Documenting war and peace: Stanford’s Hoover Institution Library and Archives

Documenting war and peace: Stanford’s Hoover Institution Library and Archives


[MUSIC PLAYING] The Hoover Library and Archives
is a 100-year-old repository of the most important
material in the United States on war, revolution, and peace. Herbert Hoover was a graduate of
Stanford’s first class, decided that he would give a donation
to the University of $50,000. This is a cablegram sent from
Herbert Hoover dated April 22nd, 1919, in
which he says, I’m going to donate to
collect materials related to the First World War. Hoover very much believed that
if we could collect materials related to war,
revolution, and peace, then perhaps we can
make bigger strides towards a more peaceful world. It begins as a war collection,
a history of World War I. He wanted to document
the causes and the course of that war. But soon enough, the
collecting increases. From Mr Hoover’s vision of
an archive in a library, we’ve grown to become
what he said we should be, which is quote, “more
than a mere library.” We are a research center
with an affiliated library and archives. We have everything from an x-ray
of Hitler’s skull to the strike order for the bomb on
Hiroshima to the Ba’ath Party archives from Saddam
Hussein to the collection of Milton Friedman’s papers
and Friedrich Hayek’s papers. When we say war,
revolution, and peace, we mean the whole
experience of humanity. [MUSIC PLAYING] We really known for
our poster collection. We have more than
130,000 of them here. So it’s one of
the biggest poster collections in the world. One strength of our poster
collection, of course, is World War I
political posters. World War I was
really the golden age of the political
poster because it’s the period before broadcast
television and radio. We are now collecting in
Afghanistan, in the Middle East, in North
Africa, in Ukraine, in areas where there are
current conflicts going on because we’re looking at
what researchers might want to do 20, 30 years hence. What are they going
to want to know about the troubles of our time? There’s something about having
the original documents there. The actual paper in
your hands, in a way, is a vehicle that
transports you back to the time you’re studying. There’s really no
place like Hoover. Spend a day here,
and you realize that you could spend a lifetime
and still not see everything. [MUSIC PLAYING] For more, please visit
us at stanford.edu.

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