The Great Humanitarian – Henry Hoover was best known for his efforts to extend assistance to World War I’s war victims.
Born on August 10, 1874, Herbert Clark Hoover served as the 31st president of the United States from 1929 to 1933. During his presidency, economic disasters enveloped the country – the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. Prior to his presidency, Hoover was a successful mining engineer and businessman, United States Food Administration (USFA) director, and the 3rd US Secretary of Commerce.
Learn more about Herbert Hoover by checking out the interesting facts about him below.
Fun Facts about Herbert Hoover
1. Hoover was an orphan.
Herbert Hoover was raised by his blacksmith father Jesse Hoover and mother Hulda Randall Minthorn. His father was also of German, Swiss, and English heritage; while his mother hailed from Canada.
In 1880, Hoover’s father died. Four years later, his mother followed suit. Thus, by 1884, Hoover, together with his siblings, Theodore and May, were left as orphans.
2. Hoover did not finish high school
In 1885, Herbert Hoover went to Newberg, Oregon to be under the care of his uncle John Minthorn. Being a physician and businessman, Minthorn was able to influence Hoover to develop a strong work ethic and educational inclination.
Eventually, at age 13, Herbert Hoover preferred to work as an office assistant for Oregon Land Company than attending George Fox University (formerly Friends Pacific Academy). Instead of high school, Hoover attended a night school where he acquired the required skills and knowledge in bookkeeping, typing, and mathematics, among others, an interesting fact about Herbert Hoover.
3. Hoover did not pass Stanford entrance Exam
In 1891, Herbert Hoover was admitted to Stanford University. Interestingly, this is despite the fact Mathematics was the only subject he did not fail. In other words, he failed all the Stanford entrance exams except Math.
At first, Hoover was just a mediocre student. Apparently, his priorities were misplaced at the time – he spent most of his time working on part-time jobs or doing school’s extra-curricular activities. Interestingly, such direction led him to become well-known throughout Stanford. Hoover became the student council’s treasurer, the student manager of the campus’ sports team, and project organizer of different big events of the University.
Indeed, despite having a slow start, Hoover was able to make an impact at Stanford in ways unpredictable. In the end, Hoover graduated with a major in geology with dreams of becoming a mining geologist.
4. Hoover was in China during the Boxer Rebellion
In 1895, the newly graduate Herbert Hoover struggled finding a job due to the Panic of 1893 – a drastic economic depression in the United States.
An interesting fact about Herbert Hoover is that he was hired by a London-based mining company in Australia – the Bewick, Moreing & Co. Due to his hard work and strategic management skills, the company was able to control about 50 percent of Western Australia’s gold production. Impressed by his work and dedication, Hoover’s employers promoted him to junior partner in 1898. However, he was eventually transferred to China to ease the conflict between him and his boss Ernest Williams.
Shortly upon arriving in China and settling down in Tientsin as a mining engineer, Hoover was caught in the Boxer Rebellion.
5. Hoover was a doctor and investor
After Herbert Hoover’s stint in China, he ventured out as an independent mining consultant. He steered his profession towards managing corporate organizations and funding new mining ventures. Eventually, he became a prominent geologist in restoring mining operations, thus earned the title “doctor of sick mines”.
Further, being a voracious investor, Hoover acquired offices around the world – San Francisco, London, New York City, Paris, St. Petersburg and Mandalay, Myanmar, among many others! Thus, by 1914, he had earned over US$4 million – equivalent to over US$102 million today.
6. Hoover also made an influence in the academics
Herbert Hoover spent his spare time doing lectures at Columbia University and Stanford University. In 1909, he was able to publish Principles of Mining – a compilation of his lectures. Aside from his expertise and experience transcribed therein, the said textbook also illustrated Hoover’s progressive ideals. Eventually, Principles of Mining became the standard textbook in different universities.
In 1912, Hoover also published the English translation of De re Metallica or On the Nature of Metals. Basically, this is a book by Georg Bauer written in Latin which showcases the art of mining, refining, and smelting metals. With Hoover’s effort, On the Nature of Metals became a very important Chemistry textbook, among other disciplines.
Aside from lectures and publications, Hoover also became part of Standford’s Board of Trustees. He led therein a campaign that successfully made John Branner appointed as the university president.
7. Hoover was a great benevolent during World War I
In 1914, the food crisis enveloped Belgium after being invaded by Germany. Thus, to facilitate food imports, Hoover founded the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB) together with Belgian’s National Relief and Food Committee, an interesting Herbert Hoover fact.
Hoover labored over 14 hours each day to facilitate the distribution of foods to over 9 million war victims. He coordinated with German authorities to allow the shipments of food to Belgium, and the British Chancellor to extend their financial assistance therein.
With this, Hoover became an internationally well-known benevolent due to his diplomatic coordination between the British, French, German, Dutch, and Belgian governments.
8. Hoover predicted the Great Depression
During the presidency of Herbert Hoover, the stock market was in a continuous bull run that it blinded many investors of the threats to the economy of the United States – agricultural crisis, a surplus in consumer goods, and heightening economic stratification. Hoover early on expressed to the public about the risk of speculative investing in the stock market. However, due to extreme public optimism, the warning was left unheard. Later, the Stock Market Crash of 1929 took place and eventually became among the many factors that led to the Great Depression!
Despite the economic depression during his presidency. Herbert Hoover will always be remembered for saving millions of lives during World War – the “Great Humanitarian”.
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