Today’s post comes from Nikita Buley, an intern in the National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications.
Happy American Archives Month! Throughout October, we’re running a series of “spotlights” on the many locations that make up the National Archives. You can visit the exhibits or use the research rooms.
The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa, has an unusual location. It is within the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, a 187-acre park administered by the National Park Service. The location is meant to preserve the wildlife and nature in the site and the Quaker community in which Hoover grew up.
Permanent exhibitions are organized chronologically in a series of galleries that showcase Hoover’s fascinating life and accomplishments. They flow from Hoover’s orphaned boyhood and youth in Iowa, to his success as a global businessman, to his humanitarian efforts during World War I. There is a section that discusses the enormous cultural and technological changes in the Roaring Twenties, which then moves into Hoover’s time as Secretary of Commerce in the same decade, his Presidential campaign and election, his role in the Great Depression, and his post-Presidential life and work. There is also a gallery dedicated to Lou Henry Hoover and her role as First Lady.
In addition to Hoover’s own papers and mementos, the library also contains the documentary legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. Lane wrote the first biography about Hoover, a work which led to their friendship. The papers track her impressive career as a journalist around the world and her work as a publicist during World War I. They also reveal her role in editing her mother’s “Little House on the Prairie,” as well as the rest of the series.