Monday, September 01, 2014

Herbert Hoover - Native Iowan

A President from IOWA -- 
Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 - October 20, 1964)
U.S. President (31st)  1929-1933
Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 - October 20, 1964 ) was born in West Branch, Iowa but before he was ten years of age he was orphaned and living in Oregon being raised by an aunt and an uncle.  He studied at Stanford and became a civil engineer.  He spent a lot of time in China and worked all over the world.  It was his work during World War I that marked his true success as a humanitarian when he became involved in the relief efforts for trapped foreigners, and headed up the Commission for Relief in Belgium
Citizens of Belgium (and elsewhere in Europe) were so thankful that they often used their talents to embroider over the designs on the grain sacks and sent them back to Hoover as a thank-you for his humanitarian efforts.

At the Herbert Hoover Museum in West Branch, Iowa there are several personal stories of memories of Hoover's efforts to feed the hungry in Europe.  One man, Eric Sonneman* (December 1, 1910 - 2004), tells of a day in his childhood -- he like many other children had little or no food on many days.  The children were always hungry.  Often their only food was grainy and brown rolls made with flour mixed with sand in order to stretch the quantity of the flour.  And milk that was so diluted with water that the color was blue. One day his teacher came into the classroom and told the children that they would be getting a tin plate and cup and that they should scratch their name in the plate and cup.  And soon other teachers would be bringing in "Hoover Rolls."  He did not know what "Hoover
Rolls" were but it turns out they were luscious aromatic white rolls.  As the teachers came in with pans filled with the delicious smelling rolls the children were given hot chocolate and a Hoover roll.  As an adult Eric brought that tin plate and cup with him to America -- a memory of the very best day in his life.  Even as an older man, he said that he will not ever forget that day.  Hot chocolate and Hoover Rolls.

~ ~ ~

Herbert Hoover's career moved on and many felt that he was not the best president ever but in fact history may look a little more favorable as time passes.  Read about his career as humanitarian, secretary of commerce and as the 31st President of the United States of America, Herbert C. Hoover (1929–1933).
~ ~ ~
*While researching information about Eric Sonneman, whose story lead to my discovery of "Hoover Rolls" I came across a post by his daughter Toby Sonneman who writes of one of his favorite things during his later life in Chicago, Illinois -- rich delicious "S" cookies.  "A hundred years of S-Cookies" shares the story of and the recipe for a sweeter treat that Sonneman came to enjoy.  His mother brought the recipe with her when she and his dad (Toby's grandparents) fled Nazi Germany in 1940.  Sweet recipe and sweet story.   I'll be making these cookies this Thanksgiving in honor of Eric Sonneman - a man who remembered our Iowa born president - Herbert C. Hoover.  Thanks, Eric for sharing your story, and Toby, thank you for sharing yours.  Stories make history memorable.


Horizon said...

Many thanks for bringing this history to life, through the stories and recipe. Thanks also for your reference to the story about my father. I remember him saying they put sawdust in the bread in those days!

Sharron McElmeel said...

I enjoyed learning a little more about your father. Wish I could have met him.
It is stories such as his that lets the rest of us realize just how much history is told through the stories of those who lived it.
Thank you for sharing.