|Description||The Hoover Institution Archives, with its vast original documentation on modern history, are a core component of the institution that Herbert Hoover (1874–1964) founded at his alma mater, Stanford University, in 1919.
The founding collections of the Hoover Institution Archives include the extensive files of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, the U.S. Food Administration, and the American Relief Administration in Europe and Russia. Hoover added materials such as nationalist pamphlets that he acquired in the course of his work for the Paris Peace Conference. These files, as well as the ephemeral leaflets, posters, and diaries that Adams, Golder, and Lutz collected, formed the basis of the institution. The emphasis was on saving materials that would ordinarily be quickly lost: publications intended to respond to a specific historical moment, eyewitness accounts of historical events, correspondence and memoranda by public figures, and files of international humanitarian organizations. Posters, film footage, and photographs were important components of the collection from the beginning. Most of the materials required special care and handling. Hoover was prescient in collecting source materials on ideologies such as fascism, communism, and nationalism, which he saw shaping the new global politics.
The archives, originally a repository for documentation on World War I, grew to encompass the records of the fascist, communist, and nationalist movements that precipitated World War II. When the university library no longer had space for the growing collections, Hoover raised funds for a separate building to house the library and archives.
In all there are more than five thousand separate collections in the Hoover Institution Archives, including millions of individual documents from the entire range of twentieth-century history and politics around the world. Detailed descriptions of the histories and major collections of each curatorial area are available for Africa, the Americas, East Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Russia/Commonwealth of Independent States. Some of the most heavily used collections are the subject files on specific countries as compiled by the area curators. The poster collection is also extensively used and supplies images for documentaries, book jackets, and a growing body of work on political iconography. All this material is stored in approximately 100,000 boxes and made available for use in the Hoover Institution Archives reading room.|