Inside and up the Stanford tower: good views from the top, history at the Hoover Institution Essay

Inside and up the Stanford tower Good views from the top, history at the Hoover Institution Often controversial and increasingly influential (more than 50former or current scholars have served in the Reagan administration),the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace may be the mostprominent conservative think tank in the West today. With just under 4,000 collections, it’s a treasury of primarysources on 20th century social, economic, and political changes. Itsrare and valuable historic papers include items like the files of theParis branch of the Russian secret police (prior to the BolshevikRevolution) and the diaries of Hitler’s Gestapo commander, HeinrichHimmler. Among more recent acquisitions are the strike orders for thebombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These documents and most of theother collections belonging to the institution are available for reviewby anyone with genuine interest. You can also make a 10-minute stop at the Herbert Hoover ExhibitPavilion (at the top of the steps to the left of the tower) for aglimpse of photographs and papers from selected collections, or take anelevator to the top of Hoover Tower for a fine view of the StanfordUniversity campus and the south bay.

The institution grew out of a project sponsored by Herbert C.Hoover in 1919. Director General of Relief in Europe after World War I,he offered Stanford (his alma mater) $50,000 to begin collecting sourcedocuments dealing with World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution. Theresult is one of the world’s largest such repositories. If youhave a particular interest and want to know about Hoover’scollections, write to Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University,Stanford, Calif. 94305.

If you are interested in modern history, curious about theinstitution, or just looking for a place to get a good view, here arethree ways to see the Hoover Institution. Hoover Tower. Ride the elevator up to the observation platform onthe 14th floor of the tower, open 10 to 11:50 and 1 to 3:50 Mondaysthrough Saturdays, 1 to 3:30 Sundays. (During vacation break, December14 to January 17, the tower may be closed; call 415/497-2862 forinformation.) A student guide takes you up and gives you a short historyof the tower and the institution, explaining its connection with theuniversity. Admission is 50 cents (25 cents for seniors, free for ages11 and under).

Before you leave the tower, stop in the lobby for a look at theHerbert Hoover and the Lou Henry Hoover rooms. Herbert Hoover’s long career is sometimes overshadowed by hisbeing associated with the Great Depression. In the Herbert Hoover Room,you’ll see other aspects of his life: mementos of his relief workin war-torn Europe; his translation of a 16th-century treatise onmining, De Re Metallica; and documents from his periods of service underpresidents Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Truman, and Eisenhower. These exhibits are open, free, 9 to 5 Mondays through Saturdays, 1to 5 Sundays. Exhibit pavilion. Displays change about twice a year.

Materialsfrom the American postwar occupation of Japan should be on view throughDecember. The pavilion is open 11 to 4 Mondays through Fridays.Admission is free. Archives. Documents are available for review from 8:15 to 4:45weekdays. After filling out a registration form and presenting someidentification at the desk on the bottom floor of the Hoover MemorialBuilding, you will be allowed into the reading room with only a pen orpencil; free lockers are provided, and free paper and note cards areavailable in the reading room.

A reference librarian will take about 10 minutes to explain how tofind collections that interest you and how to request them. At 9 and 11A.M., 2 and 3 P.M.

, a librarian bring requested collections to thereading room, the only place you may study them. You might find thereading room a bit chilly for sitting; temperature and humidity are keptlow to preserve documents. Photo: A landmark rising 285 feet above Stanford campus, HooverTower houses Hoover Institution’s archives and library Photo: Tower’s observation platform gives them western viewover the main quad of Stanford campus Photo: From U.

S. 101, take Palo Alto’s University Avenue,which becomes Palm Drive on campus. Color tone shows metered andshort-term parking; note that some streets are blocked off to cars Photo: You may bring only pen or pencil into archive reading room;librarians supply paper for taking notes


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