mid-1930.  Prompted by Secretary of Treasury Andrew Mellon, Hoover surveyed heads of executive departments to: recommend someone to serve on a committee to oversee records management, review the nature and volume of records in each department, and plan for transfer of these records to the National Archives building.  Vice President Curtis and Secretaries Wilbur, Stimson, and Hurley dutifully replied.

The National Archives next appeared on Hoover’s radar when dozens of letters reached his office in early 1931 recommending Assistant Librarian of Congress Thomas P. Martin for the post of Archivist of the United States.  These unsolicited letters of recommendation came from a range of sources: editor the Chattanooga News, chair of the Wittenberg [Ohio] College Department of History, the Hispanic American Review, and Harvard University’s Samuel Eliot Morrison.  Martin sent Hoover a hand-written letter on April 9, 1931, stating that he had no interest in the Archivist job, primarily because the position had not yet been funded.

In one of his final acts as President, Hoover spoke at the laying of the cornerstone for the National Archives building on February 20, 1933.  Such rituals are de rigeur for Presidents and usually leave no lasting impression.  Hoover’s remarks, ‘On Providing Living Habituation for Romance of History: Remarks Made at the Laying of the Cornerstone of the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.,’ have receded almost entirely from historic awareness.  Despite invoking George Washington, the Charters of Freedom, and the expression of the American soul, scant attention was paid to the celebration of ‘this temple of our history.’

In other news February 20, 1933, the House of Representatives approved submitting the 21st Amendment to the states for ratification.  This Amendment would repeal the 18th Amendment prohibiting the sale and distribution of most types of alcohol in America.  Not for the first time, history finishes a distant second to the rising tide of beer in terms of newsworthiness.

 

Posted in Herbert Hoover, Presidency | Tagged | Leave a comment

An Appeal to President Hoover to Prevent Putting Lincoln on the Couch

President Abraham Lincoln, 1863.

By Thomas F. Schwartz

Although Abraham Lincoln predates Sigmund Freud, the Illinois lawyer did write to famed Cincinnati physician Dr. Daniel Drake for help during his emotional crisis of “the hypo” in 1841.  If Drake replied to Lincoln’s letter, it has never surfaced.  Since then, both professionals and amateurs have tried to explain Lincoln’s personality.  One particular incident led to a number of individuals lobbying President Herbert Hoover to intervene.  The incident is instructive both because of the prominent persons involved as well as Hoover’s response.

Dr. Abraham Arden Brill (1874-1948) announced that he planned on delivering a paper at the American Psychiatric Association meeting in Toronto, Canada on June 5, 1931 in which he characterizes Abraham Lincoln as a “schizoid-manic personality.”  Brill was hardly a quack.  Rather, he provided the first English translations of Sigmund Freud’s work introducing into the American lexicon Freudian concepts such as transference, repression, displacement, and unconscious.  Brill founded the New York Psychoanalytic Society and served for a time as head of the psychiatry clinic at Columbia University before going into private practice.  He is widely known for his advising famous public relations guru Edward L. Bernays (1891-1995) on how to overcome the stigma surrounding women smoking cigarettes.  Brill suggested that cigarettes be viewed as “torches of freedom.”  Bernays hired a number of young models to march in the 1929 New York City Easter Parade and on his cue, lit Lucky Strikes in front of a group of photographers he had assembled.  The women’s “torches of freedom” were lit as a protest against male domination but also to help Bernays’ sponsor , the American Tobacco Company, promote its most popular cigarette brand to a new audience—women.

Brill’s characterization of Lincoln as a “schizoid-manic personality” immediately drew the ire of fellow psychiatrist Dr. Edward Everett Hicks senior physician of the psychopathic department of Kings County Hospital, New York.  Hicks was an avid history buff and member of the Sons of the American Revolution as well as the Society of Mayflower Descendants.  He made a formal protest to the American Psychiatric Association regarding Brill’s intended paper and received the assistance of F. Walter Mueller, Eastern Division Sales Manager for the Continental Lithograph Corporation.  It was Mueller who took it upon himself to write to Lawrence Ritchie, Secretary to President Hoover, seeking to obtain a Presidential request to suppress Brill’s paper from being delivered in Canada.

The media enjoyed the brief controversy because it provided entertaining copy.  An unidentified instructor of psychology declared: “Some of our psychiatrists and psychologists seem to get so saturated with abnormal in their practice that they lost the normal point of view.   They then get a compulsion to pigeonhole all persons, and especially eminent men in the routine psychiatric categories.”  One less kind reaction goaded Hicks: “I hope you hit the illustrious gentleman [Brill] in the solar plexus, and once for me too.”   Hicks offered the following assessment of Brill to the press:  “I understand Dr. Brill is an alien.  If he was not born here and was permitted to become a citizen, it seems very bad taste for him to criticize a man of the caliber of Lincoln.  If psychiatrists would modify some of their fantastic theories and apply more common sense, the American public would have greater respect for them.  Psychiatrists and psychoanalysts ought to be analyzed themselves and classified as to the types they belong to.”  Hicks was reminded by the reporter that “you’re a psychiatrist too.”  Hicks replied laconically—“yes”—and smiled.

Hoover idolized Abraham Lincoln but wanted no part in the controversy.  Lawrence Richey replied to F. Walter Mueller’s letter indicating: “The matter of an address before a scientific association in another country is not, it seems to me, within the purview of the President’s duties.”  Brill delivered his paper on Lincoln, one which people have since little noted nor long remembered.

Posted in Presidency | Tagged | Leave a comment

SS President Hoover (2)

by Spencer Howard

After the demise of the first  SS President Hoover, the precarious financial situation of the Dollar Line led the U.S. Maritime Commission to take control of the line in late 1938, and the name of the company was changed to American President Lines Ltd. Instead of the $ sign that had graced the funnels of the Dollar ships, the new symbol was a white eagle.

In May 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed a state of national emergency due to the war in Europe, and the armed forces began chartering the American President Lines ships. Over the next four years, the American President Lines ships were decimated by the war. At the start of the war there had 20 ships. Of these, only three were left at the end of the war. After the war, the Dollar family attempted through legal means to recover the company from the government, but was unsuccessful. They still had a stake in the company, and when the line was sold, the money was split between the Dollar family and the US Government. The company was purchased by a group called APL Associates. The company lives on today and now is one of the biggest container shipping companies in the world.

https://hoover.blogs.archives.gov/2015/12/09/ss-presidenthoover/

The second SS President Hoover.

The second SS President Hoover was built in 1939 as the Panama for the Panama Lines service from New York, via Haiti, carrying 216 first class passengers and cargo. She was sold to American President Lines in 1957, renamed the President Hoover, and put into service on a Pacific circuit from San Francisco. In 1962 she was replaced by the larger President Roosevelt (which later became the Chandris Atlantis). Chandris Line acquired President Hoover in 1964 and renamed her Regina. She was finally scrapped in 1985.

After the end of the passenger liner era, APL named two cargo ships in honor of Mr. Hoover. President Hoover (3) served under the APL flag from 1967 to 1972; President Hoover (4) served from 1979 to 1996.

Posted in Herbert Hoover, Hoover Namesakes | Leave a comment

Sources of Hoover’s Conservative Thought

by Thomas Schwartz

President Hoover at the rededication of Lincoln's tomb, June 17, 1931.

President Hoover at the rededication of Lincoln’s tomb, June 17, 1931.

George N. Nash, the foremost biographer of Herbert Hoover and historian of American conservative thought, wrote: “Often is seems that Herbert Hoover is the Rodney Dangerfield of American politics: He gets no respect.” This is especially true of Hoover contribution to the development of modern conservative thought. A recent study contrasting the political views of Herbert Hoover to Franklin Roosevelt indicated Hoover’s indebtedness to the political philosophy of Abraham Lincoln without clearly identifying its inspiration. A careful examination of Hoover’s American Individualism to Lincoln’s writings clearly establishes the direct link. Hoover’s main argument in the seminal 1922 publication is that a unique American individualism separates the United States from the rest of the world. “Individualism cannot be maintained as the foundation of a society if it looks to only legalistic justice based upon contracts, property, and political equality. Such legalistic safeguard are themselves not enough. In our individualism we have long since abandoned the laissez faire of the 18th Century – the notion that it is ‘everyman for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ We abandoned that when we adopted the ideal of equality of opportunity – the fair chance of Abraham Lincoln.”

What is Lincoln’s idea of the fair chance? Lincoln clearly delineates it in his special message to Congress on July 4, 1861: “This is essentially a People’s contest. On the side of Union it is a struggle for maintaining in the world, that form, and substance of government, whose leading object is, to elevate the condition of men – to lift artificial weights from all shoulders – to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all – to afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life.” Lincoln expands upon the idea in an address to the 166th Ohio Regiment on August 22, 1864: “It is not merely for today, but for all time to come that we should perpetuate for our children’s children this great and free government, which we have enjoyed all our lives. I beg you to remember this, not merely for my sake, but for yours. I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am a living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has. It is in order that each of you may have through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise and intelligence; that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life, with all its desirable human aspirations. It is for this the struggle should be maintained, that we may not lose our birthright – not only for one, but for two or three years. The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel.”

If Hoover’s idea of American individualism was rooted in Lincoln’s notion of the “fair chance,” it embodied both the distinctive self-governance of the American republic along with the implied responsibilities of the individual in maintaining that form of government and preserving individual liberty. Such beliefs would not abide the slavery of blacks in Lincoln’s day or constraints to individual freedom that Hoover saw in governments espousing communism, socialism, fascism, and collectivism. Russell Kirk, the influential conservative writer and theorist of the late 20th Century, critical of the power of centralized government and how it erodes individual thought and reflection of political leaders, still found Hoover unique. “The last American president to do his own thinking, “ wrote Kirk in his classic study, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot, “was Herbert Hoover; the last British prime minister of intellectual distinction was Arthur Balfour.” Kirk’s comment hints at Hoover’s greater influence on conservative thought than is usually recognized.

Posted in Herbert Hoover | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Traditional Links: Father’s Day & Golf

by Hunter Staskevich, Intern

Father’s Day is coming up and thoughts turn to grilling out and a round of golf. Here at the Hoover, work continues as normal but these reflections came to mind while answering a reference question on Hugh R. Wilson.

Former president Hoover at the Reich Chancellery with Chancellor Adolf Hitler and Hugh Wilson. 31-1938-29

Former president Hoover at the Reich Chancellery with Chancellor Adolf Hitler and Hugh Wilson. 31-1938-29

Wilson was a U.S. diplomat during the 1920’s and 1930’s who served in Japan and Germany. A patron posed a question regarding the changing atmosphere in Germany for the Jewish citizens and increasing militarization in the country as war was about to erupt in Europe. To answer this question, I did a thorough search of Wilson’s 1938 diary when he was stationed in Berlin looking for any information relevant to the patron’s request.

Although I did eventually find what I was looking for, I was surprised to find the incredible amount of information on both Wilson’s golf game and dinner parties he attended. Wilson, in his diary, had avoided talking about current events in Germany and instead described every round of golf he played and every dinner party he took part in while in Berlin. I guess being a diplomat back then had its perks although too bad grilling wasn’t a thing in 1930’s Germany.

Happy Father’s Day to everyone,

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rites of Spring: June Edition

By Matthew Schaefer

Just as spring follows winter and Mother’s day follows Easter, every June brings graduation ceremonies.  This particular rite of passage is familiar to all.  Those about to graduate don the requisite cap and gown. Friends and family convene to mark the occasion. Speakers gather up their most sonorous pearls of wisdom to dispense to an inattentive audience.  Everyone hopes that the ceremony will finish quickly, so that folks can get on with their life.

ca August 1928, Herbert, Lou and Allan Hoover in West Branch, Iowa.

ca August 1928, Herbert, Lou and Allan Hoover in West Branch, Iowa. 31-1928-a28

Even sons of the President and First Lady are not immune to this particular life passage. In mid-June 1929, Allan Hoover, second son of Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover, stood ready to graduate from Stanford.  For Allan Hoover, Stanford was familiar terrain.  Not only had both of his parents and his older brother graduated from Stanford, Allan had spent most of his life in the shadow of the campus.  Even the scheduled commencement speaker, Ray Lyman Wilbur was a close family friend [as well as President of Stanford and Secretary of the Interior].

Perhaps all these factors played a part in Herbert and Lou Hoover’s decisions not to attend Allan’s graduation ceremony.  Perhaps the elder Hoovers were compelled by the press of business to stay in Washington DC.  In any event, they communicated their congratulations from a distance.  Lou’s June 11th telegram read: ‘The very best good luck in the world to you on your last working day in the old diggings STOP I am distressed beyond words that I have demanding duties here which prevent my actually seeing you walk the plank…’  President Hoover’s letter of June 13th read: ‘Congratulations and best wishes.  I wish we were all going to be there to give three cheers, because you certainly deserve them.  However we will do what we can for you when you come to see us.  In the meantime, enclosed is a check for $500 for your household accounts.’

Allan Hoover’s replies to his parents’ missives are not extant.  On June 13th, Lou sent another telegram: ‘Been trying to get you two nights hope you were off celebrating STOP Will try again tonight…  Would like to give you my half of the mutual car fully paid up for graduating present.’  Once again, Allan Hoover’s reply is not part of the collections here.  One can readily surmise that Allan may have spent two days celebrating and very likely looked forward to full ownership of an automobile.

On June 17th 1929, Allan Hoover graduated from Stanford.  Each of his parents wrote a touching note: ‘May you commence today a life as satisfying as your past has been to your parents-Dad.’ ‘Buy yourself a bouquet and lots of candy from us. The days’ trip won’t be long nor very trying; phone me as soon as its over-most love ever-Mum’

It is good to be reminded that POTUS and FLOTUS have lives outside the public sphere. It is important to remember that parents, whatever their station, are fiercely proud of their children.

Posted in Hoover Family | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mary Roberts Rinehart, Queen of the Mystery Novels

by Thomas Schwartz

Writer Mary Roberts Rinehart

Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover shared an interest in mystery novels. Popular mystery writers appear with frequency among the titles in their personal library, especially at Camp Rapidan. One of the first women to excel in the genre was Mary Roberts Rinehart, who was also a personal friend of the Hoovers. Among her many celebrity fans were President Woodrow Wilson and Gertrude Stein.

Long before Agatha Christie, P.D. James, and Patricia Cornwell, Rinehart was America’s premier female writer of the “who done it.” She rose to national fame in 1907 with her novel The Circular Staircase. Her 1920 play The Bat inspired the 1930 movie,The Bat Whispers,which became a source of inspiration for comic book artist Bob Kane in the creation of Batman. In her 1930 mystery novel, The Door, the butler is the killer, establishing the genre cliche, “the butler did it.”

Rinehart, a nurse by profession, took up writing to supplement her family’s income. The mystery novels were the most lucrative source of her writing endeavors but she also served as a regular contributor to popular magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post and Ladies’ Home Journal. When war broke out in Europe in August 1914, Rinehart served as a war correspondent, covering the conflict. This war correspondent work first introduced her to the Hoovers forming a life-long friendship.

A warm Hoover partisan, Rinehart wrote two favorable articles on the Hoover Administration: “A New First Lady Becomes Hostess For The Nation,” and “What five of our Presidents have told Mary Roberts Rinehart about ‘The Worst Job in the World.’” She reluctantly accepted Hoover’s offer to place her on the Commission on Conservation and Administration of the Public Domain. The reluctance had less to do with the subject matter, issues she felt deeply about, but rather the time commitment that would detract from her writing. After Hoover’s reelection defeat in 1932, Rinehart wrote a letter of consolation claiming “there can be no doubt that this one term of yours will go down in history as a great and outstanding one, and that your policies have set a precedent which will last.” Her comments about FDR were less complimentary, asserting: “Of course putting Roosevelt in just now is like handing the government to a child. He has never thought in national or international terms in his life. And real economy in the face of a hungry horde of Democrats and a clamoring south is probably out of the question.” Hoover’s reply was more magnanimous: “That was a beautiful note you sent me! However, I don’t suppose the national stream of America will be stopped because of anything either one of us does or does not do.”

Among Hoover’s papers is an undated memorandum “Notes on Proposed Mary Robert Rinehart Foundation.” It outlines establishing a monetary award to “develop storytellers.” In fact, the Mary Roberts Rinehart Foundation underwrites an annual “Mary Roberts Rinehart Award” that is presented to a woman writer of a major nonfiction work.

Posted in Books, Herbert Hoover | Tagged | Leave a comment