Lot 66: Herbert Hoover Inscribed Pamphlet "The Meaning of America," a Homecoming Address Delivered on His 74th birthday
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
26 October 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: HOOVER, HERBERT. (1874-1964). Thirty-first president of the United States. A pamphlet entitled “The Meaning of America,” the homecoming address delivered by Hoover on his 74th birthday. (“Herbert Hoover”). 8vo. West Branch, Iowa, August 10, 1948. Inscribed “with the affection of Herbert Hoover” to the head of the Atomic Energy Commission LEWIS STRAUSS (1896-1974). ********** Born in West Branch, Iowa, Hoover was a Quaker and a mining engineer who gained international attention during World War I as head of the United States Food Administration, which distributed food and supplies across Europe. Later appointed Secretary of Commerce by President Harding, he promoted studies that led to the construction of the Hoover Dam and the St. Lawrence Seaway. In 1928, his election made him the first president born west of the Mississippi, and during his term he witnessed the stock market crash and the hardships brought on by the Great Depression, for which he was blamed. Preaching an unsuccessful philosophy of “rugged individualism,” he was soundly defeated by Roosevelt in 1932. Hoover retired from public life until he was named chairman of a commission to reorganize the executive branch of government. In 1948, his hometown invited him to deliver a speech on his birthday which was an autobiographical reminiscence of his rural upbringing and a reflection on the meaning of America. ********** Lewis Strauss first met Hoover when he was a volunteer in the United States Food Administration’s relief efforts. Strauss soon became Hoover’s private secretary, serving the USFA until 1919. He became a prominent member of the American Jewish Committee, and after working for the Bureau of Ordnance during World War II, served on the Army-Navy Munitions Board and the Naval Reserve Policy Board, becoming a rear admiral. Strauss had long been interested in physics and began funding cancer and, later, nuclear research. In 1945, after the U.S. developed the atomic bomb, Strauss suggested that nuclear testing could be used as a warning to America’s enemies. Although his suggestion was initially rejected, it ultimately led to the Bikini Atoll tests that commenced in July 1946. After the establishment of the Atomic Energy Commission, Strauss served as commissioner, pushing for the development of a hydrogen bomb and working to improve security which, in some cases, involved excluding scientists who had worked on the atomic bomb, including J. Robert Oppenheimer, director of the Manhattan Project. Strauss’ suspicions of Oppenheimer prompted him to ask FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to spy on the scientist. Although no evidence of impropriety was discovered, Strauss successfully brought the matter before the Senate, leading to the revocation of Oppenheimer’s security clearance. Strauss served the AEC until 1958, rejecting several offers to join Eisenhower’s cabinet. He acted as interim secretary of commerce but the Senate failed to confirm him in 1959. ********** With light wear and in very good condition. Uncommon.