Coming May 1: The Making of the Great Humanitarian: Herbert Hoover and WWI
Learn how Hoover set aside his lucrative mining career to save millions from starvation at the onset of World War I at the largest temporary exhibit to come to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum!
As you read this, workers are busy installing and putting the finishing touches on the five key elements that make up the largest exhibit ever shown at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum and Hoover National Historic Site. The Making of the Great Humanitarian: Herbert Hoover and World War I portrays Hoover's life 100 years ago – when he set aside his lucrative mining career and began his journey into public service.
In August of 1914, the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand touched off long-simmering rivalries among the jealous nations of Europe. World War I--the Great War--was at hand, and few Americans were prepared. An estimated 120,000 of Hoover's countrymen, penniless and confused, were trapped on the wrong side of the Atlantic.
On August 3, Hoover, on vacation at the Savoy Hotel, London, received an urgent request for help from U.S. Ambassador to Britain, Walter Hines Page. Within twenty-four hours, five hundred volunteers were assembled and the grand ballroom of the Savoy Hotel was turned into a vast canteen and distribution center for food, clothing, steamer tickets and cash. "I did not realize it at the moment, but on August 3, 1914 my engineering career was over forever. I was on the slippery road of public life."
During the next few weeks Hoover assisted Chief White Feather of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, and dowagers in jewels to get home. When one woman angrily insisted on a written pledge that no German submarine would attack her vessel in mid-ocean, Hoover readily complied.
Together with nine engineer friends Hoover loaned desperate travelers $1.5 million in emergency U.S. aid. All but $400 was returned, confirming the Great Engineer's faith in the American character.
Hoover's life during this period is depicted throughout 5 interactive exhibits you won't want to miss!