Getting a more complete picture of Herbert Hoover: His dog liked him

February 6, 2013

Not sure how to file this.  Should it go under “Things we didn’t know about Herbert Hoover,” or “Hoover the mensch,” or “Some campaign photo ops never change?”

This is a campaign photo from 1928, Herbert Hoover and his dog, King Tut:

Herbert Hoover and dog, King Tut, in 1928 campaign photo

Campaign photo from 1928, of Republican candidate Herbert Hoover and his dog, King Tut. Image from Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, National Archives.

Tip of the old scrub brush to The Hoover Blackboard, a blog of the Hoover Library.

More:

Hoover Library

Herbert Hoover was Secretary of Commerce in the Harding and Coolidge administrations. What else don’t we remember about Hoover, most of the time? Hoover Library display, photo by akasped.


Quote of the moment: Herbert Hoover, on credit, in Des Moines, Iowa, 1932

February 4, 2013

Herbert Hoover and crowd in West Branch, Iowa, 1932 - dedication of Hoover Library

Herbert Hoover, 88, attended the opening of the Hoover Library in West Branch, Iowa, on August 10, 1962, 30 years after his speech in Des Moines defending actions to shore up the credit of the U.S.  At this 1962 event, former President Harry Truman came to pay respects, mensch that he was; Truman is walking ahead of Hoover here.  Photo from Travel Iowa blog, and probably from the Hoover Library and Museum

Let me remind you that credit is the lifeblood of business, the lifeblood of prices and jobs.

  • Herbert Hoover, address at Des Moines, Iowa, October 4, 1932. — The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Herbert Hoover, 1932–1933, p. 467.  (courtesy of Wikiquote)

_____________

Just a month before he would be crushed at the polls by Franklin Roosevelt, President Herbert Hoover returned to Iowa, his proud home state, to deliver this speech in Des Moines, detailing actions his administration had taken over the previous 18 months to save the U.S. and world economies.  Much of this action had been out of the glare of popular press.  Hoover hoped that by explaining the difficult battles his administration fought behind the huge oak doors of boardrooms and international diplomacy, Americans might appreciate more what he had accomplished, and not focus so much on the fact that the Great Depression still ravaged millions of Americans.

In today’s anti-credit political environment, it is interesting to see one of our most ardent businessman presidents defend credit. In an irony unappreciated in today’s political discussions, much of the discussion in 1932 between Hoover and Roosevelt was over which one could better manage to get to and keep a balanced budget.

The full speech is available at The American Presidency Project housed at the University of California – Santa Barbara. Politics wonks, history fans, and economists will want to look at the full speech this line is ripped from, contextually bereft. Context, in this case, does not change the meaning, but deepens the complexity of the issues and time.  Hoover bragged about keeping the U.S. on the gold standard, because so many contracts and mortgages were written to be payable in gold, and not currency.  So leaving the gold standard could have enormous disrupting influence on credit.

The first of these perils was the steady strangulation of credit through the removal of $3 billions of gold and currency by foreign drains and by the hoarding of our own citizens from the channels of our commerce and business. And let me remind you that credit is the lifeblood of business, the lifeblood of prices and of jobs.

Much of the rest of the speech defended Hoover’s use of government in ways that would cause apoplexy among Tea Partiers and a blizzard of critical press releases from Republicans, today:

Hoover addresses a large crowd in his 1932 cam...

Hoover addresses a large crowd in his 1932 campaign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, we have fought an unending war against the effect of these calamities upon our people in America. This is no time to recount the battles on a thousand fronts. We have fought the fight to protect our people in a thousand cities from hunger and cold.

We have carried on an unceasing campaign to protect the Nation from those unhealing class bitternesses which arise from strikes and lockouts and industrial conflict. We have accomplished this through the willing agreement of employer and labor which placed humanity before money through the sacrifice of profits and dividends before wages.

We have defended millions from the tragic result of droughts. We have mobilized a vast expansion of public construction to make work for the unemployed. We fought the battle to balance the budget. We have defended the country from being forced off the gold standard, with its crushing effect upon all who might be in debt. We have battled to provide a supply of credits to merchants and farmers and industries. We have fought to retard falling prices. We have struggled to save homes and farms from foreclosure of mortgages, battled to save millions of depositors and borrowers from the ruin caused by the failure of banks, fought to assure the safety of millions of policyholders from failure of their insurance companies, and fought to save commerce and employment from the failure of railways.

We have fought to secure the disarmament and to maintain the peace of the world. We have fought for stability in other countries whose failure would inevitably injure us. And, above all, we have fought to preserve the safety, the principles, and the ideals of American life. We have builded the foundations of recovery.

Now, all these battles, related and unrelated, have had a single strategy and a single purpose. That was to protect your living, your comfort, and the safety of your fireside. They have been waged and have succeeded in protecting you from infinitely greater harm that might have come to you.

Thousands of our people in their bitter distress and losses today are saying that “things could not be worse.” No person who has any remote understanding of the forces which confronted this country during these last 18 months ever utters that remark. Had it not been for the immediate and unprecedented actions of our Government things would be infinitely worse today.

Instead of moving forward we would be degenerating for years to come, even if we had not gone clear over the precipice, with the total destruction of every ideal we hold dear.

Let no man tell you that it could not be worse. It could be so much worse that these days now, distressing as they are, would look like veritable prosperity.

In all these great efforts there has been a constant difficulty of translating the daily action into terms of public understanding. The forces in motion have been so gigantic, so complex in character, the instrumentalities and actions that we must undertake to deal with them have been so involved, the figures we must use are so astronomical as to seem to have but little relation to the family in the apartment or the cottage or on the farm.

English: Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Herbert...

Five months after Hoover’s Des Moines speech, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover in convertible automobile on way to U.S. Capitol for Roosevelt’s inauguration, March 4, 1933 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If Hoover made that speech today, every fellow at the Hoover Institution would sign a petition demanding his impeachment, never mind that he’s not president any more.

____________

A few notes about the photograph at the top:  This photo shows two former presidents, Herbert Hoover and Harry S Truman, walking through a crowd at the dedication of the Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, in West Branch, Iowa, in 1962.  One might pay careful attention to how lax security was, generally — the crowd is allowed within an arm’s length of the two former presidents — and this was after an assassination attempt had been made on Truman, in Washington, years before.  Insignia on the uniforms of the police are difficult to discern, but from the uniforms it looks as if there was a combination of local police, possibly a county sheriff’s staff, and Iowa state highway patrol troopers.  I found it interesting to note that several of the younger men appear to be Explorer Scouts, BSA — one wearing what appears to be an Eagle Scout neckerchief. Cameras were special event tools, but generally not of the quality that could get a decent photograph at an event like this, except for professionals with professional cameras.  Still, visible are double-lens reflex cameras held up in hope of a proper aim, small Kodaks, one man winding film in a 35-mm single-lens reflex, and a tiny handful of home movie cameras (with three lenses on the front — wide angle, normal and modest telephoto).  Click on the photo for an expanded view, and see what else you may.  If by chance you know anything about this photo, Dear Reader, please tell, in comments.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Henry Mowry at Mowryblog.

More, and resources:

Presidents Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover at the dedication of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum on August 10, 1962 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Presidents Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover at the dedication of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum on August 10, 1962 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Guess who said it: Quote for the day

January 26, 2007

The first step to maintained equality of opportunity amongst our people is, as I have said before, that there should be no child in America who has not been born, and who does not live, under sound conditions of health; who does not have full opportunity for education from the kindergarten to the university; who is not free from injurious labor; who does not have stimulation to ambition to the fullest of his or her capacities. It is a matter of concern to our government that we should strengthen the safeguards to health. These activities of helpfulness and of cooperation stretch before us in every direction. A single generation of Americans of such a production would prevent more of crime and of illness, and give more of spirit and progress than all of the most repressive laws and police we can ever invent — and it would cost less.

Who said it? Who prescribed such a “socialist” plan for our children? John Dewey?  Hillary Clinton?  Answer below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »


Slowdown for study

January 25, 2007

Posting will be light this weekend — I’m off to Pasadena, California, for a Liberty Fund seminar on the “Hoover-Roosevelt Conversation,” regarding the debates between Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt between 1928 and 1945.  Good fun, great company, hoped-for good stuff for future lesson plans.

But little time for blogging (and who knows how well the connections work).

Discuss.


After the end, Hoover showed the way for Bush

December 28, 2006

Herbert Hoover, White House Portrait

Herbert Hoover, White House Portrait

Herbert Hoover is one of the great foils for U.S. history courses. The Great Depression is on national standards and state standards. Images from the dramatic poverty that resulted win the rapt attention of even the most calloused, talkative high school juniors. Most video treatments leave students wondering why President Hoover wasn’t tried for crimes against humanity instead of just turned out of office.

In most courses, Hoover is left there, and the study of Franklin Roosevelt‘s event-filled twelve years in office (with four elected terms) takes over the classroom. If Hoover is mentioned again at all in the course, it would likely be for his leading humanitarian work after World War II.

But there is, hiding out in California, the Hoover Institution. Hoover’s impact today? Well, consider some recent fellows of the Hoover Institution: Condaleeza Rice, Milton Friedman, George Shultz, E. D. Hirsch, Jr., Gary Becker, Diane Ravitch, Chester Finn. The Hoover Institution, “at Stanford University,” is the conservatives’ anchor in the intellectual and academic world.

Hoover’s legacy is being remade, constantly, through his post-Presidential establishment of an institution to promote principles of conservatism (and liberalism in its old, almost archaic education sense). The Hoover Institution has carried Hoover’s ideas and principles back into power.

Dallas has been wracked recently with the shenanigans and maneuvers around the work of Southern Methodist University to be named as the host for the George W. Bush Presidential Library. In a humorous headline last week the Dallas Morning News (DMN) said such a library could lead Dallas’s intellectual life in the future (the headline is different in the on-line version — whew!).

Humor aside, there is grist for good thought there. Read the rest of this entry »


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