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

Mary Bethune: Adviser to Presidents

Mary McLeod Bethune was a prominent African-American educator and public servant in the early 20th century.  Born in South Carolina in 1875, she was the 15th of 17 children of former slaves Samuel and Patsy McLeod.  As a child she excelled in her studies at a mission school and won scholarships for advanced education.  She … Continue reading Mary Bethune: Adviser to Presidents

Ernie Shackleton: A Lesson in Leadership

I have often posted stories here about a humanitarian whose efforts led him to ensure that millions of people would not starve. These are the stories about Herbert Hoover or, as I call him, Bert. Let me now tell a story about Ernie. Ernie was blessed with a boundless energy and an unquenchable passion for … Continue reading Ernie Shackleton: A Lesson in Leadership

Hoover and the 1932 Olympic Games

By Thomas F. Schwartz The Olympic games originated in ancient Greece as a religious and athletic festival, providing a forum of friendly competition among otherwise factious city-states. Revived in the late 1800s, the tradition of holding games every four years was well established by the 1920s.  The United States hosted the 1932 winter games in … Continue reading Hoover and the 1932 Olympic Games

New Year’s Day, January 1, 1931

By Thomas F. Schwartz A tradition observed by Herbert and Lou Hoover annually invited the Diplomatic Corps and the public to the White House on New Year’s Day.  The President and First Lady would head a receiving line and greet the Diplomatic Corps first and then the public.  It was an exhausting event where several … Continue reading New Year’s Day, January 1, 1931

Make Sure Your Getaway Vehicle Doesn’t Break Down

The following story is filed with Bureau of Standards reports to Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover: On Sunday morning, March 20, 1921, the arrest of a young man and the recovery of a truck full of Government radio equipment was reported to the Superintendent of the Bureau of Standards.  The robbery was committed by Oscar … Continue reading Make Sure Your Getaway Vehicle Doesn’t Break Down

Respectful Partisans: Herbert Hoover and Bernard Baruch

Former president Herbert Hoover talks with Bernard Baruch at the final dinner of the Boys' Clubs of America's 45th annual convention at New York's Hotel Commodore. 05/10/1951. By Thomas F. Schwartz The relationship between Herbert Hoover and Bernard Baruch was both mutual admiration and petty jealousy.  They saw in one another tremendous strengths and skills … Continue reading Respectful Partisans: Herbert Hoover and Bernard Baruch