Herbert Hoover Presidential Library
Address and Contact Info
Address: 210 Parkside Dr., P.O. Box 488, West Branch, IA 52358
Fax: (319) 643-6045
Web page: http://hoover.archives.gov/.
Director: Timothy Walch
Online Finding Aids: http://www.ecommcode2.com/hoover/research/index.html
Hours and usage restrictions
The reading room is open to researchers Monday through Friday, 8:45 a.m.-noon and 12:30-4:45 p.m. It is closed all federal holidays and weekends.
The Hoover Presidential Library contains approximately 2,500 linear feet of the papers of Herbert Hoover, dating from 1895 until his death in 1964. Included are papers documenting his career as a mining engineer, his activities as director of relief agencies during and following World War I, his tenure as secretary of commerce (1921–28), his presidency (1929–33), and his postpresidential activities. Along with Hoover’s own papers are copies of selected records groups from the National Archives that document the activities of federal agencies associated with Hoover, such as the U.S. Food Administration, or conferences that he convened, such as the White House Conference on Child Health. Also included are the papers of his wife, Lou Henry Hoover.
In addition to the Hoover Papers, the library contains 275 other collections of papers from individuals who either worked with Herbert Hoover, or were associated with him through shared areas of interest or activity. Some of the more prominent collections include the papers of Hoover associate and chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Lewis Strauss, U.S. senators Gerald Nye of North Dakota and Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa, chairman of Sears, Roebuck & Company Robert E. Wood, conservative newspaper columnists Westbrook Pegler, Walter Trohan, and Clark Mollenhoff, as well as writer and journalist Rose Wilder Lane, whose papers include correspondence with and manuscripts from her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder. Along with Hoover’s life and presidency, other areas of research interest covered by the manuscript collections include atomic energy, aviation, international relief work, agricultural economics, the isolationist movement prior to World War II, and conservative political thought in the mid-20th century.
Audiovisual holdings include 39,500 still. photographs, 153,000 feet of 16mm movies, 420 hours of audiotape, 19 hours of videotape, and 78 audio discs. Transcripts of 443 oral history interviews are also available for use. A book collection of over 20,000 volumes—most relating to the period of Herbert Hoover’s life—is available in the Reading Room, as are periodicals related to Hoover, and microfilmed newspapers, theses, and dissertations.
Suggestions for approaching the material:
Finding aids are online, but double-check with archivists as some info is not completely up-to-date.
The library can be a bit noisy, with people walking through all day, so bring earplugs if you're easily distracted.
Housing and getting by for less in the area:
I was strongly cautioned against staying at the Presidential Inn in West Branch. The Travelodge in Iowa City has a special rate for researchers ($55 a night, which they lowered to $49 when they found out I was staying for two weeks), which includes "continental breakfast" (cereal and bagels). Rooms have coffee-makers, and you can get a fridge and microwave for an extra charge. It's a nice 15-minute drive to West Branch (take the Herbert Hoover Highway for better views). In West Branch, try "Reid's Beans" for lunch -- fresh, delicious, homemade food, good coffee, and friendly owners, all for 5-7 bucks.