Our Iowa Heritage: An American President – Herbert Hoover.

Grant Wood‘s The Birthplace of Herbert Hoover, West Branch, Iowa (1931)

(M-0026) Herbert Hoover – born in West Branch, Iowa – August 10, 1874 Centennial Commemorative Medallion.  President of the United States: March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933 Died: October 20, 1964 in New York City – Buried in West Branch, Iowa

West Branch, Iowa – 1907. West Branch was laid out in 1869 by Joseph Steer, amd incorporated in 1875. The city was first settled by Quakers from Ohio and prior to (and during) the Civil War, the good people of West Branch provided stops on the Underground Railroad, offering the opportunity of freedom to slaves escaping from the South. Read more about the Underground Railroad here.
Birthplace of Herbert Hoover West Branch, IA

(P-0153) (P-0154) President Herbert Hoover was born in West Branch in 1874. Today the National Historic site includes a Library-Museum, the Hoover Birthplace Cottage and the gravesites of President Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover.

Herbert Hoover Stamp Day – August 10, 1965.


(L-0055) (L-0056) I was there in West Branch that day with my Mom, and my two grandmothers, Edie Boyer & Olive Boller. 22,000 people poured into West Branch on that very hot day. Former President Dwight Eisenhower and Former Vice President Richard Nixon were the main speakers.

(L-0089) As President Eisenhower’s limousine turned a corner, Ike looked out the window, smiled and waved at my Grandma Edie and me as we were waving from the crowd. For a stamp collector and Iowa historian, an amazing day was had by all!

(C-0150Herbert Hoover – First Day of Issue: August 10, 1965  City: West Branch, Iowa.

(P-0156) (C-0151) (P-0155) (S-0044) (S-0068) These stamps, postcards and covers celebrate the memory of our 31st President, a great humanitarian and civil servant, including a Grant Wood drawing of the Herbert Hoover birthplace!

(C-0268) Speaking of USPS Stamp Days, this would be a good place to insert this cool 1962 postal cover from the Seattle’s World’s Fair. On May 12, 1962 – it was IOWA DAY at the fair! Now – back to Herbert Hoover…

(C-0280) On President Herbert Hoover’s 62nd birthday (1874 -1936) this cacheted cover was postmarked in West Branch.
(P-0152) After his presidency, Hoover kept his civil service alive by becoming a pro-active Chairman for the Boys Club of America.

As you might know, Herbert Hoover had a rough go of it as the 31st President of the United States (1929-1933). A brilliant and compassionate man, yet not able to overcome the burdens that the Great Depression laid upon the nation during his presidency.

(C-0286) This historic postal cover was put together by the Washington Stamp Exchange in August of 1965 – placing seven other US postage stamps with the Hoover commemorative – all with themes surrounding Herbert Hoover’s life (see above letter).

1951 – The Iowa Award – Herbert C. Hoover.

In 1951, Herbert Hoover was awarded the very first Iowa Award, the highest honor given to an Iowan. Read more here.

(P-0227) Hoover and his good friend, President Harry Truman in 1962.

In 1947, realizing the mammoth bureaucracy created by the New Deal and another world war had to adapt to peace and prosperity, (President) Truman enlisted Hoover to make the executive branch more efficient. Amid fierce infighting between New Dealers wanting to preserve FDR’s legacy and conservatives bent on erasing it, Hoover chaired the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch. The “Hoover Commission” achieved bipartisan reforms Truman claimed were among his most significant accomplishments. Years later, speaking at the dedication of the Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa, Truman said, “I feel that I am one of his closest friends and he is one of my closest friends.”

Herbert Hoover and Jay “Ding” N. Darling…

President Hoover and political cartoonist, Ding Darling, were friends from 1919-1962. Read more here.

(C-0157Herbert Hoover Day – 100th Anniversary – 1874 – 1974. 
(S-0046) Herbert Hoover featured on the 1986 AMERIPEX-86 Presidential Series Souvenir Sheets.

(S-0045) (C-0153) (C-0152) (C-0154)  Not since 1938 had a series of U.S. stamps been devoted entirely to past U.S. Presidents.  And with this series, another postal “first” occurred when four “mini sheets” were issued by the U.S. Postal Service. Each sheet incorporated nine 22-cent commemorative stamps. Each of 35 stamps honors a deceased U.S. President, and the 36th stamp depicts the White House. These were the very first “mini-sheets” ever issued by the United States.  And in addition to a President’s portrait, each stamp bears a facsimile of the President’s signature, plus, the years he served in office.

Hoover and Kennedy in 1962.
(C-0155) Celebrating Presidential Libraries. Today there are 13 different presidential libraries containing over 400 million pages of documents, 10 million photos, 15 million feet of motion picture film, 100,000 hours of audio and video recordings, and 500,000 museum objects. A trip to West Branch to visit the Hoover Library is well worth the trip. Click here to see our Presidents of the US cover collection.

Herbert Clark Hoover died on October 20, 1964 (age 90), and along with his dear partner in marriage, Lou Henry Hoover, are buried on the grounds of the Herbert Hoover National Library & Museum in West Branch, Iowa.

Ding Darling said it well with his sketch from 1933. Click here to read more.

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