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Ideas from the Hoover Archives

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The Hoover Institution Library & Archives are located in the Herbert Hoover Memorial Building next to the Hoover tower.  This non-circulating collection contains over 60 million documents as well as over 100,000 political posters from around the world and provides an amazing resource for primary research.  Many of the archival collections have paper or online finding aids to help you search the materials.  Follow the links below to begin your own investigation of this expansive resource.

This useful guide provides student researchers with an overview of how to most effectively search the impressive array of materials available through the archives.

Key Search Links

Poster Collection

The poster collection is available in the Hoover Archives and is one of the largest collections of 20th century posters in the United States. It includes posters from World War I, World War II, the Russian Revolution and much more.

Posters hail from 80 countries, including the Soviet Union, France, Germany, the United States and Britain. You have easy access to slides of most of these posters in the Reading Room of the Archives. Check out the posters online,

Research Topic Ideas

  • Techniques of propaganda
  • Visual propaganda
  • Images of war
  • Women in war posters
  • Images of the Germans vs. the Japanese in American posters
  • Racism in posters
  • Christy posters
  • South African AIDS education posters
  • The evolution of Russian symbolism in posters
  • The evolution of the helmet in posters
  • Themes of secrecy in posters
  • Nazi propaganda
  • East German Posters, 1970 to present
  • See our guides for more topics!

Further Resources

For information about posters and propaganda, see Peter Paret’s book (Persuasive Images: Posters of War and Revolution from the Hoover Institution Archives) in the Hoover Library & Archives Reading Room.

Online information and overview of the Poster collection

Alice Sinclair Dodge Collection

Alice Sinclair Dodge, 1876-1965, was a member of the American Friends Service Committee and of the Japanese American Citizens League, and she was also an inveterate collector of letters, magazine articles, and newspaper clippings about the internment of the Japanese Americans during WWII. Her collection provides valuable context for the study of the relocation, because she has gathered into one place so many different articles and magazines from all over the country, all dealing with the political and human costs of this internment. Her correspondence with Roy Nakata from 1942-1946 offers a truly rare account of his entire experience of his trip first to the evacuation centers, then to the camp, and finally, to freedom.

Research Topic Ideas

  • Government and media propaganda about the relocation of Japanese Americans
  • Media coverage of relocation
  • Protests against relocation
  • Role of American Friends Service Committee in helping relocated persons during and after the war
  • Nisei service men fighting overseas; the 442nd combat unit
  • Student relocation to colleges during internmentwhat did Stanford do?
  • Impact of life in camps on psychological and physical well being of internees
  • Process of returning to freedom, attempting to find work and housing for evacuees
  • Gordon Hirabashi and civil disobedience
  • Tule Lake and "dissidents"

Overview of the Alice Sinclair Dodge Collection

The Iris Chang Collection

Iris Chang (1968-2004), best known for her books The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of WWII and The Chinese in America, kept copious records and photocopies of her research and primary source documents from all over the world. This collection of over 200 manuscript boxes includes correspondence, writings, recordings and transcripts of interviews, and background research for her work on Japanese atrocities during the war. Chang traveled to many NARA research sites, and photocopied journals, interviews, transcripts, and diaries of both immigrants to America and the Chinese who survived WWII.

Research Topic Ideas

  • Chinese prostitutes in early America
  • Chinese immigration to America
  • Tong societies in San Francisco
  • Chinese espionage in America
  • History of the Chinese in America to present day
  • FBI and Chinese Immigrants
  • Japanese atrocities during WWII
  • Japanese warfare against the Chinese
  • Japanese holocaust in Nanking
  • Japanese treatment American POWs during WWII

Olga, Consort of King George I

This collection includes two photo albums, spanning the years 1900-1916, kept by Queen Olga of Greece, whose daughter, Grand Duchess Mari'i'a Georgievna, married Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich of Russia. In these albums you will find a rare collection of both professional and family photos of different members of the Russian Imperial family, and of Russian units fighting in World War I.

This album is particularly rare because it contains a number of pictures of Anastasia and her sisters at play, relaxing in country homes or walking in gardens. In addition, the photographs of battlefields, generals, hussars, and military reviews offer a remarkable portrait of life of the elite of the Russian military troops.

Research Topic Ideas

  • The Romanov family
  • Anastasia
  • World War I
  • Russian military life
  • Russian generals and troops
  • Horse Brigades in World War I

Inventory of Queen Olga photographic collection

Daniel Lerner Collection

Daniel Lerner was a collector and author who wrote numerous books, some about psychological warfare, including Psychological Warfare Against Nazi Germany: The Sykewar Campaign, D-Day to VE-Day 1949 and Propaganda in War and Crisis (1972). This collection is particularly fascinating if you are interested in methods of psychological persuasion used during the war, and in the efforts by both sides to influence the morale of their troops. It also offers a unique view of Allied propaganda in Europe during World War II, the morale problems faced by German troops toward the end of the war, and of German public opinion about the war. The collection includes thousands of pages of German documents, diaries, leaflets, maps, and intelligence reports written by the Allied governments, interrogation interviews of German POWs and of civilians, and in addition contains some radio transcripts.

Research Topic Ideas

  • WWII German propaganda
  • WWII American propaganda
  • Psychological warfare
  • Propaganda leaflets: visual rhetoric
  • Interrogation of German prisoners by American teams WWII
  • U.S. occupation of Germany WWII

Register of the Daniel Lerner Collection

The Nym Wales Collection

This remarkable collection documents the writings, speeches, correspondence, and photographs of Helen Foster Snow, who went to China in 1931, and who became not only an important journalist, author, and speaker about China, but who also worked closely with Chinese student movements resisting the Japanese and who for many years supported the Gung Ho working industrialist cooperatives that she helped to bring into existence. Writing under her pen name, Nym Wales, Snow wrote 40 books, including Inside Red China (1977). She also made a perilous solo trip to interview Mao Tse-tung (Zedong in most modern writing), climbing out of her hotel window and eluding guards to make the secret trip into the mountains to see Mao. Helen was married to Edgar Snow, a perhaps even more famous author and writer in China, and this collection also includes many of his speeches and articles.

Research Topic Ideas

  • Japanese war against China
  • Mao Tse-tung
  • American Journalists in China in 1930s
  • Chinese Gung Ho cooperatives
  • Helen Foster Snow's life and work
  • Edgar Snow's writing, research, and publications
  • Student uprisings in China during 1930s and 1940s
  • The Kuomintang
  • Chou En-lai
  • Chinese Communists
  • Chinese Soviet Republic

Register of the Nym Wales Collection

Foto-Willinger Collection

This collection of Nazi propaganda photos depicts all aspects of life in Germany, including the time periods both before and during the war. These photos show Germany as Hitler wanted his propaganda ministry to portray his country: men, women, and children at work and play, unified, devoted, strong, healthy, and in support of the Third Reich. Almost every picture has a caption on the back, and even if you do not speak German, you can often figure out what the titles mean, or, you can ask one of the archivists to translate for you. The provenance of this collection is mysterious, and there are no records to show how the Hoover Archives received this remarkable set of photos. A mystery also surrounds the original photographer; his identity is the subject of inquiry of several researchers around the world. He was probably a famous Austrian photographer commissioned to take propaganda photos, but some reports indicate that he fled for his life to Shanghai in 1938, and that all his plates were taken over by the Nazis, who then used his famous name and agency to produce their own pictures.

Research Topic Ideas

  • Nazi propaganda and persuasion
  • Nazi sports philosophy
  • Hitler Youth
  • German women in the war effort
  • The Ebensburg Program (S.S. breeding program to produce more Aryans)
  • German children in WWII
  • Hitler and his relationship to Hitler Youth
  • Comparison of U.S. propaganda photos to German propaganda photos

Inventory of the Foto-Willinger Collection

Alexandre G. Tarsaidze Papers

Alexandre Tarsaidze was a member of the Russian nobility of Jewish background from Georgia who went to the Imperial Naval Academy in Petrograd. During the revolution, Tarsaidze worked with the Allied High Commissioner, and later worked for the American Relief Administration and emigrated to the United States, where he worked for Army Intelligence during WWII. This collection is particularly valuable because it contains such a range of material about life in Imperial Russia, the Romanov family, the history of Georgia, and Russian Imperial Naval Officers. The collection includes correspondence, a film about Tsar Nicholas II, photocopies of Romanov family letters, and a vast array of photographs of the Romanov family and of Russia during WWI.

Research Topic Ideas

  • Anastasia
  • The Romanov family
  • The Russian Imperial Navy
  • Tsar Nicholaus II and his reign in Russia before the Russian revolution

The New Left Collection at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives

This very large collection can offer students a first-hand visual and written account of the period of time in America between 1969-1973, and includes leaflets, pamphlets, newsletters and some newspapers and periodicals from the time period. This collection was developed and maintained by Dr. Baccioco, author of The American New Left: Reform to Revolution, from 1956-1970. The range is enormous, and topics covered in this collection include Students for a Democratic Society, Black Panthers, Marxist-Leninist groups, the American Indian Movement, Resistance at Berkeley, the Mississippi Summer, Chicano movement, The Communist Party of the United States, a variety of underground newspapers, right wing literature, and materials relating to student protest and unrest.

Research Topic Ideas

  • Black Nationalism
  • Huey Newton
  • Black Panthers
  • Angela Davis
  • Berkeley and student protest
  • Stanford and student protest
  • The peace movement
  • Mississippi Civil Rights
  • Stanford students in Mississippi and other civil rights movements
  • Stanford Research Institute and relationship to Stanford University in 1960s
  • The American Indian Movement
  • The Progressive Labor Party

The New Left Finding Aid

Commonwealth Club of California Radio Files

More than two thousand sound recordings of speakers addressing the Commonwealth Club of California are housed at the Hoover Archives.

Overview of the Commonwealth Club of California collection

The Shuqi Zhang Collection

This is a wonderful collection of drawings, photographs, small booklets, and other materials relating to the life and work of Shuqi Zhang, one of China’s most famous 20th century water color painters. Zhang not only taught art at the National Central University in Chungking and Nanking, but he also taught in America as a visiting professor at a number of different colleges. He was considered a goodwill ambassador from China in 1940, and the Chinese government presented one of his paintings to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Zhang authored a number of books, and some of his drafts are included in the collection. Also included are wonderful brush drawings of nature and a variety of magazines published in English in China.

This collection also offers the letters and correspondence of his wife, Helen Chang, who graduated from University of California at Berkeley. Shuqi Zhang is also the father of Gordon Chang, Professor of American History at Stanford.

Note: See the Gordon Chang collection in Special Collections in Green Library for extensive information on Professor Ishihashi, the Stanford professor who was interned during WWII.

Research Topic Ideas

  • Chinese-American cultural relations
  • Chinese art
  • Chinese life during WWII
  • Brush painting techniques
  • Chinese calligraphy
  • Life of Shuqi Zhang