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NOTE: The Exhibit Pavilion is closed for renovation and will reopen in October 2015.

Women and the Great War
Women and the Great War

The centenary of the outbreak of the First World War serves as the occasion for an eye-opening exhibition, Women and the Great War, at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives. The exhibition illuminates the varied roles women—and images of women—played in the four-year conflict: women as peace activists before and during the war, as nurses to the wounded, as relief workers to destitute Belgians and French living under German Occupation, as contributors to the war economy on the home front, and even as soldiers fighting at the front. 

The exhibition draws on the Hoover Institution's wide-ranging international collections documenting World War I. It showcases a stunning array of official and fugitive documents and visuals, including posters, photographs, letters, diaries, postcards, handbills, pamphlets, medals, and memoirs. The Great War was the breakthrough moment for the propaganda poster; the unparalleled Hoover Archives Poster Collection strikingly demonstrates the multi-faceted role that the image of women played in wartime propaganda. Female images in these posters served as inducements for young men to enlist in the military, rallying points for women to do their part in factories and on farms, and symbolic victims of German atrocities meant to stir outrage against the German "rape of Belgium." 

Women and the Great War resurrects the stories of individual women whose acts of selflessness, bravery, and integrity captured the public imagination. It spotlights the tragic fate of British Red Cross nurse Edith Cavell in German-occupied Belgium, where she was accused of treason and executed by firing squad, triggering a thunderous international outcry. As shown in the exhibition, far from merely sitting at home awaiting letters from "over there," women played an active part in nearly every facet of the Great War. Visitors to the exhibition will be inspired to rethink their assumptions about the First World War: both how the war was waged and its momentous consequences.

Women and the Great War opened Thursday, November 6, 2014, and has been extended to April 25, 2015. The exhibit is open to the public, free of charge, Tuesday–Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Herbert Hoover Memorial Exhibit Pavilion (next to Hoover Tower) on the Stanford University campus. Parking on campus is free on Saturdays. For directions and parking click here.

Past Exhibitions

Information about past exhibits created by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

See past exhibitions >

NOTE: The Exhibit Pavilion is closed for renovation and will reopen in October 2015.

The Herbert Hoover Memorial Exhibit Pavilion is located on the Stanford University campus next to the Hoover Tower. Designed by architect Ernest J. Kump and built in 1978, the exhibit pavilion features rotating exhibitions on a variety of topics highlighting the world-renowned collections of the Hoover Institution Library and Archives. Materials featured in exhibitions may include political posters, photographs, letters, diaries, memorabilia and rare publications.

Previous exhibitions have included:

The Exhibit Pavilion is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., free of charge. Please check here for the current exhibition schedule, or call the Hoover Archives' front desk at 650-723-3563, or the Exhibit Pavilion at 650-723-3666.


From Highway 101 North and South:
Take the Embarcadero Road exit west toward Stanford. At El Camino Real, Embarcadero becomes Galvez Street as it enters the university. Stay in the left lane and continue toward the center of campus. There is metered parking on the right side of Galvez Street, on Memorial Way. Galvez Street ends at Serra Street and Hoover Tower can be seen on your right. Take the stairs to the left of the main entrance of Hoover Tower. The glass and wood one-story building on your left is the Herbert Hoover Memorial Pavilion.

From Highway 280 North and South:
Exit Alpine Road east toward Stanford. Continue east, turning right at the traffic light on Junipero Serra Boulevard. Turn left at the first stoplight, Campus Drive East. Continue on Campus Drive East, turning right at Galvez Street. The metered lot is on Memorial Way. Hoover Tower can be seen on your right.

See map and directions >

Dedicated by our founder Herbert Hoover in 1941, the Tower is open daily from 10am to 4pm, except holidays. Visitors can view two permanent exhibit rooms on Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover and a small exhibit case in the rotunda with rotating exhibits highlighting Hoover Institution Library & Archives materials.

For stunning views of the Stanford campus and the South Bay (with San Francisco and San Jose in the distance), a guide service will bring you up to the observation platform and point out specific landmarks ($2 general, $1 seniors and children under 12, and free for Stanford affiliates). Daily from 10 to 4, except holidays, with last ticket sales at 3:50. For more information about tower tours, visit the Stanford website or call (650) 723-2053.

The tower's fourteenth floor houses a carillon of 48 bells cast in Tournai, Belgium. An inscription on one of the largest bells translates as "For peace alone do I ring." To learn more about the carillon's history, read "I Ring Only For Peace" by Elena Danielson in Hoover Digest.

Although we cannot outdo Stanford's visitor information website or the horticulture and landscape site maintained by Stanford Buildings and Grounds, we want to share the Library & Archives staff's favorite campus spots.

Memorial Church - In addition to beautiful mosaics, stained glass windows, and a striking façade when lit against the night sky, the interdenominational church offers choral and organ concerts.

Cantor Arts Center - Admission is free at this museum, which offers a wide range of changing exhibitions. The Rodin Sculpture Garden is always open, with lighting for nighttime viewing.

Arizona Cactus Garden - This cactus and succulent garden off Quarry Road between Campus Drive and Arboretum Road was designed in the 1880s. You'll find it near the Mausoleum and Angel of Grief.

Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden - Artists from New Guinea created these sculptures while visiting Stanford; the Rodin sculptures were among their many influences. The garden is at the corner of Santa Teresa Street and Lomita Drive.

Dale Chihuly's glass chandelier - The atrium of the Lokey Stem Cell Research Building at 265 Campus Drive boasts a two-ton chandelier created by renowned artist Dale Chihuly. It contains more than two thousand individually blown pieces of glass.

Oregon Courtyard - In the spring, take in the flowering cherry trees in this courtyard designed by landscape architect Thomas Church. It is on the east side of the Main Quad just off Lasuen Mall, across from the School of Education.

Hoover Tower - Stanford's top destination is the view from the top of this campus icon. The best doughnut around is on the tower's ground-floor atrium, where changing exhibits of Library & Archives materials are shown in a set of glass cases shaped like a doughnut.