peace war library shelf

Collecting Areas

The collections are the core of the Library & Archives.


The Hoover Institution Library & Archives collects both geographically and thematically. With more than 1 million library volumes and 6,000 archival collections, originating from 171 countries and in 69 languages, we rely on our curators as subject matter experts to oversee and actively acquire these collections in alignment with the mission of the institution.

Curatorial Areas

Collections by Subject

At Hoover there is extensive diversity of materials related to war, revolution, and peace during the 20th and 21st centuries. To enhance understanding of our collections by subjects and themes, please explore some of our collections highlight pages. You can also search our research guides which collect together lists of thematically related collections.


detail of poster US 8008 showing an info graphic about the strategic nuclear arms race

Cold War

Collections are from US secretaries of state, individual activists and propagandists, and many émigré groups involved in the ideological struggle. Important subsets are collections relating to “citizen diplomacy,” in which individuals and organizations acted to defuse international tensions, particularly the danger of nuclear conflict; records of organizations on the front lines, such as the Free Europe Committee (later RFE/RL), involved in broadcasting and other activities aiming to penetrate the Iron Curtain; and papers relating to the role of the Third World in the confrontation.

detail of a sepia tone photograph showing three leaders of the early communist movement in Russia, including Trotsky and Lenin


The collections contain extensive resources on communist states and communist parties, as well as materials compiled by anticommunist organizations and individuals. Among the most significant are microfilm copies of Soviet Communist Party records and a number of collections relating to Trotskyist organizations in the United States and other countries.

Detail of a color photograph showing a smiling President Ronald Reagan in front of wood siding


Conservative politics, institutions, and thought form a major collecting area, intersecting with materials concerning anticommunism, free market economic policies, and government. Collections concerning the Libertarian Party and its leaders, student organizations, radical groups, and women of the political right are present, alongside sound recordings of Ronald Reagan and broadcasts of William F. Buckley's Firing Line television program.

Detail of a black and white photograph of economist Milton Friedman with a tree in the background


Major collections in this area include the papers and organizational records of prominent advocates of laissez-faire economic principles, particularly from the United States, Austria, and Great Britain. Other materials relate to domestic and international economic conditions, foreign aid and development, and war reconstruction, as well as a small but important set of documents concerning Soviet agrarian policy.  

Detail of sepia tone photograph of Herbert Hoover speaking into microphones

Herbert Hoover

Between 1919, when he founded the Hoover Institution, and his death in 1964, Herbert Hoover routinely deposited his papers in the Library & Archives. Those papers mainly concern his relief activities during and after World Wars I and II, his political and personal philosophy, his public service activities, his speeches and writings, and his postpresidential career. Scholars interested in Hoover's papers from his tenure as secretary of commerce (1921–28) and United States president (1929–33) will find them at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa.

colorful image detail of a peace stamp, with rainbow horizontal bars at left and a brown and white globe on a blue field


The collections cover peace movements in the United States and Europe during World War I and the interwar period. Among them are the papers of pacifist Alice Park and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Alfred Fried. The library holds many rare pamphlets issued by peace organizations. Other archival collections concern disarmament and peace movements in the Vietnam War era.

detailed images of two propaganda posters, one with a soldier and woman talking, and the other with cartoonish figures and text stating to "be smart act dumb!"

Propaganda & Psychological Warfare

The Hoover Institution’s propaganda collections are unrivalled in the world, beginning with its extensive poster collection and large holdings of Communist Party literature (Soviet, Chinese and other), through sound recordings and film footage (the Alexander and Ethel Pronin collection holds hundreds of reels of Soviet propaganda film), these collections allow researchers to study the techniques and perfection of propaganda from early and crude images through contemporary professional multimedia presentations. Similarly, Hoover’s holdings on psychological warfare (the Bonner Fellers papers, World War II Psychological warfare reports typescript and Psychological Warfare Branch issuances) are excellent resources for studying the development of psychological operations during the Second World War, as are the RFE/RL Broadcast and Corporate records for the Cold War era.

Search Our Collections

Our collections contain rare and unique library materials and archives that include posters, photographs, texts, sound recordings, moving images, and art and memorabilia.

Black and white cropped contact sheet from the Overseas Weekly collection, contact sheet 14045
Digital Collections

Digital Collections

Access our digital collections which include born-digital materials as well as digitized posters, photographs, manuscripts, moving images, sound recordings, and other historical materials from the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

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