Herbert Clark Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was born August 10, 1874, in West Branch, Iowa.
Hoover was an orphan by the time he was eight years old. He was sent to relatives in Oregon and settled in Newberg, where he attended college but shortly thereafter went on to pass the exams for Stanford and enter their newly formed engineering school. He became a mining engineer and soon was traveling the world helping companies dig mines for metals such as gold and coal used in heating.
He was a good businessman and manager and became a millionaire. After managing gold mining operation is Australia, he married Lou Henry in Monterey, California, February 10, 1899. They had two children.
In 1899, he became chief engineer of China’s Bureau of Mines, then general manager of the Chinese Engineering and Mining company. By 1901, he was a partner in a British engineering firm and traveled throughout the world. During the First World War, he was stranded in Europe, unable to return safely to America. He used his American contacts to ship food and other aid to his British partners and thus led America’s relief efforts in Europe.
The Republican Party nominated Hoover for President in 1928.
A German Shepherd dog named King Tut helped to get Hoover elected. Pictured with the candidate, the dog made Hoover appear warm and friendly. The autographed image was sent to thousands of voters. Once in the White House, King Tut remained in the public eye, every night patrolling the White House fences, and became known as “the dog that worried himself to death.”
Hoover was elected with an overwhelming majority and went into the White House with great hopes and aspirations. Those hopes were dashed seven months later when the stock market crashed and the country went into a deep depression.
His administration was unable to do anything about it. In contrast to the image on the postcard, Hoover was perceived as distant and cold. The country was also reeling from a crime wave fueled by illegal sales of alcoholic beverages during Prohibition. Renominated in 1932, Hoover ran against Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the “New Deal” Democrat, and lost by a landslide.
Hoover and his wife retired to Palo Alto, California. near Stanford University, where he immersed himself in building the Hoover Library there. He became an active critic of Roosevelt’s “New Deal” programs and wrote many books including his own three-volume memoirs. In 1938, he published The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson, the first book by a former President about a President.
Much later in Hoover’s life, Presidents Truman and Eisenhower both called on him to chair several commissions. One became known as the Hoover Commission and recommended many important structural changes in the Federal government.
Herbert Hoover died in New York City, October 20, 1964, and was buried near his birthplace in West Branch, Iowa.