Presidents: Herbert Hoover

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Herbert Hoover was president during the Great Depression. He was the first president born west of the Mississippi River.

Herbert Hoover

Herbert Clark Hoover was born on August 10,1874 in West Branch, Iowa. He was the son of Jesse and Shulda Randall Minthorn Hoover. He was raised in a Quaker family.

At the age of two he almost died from the croup, but was revived by his uncle. “As a child, he was often called by his father “my little stick in the mud”, since he repeatedly was trapped in the mud while crossing an unpaved street.”

In 1880, his father died. He lived with various uncles the rest of his childhood.

In 1891, he entered Stanford University, in it’s inaugural year. He claimed to be the very first student at Stanford. He won election as student treasurer while at Stanford and graduated in 1895. He studied geology while he was in school.

In his senior year he met Lou Henry and became smitten with her, but was not financially able to propose marriage.

” In 1892 Hoover invited Polish composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski to give a benefit concert. Hoover and his associates were unable to pay Paderewski the entire honorarium. The musician after hearing their story returned them the money so they could pay for rental of the concert hall. In 1919 Paderewski, who become prime minister of Poland, traveled to Hoover to thank him for the relief sent to Poland. “That’s all right, Mr. Paderewski,” Hoover replied. “Besides, you don’t remember it, but you helped me once when I was a student at college and I was in a hole.””

Herbert Hoover

After graduating, Hoover worked in the gold mining districts for a while. In 1897, he went to Australia to work for a London-based gold mining company. He worked his way up to junior partner.
He cabled to ask Lou Henry to marry him and when she agreed, he returned to the U.S. long enough to get married. The couple then traveled to China.

In 1901, he made partner of the mining firm where he worked.

In 1903, Herbert Charles Hoover was born and in 1907, Allan Henry Hoover was born.

In 1908, Hoover became an independent mining consultant, traveling worldwide until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. He left the company he worked at to begin his own company. By 1914, Hoover was a very wealthy man, with an estimated personal fortune of $4 million. He was once quoted as saying “If a man has not made a million dollars by the time he is forty, he is not worth much”.

“When World War I began in August 1914, Hoover helped organize the return of around 120,000 Americans from Europe. He led

Herbert Hoover

500 volunteers in distributing food, clothing, steamship tickets and cash. “I did not realize it at the moment, but on August 3, 1914, my career was over forever. I was on the slippery road of public life.”

After the United States entered the war in April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Hoover to head the U.S. Food Administration, which was created under the Lever Food Control Act in 1917 to ensure the nation’s food needs during the war.
After working with the Food Administration, Hoover became president of the Federated American Engineering Societies.

President Harding appointed Hoover Secretary of Commerce in his Cabinet. He would serve in both President Harding and President Coolidge administrations.

Herbert Hoover

“Hoover was also influential in the early development of air travel. He sought to create a thriving private industry boosted by indirect government subsidies. He encouraged the development of emergency landing fields and required all runways to be equipped with lights and radio beams. He also encouraged farmers to make use of planes for crop dusting. In light of his efforts, Washington, D.C. named its first airport Hoover Field.”

In 1927, President Coolidge announced he would not seek re-election. Hoover became the leading Republican candidate and won their nomination. He won the election for presidency.

He was inaugurated on March 4, 1929. He promised a “new phase of press relations”, which held until the 1929 Stock Marked Crash, when he reduced his availability and screened reporters.

On October 29, 1929, also known as Black Tuesday, the Wall Street Crash occurred. His spiraled the economy into the Great Depression. Unemployment reached an all time high during this time.

In 1932, World War I veterans and their families marched on Washington, DC demanding payment for their services.

According to historians, Hoover was “the last American president to take office with no conspicuous need to pay attention to the rest of the world.” But during Hoover’s term, the world order established with the 1919 Treaty of Versailles began to crumble.

In 1932 Hoover had the Republican nomination but knew he had little hope for re-election. New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt won the election.

Herbert and Lou Hoover

Hoover departed from Washington in March 1933, bitter at his election loss and continuing unpopularity. Upon leaving office, Hoover was the only living ex-President for nearly 19 years, until Harry Truman left office in 1953.

The Hoovers first lived in New York City and later returned to California. Lou Hoover died in 1944.

Hoover enjoyed going for long car drives and going fishing. He also published more than 16 books in his lifetime.

In 1939, Hoover became the first Honorary Chairman of Tolstoy Foundation in Valley Cottage, New York, and served in this capacity until his death.

In 1946, President Truman selected Hoover to tour Germany to ascertain the needs of the nation.

“In 1958, Congress passed the Former Presidents Act, offering a $25,000 yearly pension to each former president. Hoover, who was the only other living former president, took the pension even though he did not need the money; reportedly, he did so to avoid embarrassing former President Truman whose precarious financial status played a role in the law’s enactment.”

Herbert Hoover

In 1960, he appeared at his final Republican National Convention.

In 1962, Hoover had a malignant intestinal tumor removed.

Herbert Hoover died from massive internal bleeding on October 20, 1964 in New York City. He was 90 years old and had the longest retirement of any president at that time. {Jimmy Carter surpassed his record in 2012}.

Hoover and his wife are buried at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa. Hoover was honored with a state funeral.

He was the last living member of both the Harding and Coolidge administrations.
By the time of his death he had rehabilitated his image, from the unlikeable president of the Great Depression.


31st President of the United States
(March 4, 1929 to March 3, 1933)Nickname: None listed.

Born: August 10, 1874, in West Branch, Iowa
Died: October 20, 1964, in New York, New York

Father: Jesse Clark Hoover
Mother: Hulda Randall Minthorn Hoover
Married: Lou Henry (1875-1944), on February 10, 1899
Children: Herbert Clark Hoover (1903-69); Allan Henry Hoover (1907-93)

Religion: Society of Friends (Quaker)
Education: Graduated from Stanford University (1895).
Occupation: Engineer
Political Party: Republican

  • Secretary of Commerce, 1921-23
  • Secretary of Commerce, 1923-28

Presidential Salary: $75,000/year

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 leading to a important recession
The Bonus Army March
The President faced allegations of corruption


1874 Herbert Hoover was born on August 10, 1874 in West Branch, Iowa

1896 Gold discovered in the Yukon’s Klondike

1898 Spanish-American War

1899 Herbert Hoover was married to Lou Henry Hooveron February 10, 1899. They had 2 Children

1921-23 Herbert Hoover became Secretary of Commerce, 1921-23 (under Harding)

1923-28 Herbert Hoover became Secretary of Commerce, 1923-28 (under Coolidge)

1929 1929 Herbert Hoover became the President of the United States of America

1929 Stock Market Crash (1929)
Start of the Great Depression (1929)

1930 Hawley-Smoot Tariff (1930)

1932 Bonus Army March (1932)

1933 Lame Duck Amendment Ratified (1933)

1933 1933 The Presidency of Herbert Hooverended

1934 Dust Bowl begins

1939 Germany invades Poland; World War II begins

1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor
U.S. enters World War II

1945 Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Germany and Japan surrender, ending World War II

1946 The Cold War began between the United States and the Soviet Union

1949 NATO formed

1950 Senator Joseph McCarthy gains power and start Communist witch hunts (1950-1954)
Korean War begins

1953 Armistice in Korea

1954 SEATO alliance

1955 Warsaw Pact

1956 US installs Diem as leader of South Vietnam

1957 Civil Rights Act of 1957
Russians launch Sputnik

1958 NASA formed

1959 Cuban Revolution

1960 Greensboro sit-in
Civil Rights Act of 1960

1961 Peace Corps
Vietnam War officially begins with 900 military advisors landing in Saigon
OPEC formed

1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

1963 President J F Kennedy assassinated
March on Washington; Martin Luther King, Jr. “I have a dream” speech

1964 Herbert Hoover died of an internal haemorrhaging on October 20, 1964 in his suite on the 31st floor of the Waldorf Towers New York. He was buried in West Branch, Iowa.





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