Hoover Institution Library and Archives

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Hoover Institution Library and Archives
Hoover Tower, where the library and archives are located
37°25′38″N 122°09′56″W / 37.42731576019451°N 122.16553572572211°W / 37.42731576019451; -122.16553572572211
LocationPalo Alto, California, USA
TypeResearch center
Other information
AffiliationHoover Institution, Stanford University

The Hoover Institution Library and Archives is a research center and archival repository located at Stanford University, near Palo Alto, California in the United States. Built around a collection amassed by Stanford graduate Herbert Hoover prior to his becoming President of the United States, the Hoover Library and Archives is largely dedicated to the world history of the 20th and 21st centuries. It includes one of the largest collections of political posters in the world.

Organizational history[edit]


U.S. President Herbert Hoover (1874–1964) was an alumnus of Stanford University, graduating in 1895 to become a mining engineer.[1] Successful in business enterprise from an early age in a managerial capacity, Hoover also developed a deep affection for book collecting, building an impressive personal collection.[1]

When World War I erupted, Hoover found himself in Europe, quickly becoming involved in ongoing efforts to provide relief aid to wartime refugees.[1] In 1915 Hoover's professional life intersected with his bibliophilic proclivities when his friend Ephraim D. Adams suggested that Hoover take it upon himself to preserve the records of the organization he directed, the Commission for Relief in Belgium.[1] Hoover accepted this task and began assembling the mass of books, posters, and documents which would become the foundation of the so-called "Hoover War Collection" — earliest incarnation of the Hoover Institution Library and Archives.[1]

Hoover also later recounted that he was further driven in the task of systematic archiving by his own wartime research as food administrator. In the first volume his memoirs, published in 1951, 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.[2]

Andrew D. White donated his vast collection of ephemera from the French Revolution to Cornell University in 1891.[3] A full account of the founding of the Hoover Institution Library and Archives is provided by George H.Nash in "Herbert Hoover and Stanford University," published by the Hoover Institution Press in 1988.

In February 1919, Congress established a new agency known as the American Relief Administration as a mechanism for the supply of food aid to the hungry people of post-war Europe. Herbert Hoover was tapped by President Woodrow Wilson to head this agency, and the records of this great enterprise were also incorporated into Hoover's archival holdings.

The initial holdings documented the end of World War I and the peace conference at the end of the war.[4]


Reading room of the Hoover Institution Archives as it appeared in June 2011.

Starting in 1919, Hoover donated the collected materials to Stanford, his alma mater, along with funds to maintain and develop the documents. The collection was called the Hoover War Collection and later the Hoover War Library. In August 1920 the first permanent curator of the collection, Frank A. Golder, headed a team which traveled across Europe to acquire materials.[5] A massive number of books, pamphlets, documents, and posters were acquired, crated, and shipped back to California on behalf of the project. By 1923 more than 40,000 items had been obtained for the collection.[4] The documents were initially housed within the main Stanford Library, but by 1929 the collection had reached 1.4 million items and space was becoming a problem. In 1941 Hoover Tower was completed as a repository for the growing collection, which was eventually named the Hoover Institution and Library on War, Revolution and Peace.[6]

Staff members in subsequent decades have continued to expand the collection systematically. The current holdings include 6,000 separate collections that encompass an estimated 50 million original documents.[4]

As of July 2013, the current director of the library and archives is Eric Wakin.[7]

Key collections[edit]

The archive is a valuable resource for the following subjects related to Russia: the rise of political parties, Imperial Russian diplomatic archives, the revolutionary movement, Asiatic Russia and its colonization, the "Okhrana", the Russo-Japanese War, and Russia's participation in World War I.[4]

Other special collections include the Hoover Institution/Research Libraries Group, Inc. (RLG)/Russian State Archival Service Cataloging Project and the Soviet Communist Party Archives Microfilming Project.[4]

Digitized audiovisual recordings and transcripts of more than 1,500 Firing Line episodes were contributed to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting[8] via external links from The Hoover Institution Library and Archives at Stanford University.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Library & Archives History". Hoover Institution. Retrieved 2021-08-05.
  2. ^ Hoover, Herbert (1951). The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover: Years of Adventure, 1874–1920 (PDF). New York: Macmillan. pp. 184–85.
  3. ^ "French Revolution – Rare and Manuscript Collections". Retrieved 2021-08-05.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University: Introduction". Russian Archives Online. Archived from the original on 2020-06-22. Retrieved 2021-08-05.
  5. ^ Emmons, Terence; Patenaude, Bertrand M., eds. (1992). "Introduction". War, Revolution, and Peace in Russia: The Passages of Frank Golder, 1914–1927. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press. p. xvii.
  6. ^ "Herbert Hoover". Hoover Institution. Retrieved 2021-08-05.
  7. ^ "Wakin appointed associate director and director of Library and Archives at Hoover". Hoover Institution. 2013-07-05. Retrieved 2021-08-05.
  8. ^ "Firing Line". American Archive of Public Broadcasting. Retrieved 2020-07-23.
  9. ^ "Firing Line". Hoover Institution. Retrieved 2020-07-23.

Further reading[edit]

  • Anna M. Bourguina and Michael Jakobson (eds.) Guide to the Boris I. Nicolaevsky Collection in the Hoover Institution Archives. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1989.
  • Rita R. Campbell, "Machine Retrieval in the Herbert Hoover Archives," The American Archivist, vol. 29, no. 2 (April 1966), pp. 298–302.
  • Peter Duignan, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace: Seventy-five Years of its History. Foreword by W. Glenn Campbell. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1989.
  • Peter Duignan, The Library of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1985.
  • Peter Duignan, "The Library of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace: Part 1: Origin and Growth," Library History, vol. 17, no. 1 (2001), pp. 3–19. "Part 2: the Campbell Years," Library History, vol. 17, no. 2 (2001), pp. 107–118.
  • Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Archival and Manuscript Material at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace: A Checklist of Major Collections. Stanford, CA: Stanford University, July 1975.
  • George H. Nash, "Herbert Hoover and Stanford University." Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1988.
  • George H. Nash, "The Life of Herbert Hoover: The Humanitarian, 1912-1917." New York: Norton, 1988.
  • Charles G Palm and Dale Reed, Guide to the Hoover Institution Archives. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1980.
  • Bertrand M. Patenaude, A Wealth of Ideas: Revelations from the Hoover Institution Archives. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006.
  • James McJ. Robertson, "The Hoover Institution Collection on the German Working Class Movement 1870/71-1933," International Labor and Working-Class History, no. 12 (Nov. 1977), pp. 10–18.
  • Witold S. Sworakowski, The Hoover Library Collection on Russia. Collection Survey No. 1. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1974.

External links[edit]