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Hoover Institution

Coordinates: 37°25′38″N 122°09′59″W / 37.4271°N 122.1664°W / 37.4271; -122.1664
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The Hoover Institution
FormationJune 1919; 105 years ago (1919-06)
FounderHerbert Hoover
TypePublic policy think tank
Legal status501(c)(3) public charity
PurposePublic policy research in economics, history, and national security.
Professional title
The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace
Coordinates37°26′N 122°10′W / 37.43°N 122.17°W / 37.43; -122.17
Condoleezza Rice
Parent organization
Stanford University
SubsidiariesHoover Institution Press
Hoover Institution Library and Archives
Uncommon Knowledge
Defining Ideas
Hoover Digest
Revenue (2023)
$104.6 million[1]
Expenses (2023)$93.2 million[1]
Endowment$782 million
Award(s)National Humanities Medal
Websitewww.hoover.org Edit this at Wikidata
Formerly called
Hoover War Collection

The Hoover Institution (officially The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace) is an American public policy think tank which promotes personal and economic liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.[2][3][4] While the institution is formally a unit of Stanford University, it maintains an independent board of overseers and relies on its own income and donations.[5][6][7] It is widely described as conservative, and sometimes libertarian, although its directors have contested the idea that it is partisan.[3][2][5][8][9]

The institution began in 1919 as a library founded by Stanford alumnus Herbert Hoover prior to his presidency in order to house his archives gathered during the Great War.[10] The well-known Hoover Tower was built to house the archives, then known as the Hoover War Collection (now the Hoover Institution Library and Archives), and contained material related to World War I, World War II, and other global events. The collection was renamed and transformed into a research institution ("think tank") during the mid-20th century. Its mission, as described by Herbert Hoover in 1959, is "to recall the voice of experience against the making of war, and by the study of these records and their publication, to recall man's endeavors to make and preserve peace, and to sustain for America the safeguards of the American way of life."[11]

It has staffed numerous jobs in Washington for Republican presidents from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump.[12] It has provided work for people who previously had important government jobs. Notable Hoover fellows and alumni include Nobel Prize laureates Henry Kissinger, Milton Friedman, and Gary Becker; economist Thomas Sowell; scholars Niall Ferguson and Richard Epstein; former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich; and former Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis. In 2020, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice became the institution's director. It divides its fellows into separate research teams to work on various subjects, including Economic Policy, History, Education, and Law.[13] It publishes research by its own university press, the Hoover Institution Press.[14]

In 2021, Hoover was ranked as the 10th most influential think tank in the world by Academic Influence.[15] It was ranked 22nd on the "Top Think Tanks in United States" and 1st on the "Top Think Tanks to Look Out For" lists of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program that same year.[16]




Herbert Hoover, the 31st U.S. president, and founder of the Hoover Institution

In June 1919, Herbert Hoover, then a wealthy engineer who was one of Stanford University's first graduates, sent a telegram offering Stanford president Ray Lyman Wilbur $50,000 in order to assist the collection of primary materials related to World War I, a project that became known as the Hoover War Collection. Assisted primarily by gifts from private donors, the Hoover War Collection flourished during its early years. In 1922, the collection became known as the Hoover War Library, now known as the Hoover Institution Library and Archives, and includes a variety of rare and unpublished material, including the files of the Okhrana and a plurality of government documents produced during the war.[17][18] It was housed originally in the Stanford Library, separate from the general stacks. In his memoirs, Hoover wrote:

I did a vast amount of reading, mostly on previous wars, revolutions, and peace-makings of Europe and especially the political and economic aftermaths. At one time I set up some research at London, Paris, and Berlin into previous famines in Europe to see if there had developed any ideas on handling relief and pestilence. ... I was shortly convinced that gigantic famine would follow the present war. The steady degeneration of agriculture was obvious. ... I read in one of Andrew D. White's writings that most of the fugitive literature of comment during the French Revolution was lost to history because no one set any value on it at the time, and that without such material it became very difficult or impossible to reconstruct the real scene. Therein lay the origins of the Library on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.[19]

20th century

Former United States Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks about defense innovation at the institution in Washington, D.C. in September 2016

By 1926, the Hoover War Library was the largest library in the world devoted to World War I, including 1.4 million items and too large to house in the Stanford University Library, so the university allocated $600,000 for the construction of the Hoover Tower, which was designed to be its permanent home independent of the Stanford Library system. The 285-foot tall tower was completed in 1941 on date of the university's golden jubilee.[20][21] The tower has since been a well-recognized part of the Stanford campus.[22]

In 1956, former President Hoover, in conjunction with the Institution and Library, began a major fundraising campaign that transitioned the organization to its current form as a research institution as well as archive.

In 1957, the Hoover Institution and Library was renamed the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, its current name.[23] In 1959, Stanford's Board of Trustees officially established the Hoover Institution as "an independent institution within the frame of Stanford University".[18]

In 1960, W. Glenn Campbell was appointed director and substantial budget increases soon resulted in corresponding increases in acquisitions and related research projects. In particular, the Chinese and Russian collections grew considerably. Despite student unrest during the 1960s, the institution continued to develop closer relations with Stanford University.[24]

In 1975, Ronald Reagan, who was Governor of California at that time, was designated as Hoover's first honorary fellow. He donated his gubernatorial papers to the Hoover library.[25] During that time the Hoover Institution had a general budget of $3.5 million a year. In 1976, one third of Stanford University's book holdings were housed at the Hoover library. At that time, it was the largest private archive collection in the United States.[22]

For his presidential campaign in 1980, Reagan engaged at least thirteen Hoover scholars to assist the campaign in multiple capacities.[26] After Reagan won the election, more than thirty current or former Hoover Institution fellows worked for the Reagan administration in 1981.[22]

In 1989, Campbell retired as director of Hoover and replaced by John Raisian, a change that was considered the end of an era.[27] Raisan served as director until 2015, and was succeeded by Thomas W. Gilligan.[28]

21st century

Former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Rex Tillerson during a Hoover forum in January 2018

In 2001, Hoover Senior fellow Condoleezza Rice joined the George W. Bush administration, serving as National Security Advisor from 2001 to 2005 and as Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009. In 2006, President George W. Bush awarded the National Humanities Medal to the Hoover Institution.[29]

In August 2017, the David and Joan Traitel Building was inaugurated. The ground floor is a conference facility with a 400-seat auditorium and the top floor houses the Hoover Institution's headquarters.[30]

At any given time, as of 2017, the Hoover Institution has as many as 200 resident scholars known as fellows. They are an interdisciplinary group studying political science, education, economics, foreign policy, energy, history, law, national security, health and politics. Some have joint appointments as lecturers on the Stanford faculty.[31]

The Trump administration maintained relations with the institution during his presidency, and several Hoover employees became senior advisors or were hired for jobs in his administration, including Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis, who was the Davies Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Hoover from 2013 to 2016, where he studied leadership, national security, strategy, innovation, and the effective use of military force.[32]

In March 2019, Mattis returned to his post at Hoover.[33] Distinguished Visiting Fellow Kevin Hassett became the first chairman of Trump's Council of Economic Advisors (CEA). The CEA chief principal economist, Josh Rauh, took leave from his Hoover Institution fellowship. After the third CEA chairman Tyler Goodspeed resigned in 2021, he went to Hoover.[34]

In February 2020, the Hoover board of trustees brought in senior Trump economic officials for off-the-record forecasts. According to The New York Times, "The president’s aides appeared to be giving wealthy party donors an early warning of a potentially impactful contagion at a time when Mr. Trump was publicly insisting that the threat was nonexistent." The board members spread the bad news and the stock market had a selloff.[35]

In 2020, Condoleezza Rice succeeded Thomas W. Gilligan as director.[28]

In November 2020, Scott Atlas, a Hoover fellow, was known for opposing public health measures as a major Trump advisor during the COVID-19 pandemic, and was condemned by a Stanford University faculty vote in November 2020.[36]

In January 2021, during Stanford University faculty senate discussions on closer collaboration between the university and the Institution in 2021, Rice "addressed campus criticism that the Hoover Institution is a partisan think tank that primarily supports conservative administrations and policy positions" by sharing "statistics that show Hoover fellows contribute financially to both political parties on an equal basis", according to the university's newsletter.[5]



The Institution has libraries which include materials from both World War I and World War II, including the collection of documents of President Herbert Hoover, which he began to collect at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.[37] Thousands of Persian books, official documents, letters, multimedia pieces and other materials on Iran's history, politics and culture can also be found at the Stanford University library and the Hoover Institution library.[38]

View of the Hoover Institution's headquarters, including the Hoover Tower, among the Stanford University campus



The Hoover Institution's in-house publisher, Hoover Institution Press, produces publications on public policy topics, including the quarterly periodicals Hoover Digest, Education Next, China Leadership Monitor, and Defining Ideas. The Hoover Institution Press previously published the bimonthly periodical Policy Review, which it acquired from The Heritage Foundation in 2001.[39] Policy Review ceased publication with its February–March 2013 issue.

The Hoover Institution Press also publishes books and essays by Hoover Institution fellows and other Hoover-affiliated scholars.



The Hoover Institution receives nearly half of its funding from private gifts, primarily from individual contributions, and the other half from its endowment.[40]

Funders of the organization include the Taube Family Foundation, the Koret Foundation, the Howard Charitable Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Walton Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the William E. Simon Foundation.[41]



Funding sources and expenditures, FY 2022[42]



In May 2018, the Hoover Institution's website listed 198 fellows. Fellowship appointments do not require the approval of Stanford tenure committees.[43]

Below is a list of directors and some of the more prominent fellows, former and current.



Honorary Fellows


Distinguished Fellows


Senior Fellows


Research Fellows


Distinguished Visiting Fellows


Visiting Fellows


Media Fellows


National Fellows


Senior Research Fellows


See also



  1. ^ a b "Annual Report 2023" (PDF). Hoover Institution. Retrieved February 14, 2024.
  2. ^ a b Hanson, Victor Davis (July 30, 2019). "100 Years of the Hoover Institution". National Review. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace". Encyclopaedica Britannica. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  4. ^ McBride, Stewart (May 28, 1975). "Hoover Institution: Leaning to the right". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c University, Stanford (January 29, 2021). "Stanford's relationship to the Hoover Institution highlights Faculty Senate discussion". Stanford Report. Retrieved June 19, 2022.
  6. ^ "Board of Overseers". Hoover Institution. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
  7. ^ Ali, Ayaan Hirsi. "The False Appeal Of Socialism". Hoover Institution. Archived from the original on October 5, 2023. Retrieved October 5, 2023.
  8. ^ Chesley, Kate (January 29, 2021). "Stanford's relationship to the Hoover Institution highlights Faculty Senate discussion". Stanford Report.
  9. ^ Gilligan, Thomas W. (March 23, 2015). "Business Dean Seizes Rare Opportunity to Lead Hoover Institution, and Other News About People". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  10. ^ "Exhibits A through Z". Stanford Magazine. March 2006. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  11. ^ "Mission/History". Hoover Institution. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  12. ^ Val Burris. "The interlock structure of the policy-planning network and the right turn in U.S. state policy" In Politics and Public Policy (March 2015) pp. 3-42.
  13. ^ "Research". Hoover Institution. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  14. ^ "Hoover Institution Press". Hoover Institution. Retrieved May 21, 2023.
  15. ^ "Top Influential Think Tanks". Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  16. ^ McGann, James (January 28, 2021). "2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report". TTCSP Global Go to Think Tank Index Reports (18).
  17. ^ Duignan, Peter (2001). "The Library of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. Part 1: Origin and Growth". Library History. 17: 3–20. doi:10.1179/lib.2001.17.1.3. S2CID 144635878.
  18. ^ a b "Hoover Timeline". Hoover Institution. Retrieved June 19, 2022.
  19. ^ Hoover, Herbert (1951). The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover: Years of Adventure, 1874–1920 (PDF). New York: Macmillan. pp. 184–85.
  20. ^ "Hoover Institution Library and Archives: Historical Background". Hoover Institution.
  21. ^ "Make A Gift". myScience. January 11, 2019. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  22. ^ a b c Bonafont, Roxy (May 11, 2019). "100 Years of Hoover: A History of Stanford's Decades-Long Debate over the Hoover Institution". Stanford Political Journal. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  23. ^ "Hoover Institution – Hoover Institution Timeline". hoover.org.
  24. ^ Duignan, Peter (2001). "The Library of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. Part 2: The Campbell Years". Library History. 17 (2): 107–118. doi:10.1179/lib.2001.17.2.107. S2CID 144451652.
  25. ^ a b c d McBride, Stewart (March 27, 1980). "Hoover Institution; Leaning to the right". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  26. ^ Fitzgerald, Patrick (February 1, 2008). "At Stanford, Hoover Debate Still Rages". CBS News. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  27. ^ "The Man Behind the Institution". Stanford Magazine. April 2002. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  28. ^ a b "Condoleezza Rice to lead Stanford's Hoover Institution". Stanford News. January 28, 2020. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  29. ^ "President Bush Awards the 2006 National Humanities Medals". The National Endowment for the Humanities. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  30. ^ Martinovich, Milenko (October 19, 2017). "Hoover opens new David and Joan Traitel Building". Stanford News. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  31. ^ Martinovich, Milenko (October 20, 2017). "Through research and education, Hoover scholars tackle some of the most urgent issues of our time". Stanford News. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  32. ^ See "James N. Mattis" U.S. Department of Defense (2023).
  33. ^ See "Former Secretary Of Defense, General Jim Mattis, US Marine Corps (Ret.), Returns To The Hoover Institution At Stanford University" online press release March 19, 2019.
  34. ^ See "Hoover Institution Board of Overseers Holds Meetings in Washington, DC, Featuring Senior Trump Administration Officials" News from the Hoover Institution February 24, 2020 online
  35. ^ Kelly, Kate; Mazzetti, Mark (October 14, 2020). "As Virus Spread Early On, Reports of Trump Administration Briefings Fueled Sell-Off". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  36. ^ "Stanford faculty votes to condemn Scott Atlas, White House coronavirus adviser and Hoover Institution fellow". The Mercury News. November 20, 2020. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  37. ^ Niekerken, Bill van (April 4, 2017). "Stanford's secrets: Decades of surprises stashed in Hoover Tower". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  38. ^ "Spotlight On Iran". Radio Farda. May 11, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  39. ^ "Policy Review Web Archive". Hoover Institution.
  40. ^ "Hoover Institution 2010 Report". Hoover Institution. p. 39. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  41. ^ Adeniji, Ade (April 21, 2015). "How the Hoover Institution Vacuums Up Big Conservative Bucks". Inside Philanthropy.
  42. ^ "Financial Review 2022" (PDF). Hoover Institution. Retrieved February 5, 2023.
  43. ^ Wooster, Martin Morse (2017). How Great Philanthropists Failed and You Can Succeed at Protecting Your Legacy. USA: Capital Research Center. p. 201. ISBN 978-1892934048.
  44. ^ "Yacht club to host celebration of Virginia Rothwell". Stanford Report. September 1, 2004. Retrieved March 25, 2008.
  45. ^ Trei, Lisa (November 28, 2001). "Glenn Campbell, former Hoover director, dead at 77". Stanford Report. Retrieved March 25, 2008.
  46. ^ "Margaret Thatcher". Hoover Institution. 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  47. ^ "Distinguished Fellow". Hoover Institution Stanford University. 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  48. ^ "Senior Fellows". Hoover Institution Stanford University. 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  49. ^ "David Brady". Hoover Institution.
  50. ^ "My Move to the Hoover Institution". Reason. 2023. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  51. ^ "Research Fellows". Hoover Institution.
  52. ^ "Former U.S. Central Command Chief General John Abizaid Appointed Hoover Distinguished Visiting Fellow". Hoover Institution.
  53. ^ "Distinguished Visiting Fellows". Hoover Institution Stanford University. 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  54. ^ "William and Barbara Edwards Media Fellows". Hoover Institution Stanford University. 2010. Retrieved November 9, 2010.
  55. ^ a b "William and Barbara Edwards Media Fellows by year". hoover.org.
  56. ^ "William and Barbara Edwards Media Fellows by year". Hoover Institutio.
  57. ^ "VITA Mark Bils" (PDF). University of Rochester. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  58. ^ "Stephen Kotkin". Hoover Institution. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  59. ^ "John H. Bunzel". Hoover Institution. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  60. ^ "Robert Hessen". Hoover Institution. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  61. ^ "James Bond Stockdale". Hoover Institution. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  62. ^ "Edward Teller". Hoover Institution. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  63. ^ "Charles Wolf Jr". Hoover Institution. Retrieved September 29, 2016.

Further reading

  • Duignan, Peter. "The Library of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace Part I. Origin and Growth." Library History 17.1 (2001): 3-20.
  • Dwyer, Joseph D., ed. Russia, the Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe: A Survey of Holdings at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace (Hoover Press, 1980) online.
  • Kiester, Sally Valente. "New Influence for Stanford's Hoover Institution." Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning 13.7 (1981): 46-50. online, on role in Reagan administration
  • Palm, Charles G., and Dale Reed. Guide to the Hoover Institution Archives (Hoover Press, 1980) online.
  • Paul, Gary Norman. "The Development of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace Library, 1919–1944". PhD dissertation U. of California, Berkeley. Dissertation Abstracts International 1974 35(3): 1682–1683a, 274 pp.
  • Reed, Dale, and Michael Jakobson. "Trotsky Papers at the Hoover Institution: One Chapter of an Archival Mystery Story." American Historical Review 92.2 (1987): 363-375. online
  • Scott, Erik R. Defining Moments: The First One Hundred Years of the Hoover Institution (2019) online book review

37°25′38″N 122°09′59″W / 37.4271°N 122.1664°W / 37.4271; -122.1664