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Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace

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The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace is a public policy think tank and library founded in 1919 by U.S. President Herbert Hoover located at, and part of, Stanford University, his alma mater. Over time the Institution has amassed a large archive of documentation related to President Hoover, World War I, and World War II, specifically focusing on theories about the root causes of these wars.

The Hoover Institution mission statement [2] expresses the basic tenets for which it stands: representative government, private enterprise, peace, personal freedom, and the safeguards of the American system.

The Hoover Institution is influential in the American conservative and libertarian movements, and the Institution has long been a place of scholarship for high profile conservatives with government experience. A number of fellows have connections to or positions in the Bush administration, and other Republican administrations. A non-political figure who played a key role in the Bush Administration's Iraq policy, Retired Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, former commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), recently joined the Hoover Institution (as the first Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow) [3]. Other fellows of the Institution include such high profile conservatives as Condoleezza Rice, George Shultz, Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, and Edwin Meese.


Mission Statement

Now more than four decades old, Herbert Hoover's 1959 statement to the Board of Trustees of Stanford University on the purpose and scope of the Hoover Institution continues to guide and define its mission in the twenty-first century:

"This Institution supports the Constitution of the United States, its Bill of Rights and its method of representative government. Both our social and economic systems are based on private enterprise from which springs initiative and ingenuity.... Ours is a system where the Federal Government should undertake no governmental, social or economic action, except where local government, or the people, cannot undertake it for themselves.... The overall mission of this Institution is, from its records, to recall the voice of experience against the making of war, and by the study of these records and their publication, to recall man's endeavors to make and preserve peace, and to sustain for America the safeguards of the American way of life. This Institution is not, and must not be, a mere library. But with these purposes as its goal, the Institution itself must constantly and dynamically point the road to peace, to personal freedom, and to the safeguards of the American system."

The principles of individual, economic, and political freedom; private enterprise; and representative government were fundamental to the vision of the Institution's founder. By collecting knowledge, generating ideas, and disseminating both, the Institution seeks to secure and safeguard peace, improve the human condition, and limit government intrusion into the lives of individuals. [4]


About Herbert Hoover

In 1919, former president Herbert Hoover founded the Hoover Institution. Since then, the Institution has grown to be one of the most significant think-tanks on the West Coast. Orphaned at the age of ten, at seventeen, Hoover joined four hundred students at Stanford University for inaugural ceremonies that opened the university on October 1, 1891. After graduating in Stanford's pioneer class in 1895, he would go on to become a successful mining engineer, generous benefactor, well-known humanitarian, prominent statesman, and president of the United States.

In 1914, Herbert Hoover was living and working in London, England, when World War I broke out in Europe. He immediately became involved with assisting American travelers who were fleeing the war zone. With the German invasion of the neutral nation of Belgium, Hoover was asked to create a private humanitarian relief agency to assist Belgium's civilian population, which was accustomed to importing 80 percent of its food. The German occupation and the Allied naval blockade threatened famine and death by starvation to this country's citizens.

During this time, Hoover read, and was influenced by, an autobiography of Andrew White, a distinguished historian, diplomat, and the first president of Cornell University. White had assembled a vast collection of documents pertaining to the French Revolution that ultimately contributed to one of the best accounts of this historic event. Hoover then realized that he was in a unique position to collect fugitive information about the Great War that was then unfolding. It was this idea and vision that would lead the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace into becoming the largest private repository of documents on twentieth-century political history.

In 1917, the United States entered the war, and Hoover, by now a famous humanitarian hero, returned stateside and was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to become head of the newly created U.S. Food Administration. When the war ended in 1918, Hoover returned to Europe for almost a year as director-general of the American Relief Administration to organize the supply and distribution of food and relief materials to more than twenty nations affecting one-third of the population of Europe, thereby facilitating the emergence of stable economies in the war-torn region.

By 1920, Hoover and his family had returned to his alma mater, building a handsome house on the Stanford campus. However, in 1921, President-Elect Warren Harding recruited Hoover to become secretary of commerce. While traditionally a lowly cabinet position, the popular Hoover quickly established himself as one of the most prominent people in American public life. When President Calvin Coolidge succeeded President Harding, Herbert Hoover was asked to continue his service in the same capacity.

In 1928, when President Coolidge declined to run for a second term of office, Herbert Hoover was urged to become the Republican candidate and was eventually elected as the 31st president of the United States. In his first year of office, an economic crisis ensued with the stock market crash of October 1929. The onslaught of the Great Depression led to Franklin D. Roosevelt's successful presidential campaign in 1932. Herbert Hoover and family returned to their Stanford home in 1933.

Hoover War Collection

In 1919, Herbert Hoover pledged $50,000 to Stanford University to support his Hoover War Collection. He was also personally responsible for most of the gifts during the early founding, as well as for decades thereafter. The collection flourished in the early years and in 1922 was renamed the Hoover War Library. While it was physically housed within the Stanford Library, the collection was kept separate. By 1926, it was legitimately described as the largest library in the world dealing with the Great War. By 1929, the library contained 1.4 million items, and physical space became an issue during the troubling times of the Great Depression. Finally, in 1938, a building plan was unveiled for Hoover Tower. The tower, reaching a height of 285 feet, was completed in 1941--the fiftieth anniversary of Stanford University.

By 1946, the agenda of the Hoover War Library had extended significantly to include research activities, and thus the organization was renamed the Hoover Institute and Library on War, Revolution and Peace. Herbert Hoover was now living in New York City and allowing his Stanford residence to be used by Stanford's president. He would later donate his home to the university for such use. Nonetheless, Hoover remained integrally involved in the Hoover Institute and Library as a significant benefactor, fund-raiser, and principal provider of guiding inspiration.

Indeed, in 1956 a major funding campaign was launched, with Herbert Hoover leading the effort. The development of the enterprise was so prominent that in 1957 it was again renamed as the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, the name it holds today. [5]


The following is a short list of past or present Hoover Institution fellows and scholars.

Honorary fellows

Distinguished fellows

Senior fellows

Senior research fellows

Research fellows

Distinguished visiting fellows

Media Fellows

The William and Barbara Edwards Media Fellows Program at the Hoover Institution.[1]


  • Ehpraim D. Adams (1920-1925)
  • Ralph H. Lutz (1925-1944)
  • Harold H. Fisher (1944-1952)
  • C. Easton Rothwell (1952–1959)[2]
  • W. Glenn Campbell (1960–1989)[3]
  • John Raisian (1989–)[3]


The Hoover Institution produces multiple publications regarding public policy topics, including the quarterly publications Hoover Digest, Education Next, and China Leadership Monitor. In 2001, the Hoover Institution acquired the bimonthly publication Policy Review from the Heritage Foundation. The Hoover Institution Press also publishes books and essays.

Task Forces

As an enterprise steeped in academic tradition, the Hoover Institution seeks to determine how it can provide meaningful information and advice on public policy. By recruiting extraordinary intellectual talent, Hoover is able to convene scholars (both resident and nonresident) who combine their efforts in a task force—or "virtual faculty"—with specific well-defined objectives. These task force strategies are a new way to organize the Institution's research by leveraging Hoover's intellectual assets. The task forces organize Hoover fellows and other scholars into teams working on commonly defined topics and integrated projects rather than individual fellows working independently. The task force strategies emphasize a collective approach that focuses on the Institution's research agenda. The task forces concentrate the Institution's scholarly resources on relatively narrow—although important—policy issues and empower the teams of scholars to participate strategically with the director in defining the ideas to emanate from the task forces. Using its ability to recruit extraordinary intellectual talent, the Hoover Institution organizes this talent in a new way: combining them into task forces to address specific research topics. The task forces emphasize a collective approach (rather than the more traditional individual methodology) to work on commonly defined topics and projects.

Koret Task Force in K-12 Education

National Security and Law

Property Rights, Freedom, and Prosperity

Virtues of a Free Society

Economic Development

Federal Tax and Budget Policy

Health Care Reform

Ideology and Terror

Energy Policy

Procedural Reform of Government

A full list of the members of each task force can be found online at: [6]


The Hoover Institution receives much of its funding from private charitable foundations, including many attached to large corporations. A partial list of its recent donors includes:

Between 2001 and 2010, the Hoover Institution received $3.37 million from the conservative Bradley Foundation[5].


  1. Hoover Institution. The William and Barbara Edwards Media Fellows Program (html). hoover.org. “The Edwards Media Fellows Program allows print and broadcast media professionals to spend time in residence at the Hoover Institution. Media fellows have the opportunity to exchange information and perspectives with Hoover scholars through seminars and informal meetings and with the Hoover and Stanford communities in public lectures. As fellows, they have access to the full range of research tools that Hoover offers.”
  2. "Yacht club to host celebration of Virginia Rothwell", Stanford Report (September 1, 2004). Retrieved on 2008-03-25. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Trei, Lisa (November 28, 2001). "Glenn Campbell, former Hoover director, dead at 77", Stanford Report. Retrieved on 2008-03-25. 
  4. [1] accessed 2011-08-04
  5. Daniel Bice, Bill Glauber, Ben Poston. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. November 28, 2011.

External links

  • Hoover Institution website.
  • Grants made to Hoover Institution at MediaTransparency.org.
  • Hoover Institution Events video
  • Hoover and Stanford Hiring Practices
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