Herbert Hoover

The man who would become U.S. President at the time of its greatest economic crisis spoke in Richmond about the need to help consumers, little knowing in seven years he would be tasked with salvaging the economy.

Secretary of Commerce and future president Herbert Hoover spoke at Earlham’s College Diamond Jubilee luncheon on June 6, 1922.

Hoover was a multi-millionaire and a member of the Republican Party, who later became president. He was also related to the Hoover family that came to Wayne County from West Milton, Ohio, and settled a portion of what would become Richmond.

When as 31st president he entered the White House at a time of prosperity, Americans expected him to lead them to even better days. But seven months after he took the oath of office the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began.

Hoover oversaw loans to business, but deemphasized caring for the downtrodden, whose aid he thought should remain a voluntary effort. He and many business leaders believed that prosperity would quickly return to the United States.

To some he acted too slowly, as his efforts were largely ineffective.

In later years he would donate the income from his government work, including his pension, to charity.

Ex-president Hoover again spoke at Earlham on June 12, 1939, on a comeback trail after an unsuccessful presidency. He would not complete his comeback as chief executive, but he would, by the end of his life, restore the country’s faith in him as an American.


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June 19, 2012