31. Herbert Hoover

“The Great Engineer”

Presidential Basics

  • Full name: Herbert Clark Hoover
  • Years in office: 1929–1933
  • Political party: Republican
  • Vice president: Charles Curtis
  • Age at inauguration: 54
  • Nicknames: “The Great Engineer”

Random Trivia

  • The humanitarian: Hoover led humanitarian food aid in World War I.

Birth & Death

  • Birthday: August 10, 1874
  • Birthplace: West Branch, Iowa
  • Death: October 20, 1964
  • Place of death: New York City, New York
  • Place of burial: Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa
  • Last words: Unknown


  • Father: Jesse Clark Hoover (1846–1880); Blacksmith
  • Mother: Hulda Randall Minthorn Hoover (1849–1883)
  • Wife: Lou Henry (1875 – 1944)
  • Marriage: February 10, 1899 in California
  • Kids: Two
    • Herbert Clark (1903–1969)
    • Allan Henry (1907–1993)
  • Home: West Branch, Iowa

Other Facts

  • Height: 5’11″
  • Eye color: Hazel
  • Ancestry: Swiss-German
  • Religion: Society of Friends (Quaker)
  • Born in a log cabin: No
  • Owned enslaved people: No
  • Freemason: No


  • Early education: Newberg Academy
  • College degree: Yes
  • College: Stanford University (graduated with B.A. 1895)


  • Military Service: No
  • Lawyer: No
  • Mining engineer (1895–1914)
  • Chairman of American Relief Committee, London (1914–1915)
  • Commissioner for Belgian Relief (1915–1919)
  • U.S. Food Administrator (1917–1919)
  • Supreme Economic Council (1919–1921)
  • Secretary of Commerce: Harding and Coolidge administrations (1921–1928)
  • President (1929–1933)
  • Chairman of Commissions on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government: Hoover Commission (1947, 1953)
  • Writer


  • The Challenge of Liberty
  • America’s First Crusade
  • Memoirs
  • The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson


The Republican nominee in 1928 was well respected for his food relief programs in Europe following World War I.  Hoover grew up in a poor, Quaker family in Iowa, but in later life amassed a fortune as young mining engineer. This self-made man and humanitarian matched the idealism of the booming economy.

His opponent was the governor of New York, Alfred Smith.  The two differed on enforcement of Prohibition (with Hoover promising to enforce it to the fullest) and protective tariffs (also supported by Hoover).

Hoover assured Americans that the prosperity of the 20s was here to stay.  He claimed the end of poverty was nearer than ever, famously promising “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.”  He won the election by a large margin.  Within 8 months the worst economic crisis in American history began.

Campaign Poster

This Is a Hoover Home, poster, c. 1928 (Library of Congress)

Spotlight Artifact


© 2021 Periodic Presidents, PJ and Jamie Creek