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Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was an American politician, businessman, and engineer, who served as the 31st president of the United States from 1929 to 1933. A member of the Republican Party, he held office during the onset of the Great Depression. Before serving as president, Hoover led the Commission for Relief in Belgium, served as the director of the U.S. Food Administration, and served as the third U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Hoover was born to a Quaker family in West Branch, Iowa. He took a position with a London-based mining company after graduating from Stanford University in 1895. After the outbreak of World War I, he became the head of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, an international relief organization that provided food to occupied Belgium. When the U.S. entered the war, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Hoover to lead the Food Administration, and Hoover became known as the country's "food czar". After the war, Hoover led the American Relief Administration, which provided food to the inhabitants of Central Europe and Eastern Europe. Hoover's war-time service made him a favorite of many progressives, and he unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination in the 1920 presidential election.

After the 1920 election, newly elected Republican President Warren G. Harding appointed Hoover as Secretary of Commerce; Hoover continued to serve under President Calvin Coolidge after Harding died in 1923. Hoover was an unusually active and visible cabinet member, becoming known as "Secretary of Commerce and Under-Secretary of all other departments". He was influential in the development of radio and air travel and led the federal response to the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. Hoover won the Republican nomination in the 1928 presidential election, and decisively defeated the Democratic candidate, Al Smith. The stock market crashed shortly after Hoover took office, and the Great Depression became the central issue of his presidency. Hoover pursued a variety of policies in an attempt to lift the economy, but opposed directly involving the federal government in relief efforts.

In the midst of the economic crisis, Hoover was decisively defeated by Democratic nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1932 presidential election. After leaving office, Hoover enjoyed one of the longest retirements of any former president, and he authored numerous works in subsequent decades. Hoover became increasingly conservative in this time, and he strongly criticized Roosevelt's foreign policy and New Deal domestic agenda. In the 1940s and 1950s, Hoover's public reputation was slightly rehabilitated by serving in various assignments for Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, including as chairman of the Hoover Commission. Though he managed somewhat to rehabilitate his legacy, Hoover is still widely regarded as an inadequate U.S. president, and most polls of historians and political scientists rank him in the bottom third overall.

Herbert Hoover Media

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Committee on education & labor, 51420

Committee on education & labor, 51420

Title from unverified data provided by the National Photo Company on the negatives or negative sleeves. Date from caption list. Caption from caption list: Senate Committee on Education and Labor which is holdin... More

[Herbert Hoover and Secretary of Labor James J. Davis, half-length portrait, standing, facing right, at labor conference on unemployment]

[Herbert Hoover and Secretary of Labor James J. Davis, half-length por...

National Photo Company Collection. Item in album: v. 1, p. 3, no. 16025.

[Herbert Hoover and Secretary of Labor James J. Davis, three-quarter length portrait, standing in doorway of the White House, facing each other]

[Herbert Hoover and Secretary of Labor James J. Davis, three-quarter l...

National Photo Company Collection. Item in album: v. 1, p. 3, no. 13727.

[Left to right: Herbert Hoover, Mrs. Warren G. Harding, Warren G. Harding, Mrs. Herbert Hoover, and H.M. Daugherty, all standing, in grandstand, at baseball game]

[Left to right: Herbert Hoover, Mrs. Warren G. Harding, Warren G. Hard...

National Photo Company Collection. Item in album: v. 2, p. 2, no. 13245.

[President Coolidge and Herbert Hoover posed, standing, with American Red Cross group]

[President Coolidge and Herbert Hoover posed, standing, with American ...

National Photo Company Collection. Item in album: v. 1, p. 15, no. 26427.

First full meeting of Coolidge cabinet

First full meeting of Coolidge cabinet

President Coolidge with members of his cabinet posed for group photo on White House lawn. National Photo Company Collection. In album: Calvin Coolidge First Administration, v. 1, p. 14, no. 26160.

National Conference Utilization of Forest Products

National Conference Utilization of Forest Products

President Coolidge and Herbert Hoover posed, full-length, with group of other men. National Photo Company Collection. Item in album: v. 2, p. 34, no. 33331.

Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover

Photograph shows a bust portrait of President Herbert Hoover. J272541 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 28012.

President Coolidge with Secty [sic] Hoover and members of the Radiomens [sic] Assn.
[Herbert Hoover, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing slightly right, listening to radio]

[Herbert Hoover, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing slightl...

National Photo Company Collection. Item in album: v. 1, p. 7, no. 34855. LC-F81-34855 (b&w glass plate neg.)

[President and Mrs. Coolidge standing, full-length portrait, with Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover and Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg, at Union Station, on their return from Swampscott]

[President and Mrs. Coolidge standing, full-length portrait, with Secr...

National Photo Company Collection. In album: v. 3, p. 17, no. 37169. LC-F8-37169 (b&w glass plate neg.)

[Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and an unidentified man, driver(?), in an automobile]

[Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and an unidentified man, driver(?), ...

National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress).

The White House dogs King Tut, Whoopie, and Englehurst Gillette

The White House dogs King Tut, Whoopie, and Englehurst Gillette

Robert R. Robinson holding three dogs on leashes.

Whoopie and Englehurst Gillette two of the White House dogs with Robert R. Robinson

Whoopie and Englehurst Gillette two of the White House dogs with Rober...

Two dogs on steps. In album: Washington, D.C., 3 June 1927 to 30 May 1929, v. 2, Herbert E. French, National Photo Company, p. 30, no. 42442. Forms part of: National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congres... More

[Herbert Hoover and presidential party standing, with men holding their hats, at opening baseball game]

[Herbert Hoover and presidential party standing, with men holding thei...

National Photo Company Collection. Item in album: v. 1, p. 12.

Mr. Coolidge takes a last look at the White House

Mr. Coolidge takes a last look at the White House

Calvin Coolidge (left) and Herbert Hoover passing the White House in a car during Herbert Hoover's inauguration. Title from item. Copyright by National Photo Company. Forms part of: National Photo Company Colle... More

[Herbert Hoover, full-length portrait, seated on sofa, facing left]

[Herbert Hoover, full-length portrait, seated on sofa, facing left]

In album: Herbert Hoover, v. 1, Herbert E. French, National Photo Company, p. 25, no. 3127. Forms part of: National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress).

[Herbert Hoover and Mrs. Hoover, full-length portrait, seated on wicker chairs, facing front]

[Herbert Hoover and Mrs. Hoover, full-length portrait, seated on wicke...

In album: Herbert Hoover, v. 1, Herbert E. French, National Photo Company, p. 29. Forms part of: National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress).

P.E. Allen of the White House police force and Harry Waters [White House Master of Hounds] with some of the White House dogs

P.E. Allen of the White House police force and Harry Waters [White Hou...

In album: Washington, D.C., June 1, 1929 to Sept. 27 1929, v. 3, Herbert E. French, National Photo Company, p. 34. Forms part of: National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress).

President Hoover was called to the White House lawn repeatedly today to greet well wishers from every state in the Union

President Hoover was called to the White House lawn repeatedly today t...

President Hoover at the door of the White House, greeting people. In album: Washington, D.C., June 1927 to May 1929, v. 2, Herbert E. French, National Photo Company, p. 19, no. 42263. Forms part of: National Ph... More

[Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Frank B. Kellogg, standing, with representatives of the governments who have ratified the Treaty for Renunciation of War (Kellogg-Briand Pact), in the East Room of the White House]

[Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Frank B. Kellogg, standing, with...

National Photo Company Collection. Item in album: v. 3, p. 18, no. 42964.

Descendants of the original Americans and the early French settlers meet at the White Hou[se] as callers on their president

Descendants of the original Americans and the early French settlers me...

Members of the Evangeline Girls from Louisiana and Sioux from South Dakota, including Chief Spotted Crow, standing near the White House. In album: Washington, D.C., June 1927 to May 1929, v. 2, Herbert E. Frenc... More

President Coolidge and Mr. Hoover leaving the White House

President Coolidge and Mr. Hoover leaving the White House

Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover in automobile.

Mrs. Hoover greets the cowboy band of Simmons University, Abilene, Texas

Mrs. Hoover greets the cowboy band of Simmons University, Abilene, Tex...

Mrs. Hoover and man at entrance to the White House with band members. In album: Washington, D.C., June 1927 to May 1929, v. 2, Herbert E. French, National Photo Company, p. 19, no. 42260. Forms part of: Nationa... More

[President Hoover's inauguration, March 4, 1929]

[President Hoover's inauguration, March 4, 1929]

Bird's-eye view of Capitol grounds and inaugural crowds, taken from the roof of the Capitol, looking north. National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress). In album: Inaugurations, v. 1, p. 48, Herbert... More

[Herbert Hoover signing the Farm Relief Bill, with nine other men standing alongside and behind him]

[Herbert Hoover signing the Farm Relief Bill, with nine other men stan...

National Photo Company Collection. Item in album: v. 1, p. 16, no. 42749.

[President Hoover and Mrs. Hoover standing in reviewing stand, watching soldiers march by during Hoover's inaugural parade]

[President Hoover and Mrs. Hoover standing in reviewing stand, watchin...

Title devised by library staff. Copyright by National Photo Company. Forms part of: National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress).

Hoover, Mrs. Hoover & Taft

Hoover, Mrs. Hoover & Taft

President Herbert Hoover, Mrs. Hoover and Chief Justice William Howard Taft inside presidential reviewing stand during parade for Hoover's inauguration. Title from item. Copyright by National Photo Company. For... More

The inaugural stands at the White House, not a pleasant outlook with the inaugural date only a week ahead

The inaugural stands at the White House, not a pleasant outlook with t...

Snow covers street and review stand. In album: Washington, D.C., June 1927 to May 1929, v. 2, Herbert E. French, National Photo Company, p. 15, no. 42117. Forms part of: National Photo Company Collection (Libra... More

The inaugural charity ball

The inaugural charity ball

Interior view of the ballroom of the Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., showing crowd dancing at President Hoover's inaugural ball, March 4, 1929. National Photo Company Collectio... More

Workmen placing the finishing touches on the reviewing stand in the Court of Honor from which Mr. Hoover will review the inaugural parade

Workmen placing the finishing touches on the reviewing stand in the Co...

Review stand in front of the White House. In album: Washington, D.C., June 1927 to May 1929, v. 2, Herbert E. French, National Photo Company, p. 17, no. 42257. Forms part of: National Photo Company Collection (... More

Scene in the East Room of the White House when the President received representatives of the Nations who have ratified the Treaty for the Renunciation of War

Scene in the East Room of the White House when the President received ...

President Hoover and other men seated at long tables in the East Room of the White House. In album: Herbert Hoover, v. 1, Herbert E. French, National Photo Company, p. 18, no. 42967. Forms part of: National Pho... More

[President Herbert Hoover posed outdoors for talking motion picture]

[President Herbert Hoover posed outdoors for talking motion picture]

National Photo Company Collection. LC-F8-42287 (negative deteriorated)