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The Hoover Institution Library Collection

By: Simon Ertz

The History of the Hoover Library Collection - A Brief Summary

The collection of the Hoover Institution Library grew as part of an ambitious and virtually unparalleled private endeavor to preserve primary sources, literature, and diverse publications on historical events and developments that had the greatest impact on the development of humanity in the modern era. It was started in 1919 by public servant and later 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover, originally with the goal to preserve the widest possible range of documents on World War I. From then on, the collection expanded to cover the origins and consequences of conflicts, wars, and revolutions, as well as the development of societies under regimes of different types in all major regions of the world.

In the beginning, the collection's main geographic focus was on Europe and Russia/the Soviet Union, the regions that were most affected by World War I and that continued to experience social, political, and revolutionary upheaval. In subsequent decades, the rise of radical and totalitarian ideologies and regimes, World War II, the spread of revolutionary movements around the globe, and decolonization became other major emphases. The continuing antagonism between the Socialist bloc and the capitalist Western countries throughout the entire Cold War period was covered especially thoroughly. Throughout the 20th century, considerable materials were also collected on politics and society in the United States, as well as on US involvement in international conflicts, wars, initiatives, and organizations in various periods.

Further Readings

Simon Ertz. "The Hoover Library Collection at Its Centenary: History, Themes, Access, and Challenges," Slavic & East European Information Resources, 21:3-4 (2020), pp. 178-197, DOI: 10.1080/15228886.2020.1844377