America's 31st president, Herbert Clark Hoover, was born Aug. 10, 1874, in West Branch, Iowa, the son of a Quaker blacksmith, Jesse Hoover, and his Canadian-born wife, Hulda Randall Minthorn. Orphaned at age 9, Hoover was raised by relatives in Oregon.
Hoover graduated from Stanford University in 1895 with a degree in geology, and traveled to Western Australia and China to work in the mining industry. He married Lou Henry in 1899 and became an independent mining consultant.
When Germany declared war on France, Hoover was in London, and assisted in efforts to return Americans to the United States. He earned a reputation as "The Great Humanitarian" for his efforts to feed Europeans in need during World War I. He was appointed head of the Food Administration by President Woodrow Wilson, and later was appointed Secretary of Commerce by President Warren G. Harding.
In the presidential election of 1928, Republican Hoover defeated the Democratic candidate, Alfred E. Smith.
As president, Hoover expanded U.S. National Parks, added protections for American Indians, and created the Veterans Administration.
However, the stock market crash of 1929 became the defining event of Hoover's presidency, as the nation fell into the Great Depression.
Hoover instituted a public works program and initiated construction on the Hoover Dam in Nevada. He was nominated for a second term, but lost the 1932 election to Franklin D. Roosevelt.
After his presidency, Hoover remained active in politics and humanitarian efforts, working with President Truman and President Eisenhower.
Hoover died at age 90 on Oct. 20, 1964. A 5¢ memorial stamp was issued in his honor on the 91st anniversary of his birth, Aug. 10, 1965 (Scott 1269).