HOOVER, HERBERT
Hoover, a man of boundless energy and organizational ability, served in the Harding and Coolidge cabinets as Secretary of Commerce, but was so knowledgeable and active that he was frequently referred to as the "Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary of everything else." Prior to his entrance into political life, he had led a charmed life as an internationally known mining engineer and public citizen. In 1898, soon after graduating from Stanford, Hoover became chief engineer for the Chinese Imperial Bureau of Mines. During the Boxer Rebellion in China (1900), he was instrumental in saving the inhabitants of the foreign settlement in Tienstin, supervising construction of defenses and directing the distribution of food and other supplies. In the early 1900's, he went to London as a partner in a mining consulting firm and, in 1908, founded his own London-based firm which specialized in mine management and reorganization. In August 1914, the U.S. Government asked Hoover to organize food relief in Europe and, in 1917, when the U.S. entered the war, Hoover was appointed head of the U.S. Food Administration, a post which gave him broad powers over food prices and distribution. Elected president on a prosperity ticket in 1928, Hoover had been President a mere seven months before the stock market crash of October 1929. Believing that prosperity was "just around the corner," and that the solution to the country's economic problems lay with business and not government, Hoover delayed too long in taking visible action and was swept away by Franklin Roosevelt in the election of 1932. After leaving the White House, Hoover remained a very visible public figure, serving energetically and with great distinction on many governmental commissions and charitable boards. He died in New York City at age 90, a revered elder statesman.