Food Czar under President Wilson, elected 31st President of the United States and worldwide humanitarian, Hoover helped feed millions of people.
1874-1964 | Artist: Othmar J. Hoffler (1893-1954)
Impact & Accomplishments
Born in Iowa and raised in Oregon, Herbert Hoover enrolled in Stanford the year the university opened, graduating as a mining engineer. He amassed great wealth in mining and was an international consultant in the field.
When the nation entered the Great War, President Wilson appointed Hoover to head the Food Administration. He created successful programs to reduce food consumption at home and to provide food overseas, while avoiding rationing.
Serving as Secretary of Commerce under presidents Harding and Coolidge, Hoover was elected thirty-first president of the United States in 1928. Within months of his election, the stock market crashed, and Hoover spent the rest of his time in office combating the Great Depression. He was not reelected. After leaving office, Herbert Hoover continued work in food relief, headed a commission to reorganize the executive branch of government, and wrote many books.
Did You Know?
In 1891, Hoover enrolled in the new West Coast university founded by industrialist Leland Stanford. While the future president failed Stanford’s entrance examination, the professor who administered the test admired his “remarkable keenness” and admitted him conditionally. Hoover had so little money that at times he lived in the barracks housing construction workers building the university. Hoover served as financial manager for Stanford’s football and baseball teams, won election as treasurer, and met his future wife, Lou Henry, in geology class.
American Relief Administration operations in Russia in 1922
Although accused by some of reacting callously to the millions of Americans forced onto bread lines during the Great Depression, Hoover was recognized around the world as such a great humanitarian that he was nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize. After Hoover spearheaded a private effort to ensure the safe return of 120,000 American tourists stranded in Europe at the outbreak of World War I, the United States government recruited him to deliver food to neutral Belgium, where 7 million people faced starvation. Later Hoover headed the American Relief Administration, which delivered food to tens of millions of people in more than 20 war-torn countries. Between 1921 and 1923, the aid he directed to the famine-stricken Soviet Union fed more than 15 million people daily. “Whatever their politics, they shall be fed!” he declared to opponents who accused him of aiding communism. After World War II, Democratic President Harry Truman asked the Republican Hoover to circle the globe to coordinate efforts to avert a global famine. “He fed more people and saved more lives than any other man in history,” said Hoover associate Neil MacNeil.
Points of Interest - Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum Courtesy KHQA Channel 7
In addition to Grant, Coolidge and Hoover, four other U.S. presidents were, at one time, represented in the Saddle & Sirloin Club Portrait Collection: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln were destroyed in the 1934 fire and not replaced. Franklin D. Roosevelt was added after the fire, but removed from the collection before the move to Louisville.