spacer Herbert Hoover Herbert Hoover (1874-1964)
Thirty-first President (1929-1933)

Herbert Hoover seemed to be the ultimate problem-solver. As a mining engineer, he had turned marginal operations into thriving enterprises. During World War I, his administration of European food relief was nothing short of brilliant. As secretary of commerce from 1921 to 1928, he transformed a once-sleepy department into a purposeful information clearinghouse.

But as the Great Depression took hold during the second year of his presidency, Hoover was hard pressed for a solution. Believing that America's salvation must be entrusted to private initiative, he hesitated to adopt proposals that required federal involvement in efforts to revive business. When lengthening bread lines and escalating joblessness finally convinced him of the necessity of such steps, the measures proved inadequate. As a result, Hoover's once lustrous reputation dimmed substantially, and he was defeated by a crushing margin in his bid for reelection in 1932.

This portrait was intended for publication on the cover of Time. But Hoover put off sitting for it, and by the time he did, the magazine had lost interest in running the picture. Thus, Hoover became the only President in Time's history never to appear on a cover during his term of office.

Douglas Chandor (1897-1953)
Oil on canvas, 1931
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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