Points of Interest: The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
Tue, 13 May 2014 22:00:00 GMT —
When you buy a carton of eggs at the store, you can thank a former President.
It was Herbert Hoover, who has a black eye in American History.
To get the real story of Herbert Hoover, you just have to open your eyes at his Presidential Library and Museum.
"Hoover's known for the Great Depression," Tom Schwartz said. "He's known as being a cold president, an uncaring president. Anyone who looks at his life knows that is not true."
And what better place to look at his life than the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa.
Tom Schwartz is the director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum.
"I think when they see his life as really one of more of an achievement and compassion, they leave by saying, 'gosh, I never knew,'" Schwartz said.
Hoover was orphaned by the age of nine and separated from his siblings soon afterward. As an adult, he focused on philanthropy and support for kids organizations like The Boys Club and Girl Scouts. He liked those organizations because they taught kids how to be leaders. He also made millions of dollars in the gold mines of Australia, and used that money to feed the hungry all across the world up until he died.
"At the end, he probably fed about one billion people," Schwartz said.
Schwartz says all presidential libraries give you the chance to see the man behind the desk as a person. He says too often, people just see the political side of them, and usually it's through a partisan lens. Visiting the museum gives you the whole picture.
"I don't think most people realize they're living with decisions that Hoover helped make back in the 1920s as Secretary of Commerce," Schwartz said.
Hoover standardized a lot of things we use to this day. For example, he made sure stop lights are red and green all across the country. He decided to make bricks used in building homes a standard size. He decided eggs should come in a carton of 12, milk should be sold in gallon jugs. He even decided how many threads should be on a bolt.
"Hoover is one of those presidents that is probably more accomplished before the presidency and then after," Schwartz said.
After his presidency, he and his wife focused on hunger relief and donating money to several organizations, but they did it secretly. As for the Great Depression, Schwartz says he believes Hoover was a victim of circumstance. Hoover took office in March of 1929, and the stock market crash happened that September.
The Library and Museum are part of a national park in West Branch.
You can also visit Herbert Hoover's birthplace and his grave within the park.