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

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.


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.

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

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Dr. Hanley, how much do you think Hoover’s reputation has been diminished by the work of the Hoover Institute, if at all? I have a difficult time believing that group would want anyone to remember the acts of mercy and superhuman organization that built Hoover’s reputation prior to 1927.


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Not only the post WW-I effort — he saved Belgium at least, and probably a good chunk of France and Germany — but the American Experience program talks about his relief work in the Soviet Union in the 1920s. He saved the USSR, too, with some political motivations, hoping that aid from the U.S. would inspire people in the Soviet Union to rise up and demand reform of government, away from communism. If you haven’t watched that thing, it’s very compelling.

    By the end, Hoover understood that by saving so many millions from starvation, he had in fact preserved the Soviet Union. He regretted that there was no change in the government, but there’s not a moment where he regrets saving the lives.

    I found particularly compelling some interviews with people far outside of Moscow, people whose grandparents had been saved from death by Hoover’s work. One man said that every family has stories, and both his family and his wife’s family stories involved being saved by Hoover and the Americans. He said they’d never forget.

    I’ve spent a couple of seminars with the Liberty Fund and Bill of Rights Institute on the depression, and a whole week on the Hoover-Roosevelt dialogue from 1928 through 1945, with Gordon Lloyd of Pepperdine (an entertaining teacher and often very deep scholar, who wrote a book featuring the dialogue, The Two Faces of Liberalism). I think Hoover is very much an enigma. In a lot of his correspondence, he criticizes FDR’s actions not for what they did, but for doing “too much.” Hoover, after all, had started a lot of the relief programs FDR made famous, or programs like them. And it’s clear by 1938 that FDR is a lot closer to Hoover than to Keynes on domestic spending, finance and monetary policy.

    You can take excerpts from Hoover’s letters, articles and speeches, in context, and he sounds a lot more like Nancy Pelosi or Paul Krugman than our current GOP.

    High school texts spend two sentences on Hoover’s reputation for relief programs, with no fleshing out. I think a lot more needs to be written and discussed. These damned testing programs and “No Child Left Behind” have savaged the study and appreciation of history. Santayana’s Ghost must be plotting revenge on the purveyors of NCLB, now with the help of the Ghost of Ted Kennedy.


  3. James Hanley says:

    I’m assuming you remember he organized a food relief program that saved the lives of millions in Europe after WWI?

    I find that too many people have forgotten that, but don’t want to assume you have.


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