The Library & Archives 2016 in Review

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The year 2016 brought enormous expansion to Hoover Library & Archives’ digitization initiatives, outreach efforts, scholarship, and student engagement. In addition to adding new acquisitions to our collections, we organized well-attended exhibitions, events, and workshops that highlighted the richness of our holdings and the connections of history to policy. The year also yielded increased media coverage of our dynamic and diverse materials and programs.

Highlights of the year at Library & Archives include

A Tribute to Robert Conquest

  • In January Library & Archives began the new year by celebrating the life and career of Hoover fellow Robert Conquest, the preeminent Cold War scholar of his generation who was also a superb poet.  Hoover’s director Tom Gilligan opened the daylong tribute, which featured remarks by his widow, Dr. Elizabeth Conquest, joined by fellows George ShultzCondoleezza Rice, Michael McFaul, and Stephen Kotkin, and friends Sam Gwynne, John O’Sullivan, and others.  Conquest, who died on August 3, 2015, spent 28 years as a Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and was curator of the Russian and Commonwealth of Independent States collection. A collection of his papers is at the Library & Archives.

Expanding Digital initiatives

  • This year the Library & Archives announced the launch of an online database that will allow users access to one of the most significant collections of twentieth-century Afghan periodicals in the world. The Hoover’s Afghan Partisan Serials collection is a major contribution to the preservation of Central Asian history and consists of a careful selection of more than four thousand publications by groups including the Taliban, and anti-Soviet mujahedeen, communists and others. Professor Abbas Milani, Hoover fellow and Hamid & Christina Moghadam director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University, stated, "Here is a rare, rich, and easily accessible collection of critical sources from some of the most important political voices of modern Afghan society during a tumultuous periods of transition . . . . This is an indispensable collection of primary sources from forces in that society allowing us to hear and read, analyze and understand their unmediated voices."
  • Library & Archives also announced the launch of Collected Works of Milton Friedman, the largest collection of Milton Friedman's work available on the internet. This new online resource features over 1,400 digital items by and about the Nobel Laureate and Hoover fellow, including every episode of the PBS series Free to Choose, 206 episodes of Friedman’s weekly Economics Cassette Series, sound and video recordings of the lecture series Milton Friedman Speaks, and hundreds of Friedman’s op-eds published in Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal. By providing free, convenient, and comprehensive access to these resources, the Hoover Institution allows for the continued study and appreciation of the work and life of one of the twentieth century's most influential economists.
  • In the fall we marked the sixtieth anniversary of the famed 1956 revolution in Hungary by digitizing and making available rare scripts documenting the event from our Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty collection, collaborating with the Hungarian National Széchényi Library to make rare recordings of the event available online, and opening a small exhibition of Hungarian Revolution-related materials in the Hoover Tower Rotunda. During the Hungarian Revolution, student demonstrators marched through central Budapest with a van broadcasting Radio Free Europe coverage through loudspeakers, and attempted to broadcast their political demands from the Radio Free Europe studio. The newly released and displayed materials give listeners and viewers firsthand accounts of the dramatic uprising that shook the Soviet bloc and became a diplomatic crisis between the United States and the USSR. In conjunction with the exhibition, Hoover visiting fellow A. Ross Johnson published an article about Hoover's Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty collection and the Hungarian Uprising in Hoover Digest.
  • This year Hoover Archives received its fifth grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation, and used it to digitize and make available three color films from the Frederick L. Anderson Collection. The films were shot by a United States Air Force major general during World War II, and include scenes of bomb damage, as well as footage of Winston Churchill and his wife in Cuba, Winston Churchill’s daughters Mary Churchill Soames and Sarah Churchill, and actors Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. The films can be viewed online using YouTube. On September 11th footage from the Frederick Anderson collection appeared on the History Channel.

New Exhibitions

  • The exhibition Civil Discourse: William F. Buckley Jr.'s Firing Line, 1966-1999  opened in the Herbert Hoover Memorial Exhibit Pavilion on April 19th. The exhibition marked the 50th anniversary of the show's start, and featured documents, footage, and photographs from Hoover's Firing Line broadcast records. With 1,505 episodes filmed over 33 years, Firing Line is the longest-running public-affairs show with a single host, William F. Buckley Jr., in television history.  It documented the most significant events of the late twentieth century, and included such well-known guests as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Muhammad Ali, Norman Mailer, and Mother Teresa. In May and June, Hoover Library & Archives joined the National Review Institute in hosting fiftieth anniversary events in Dallas, New York, and at Hoover's Johnson Center in Washington DC. The events featured reflections on the legacy on Firing Line as well as formal debates on the subject of immigration.
  • On September 27th the Hoover Library & Archives exhibition Unpacking History: New Collections at the Hoover Library & Archives opened in the Herbert Hoover Exhibition Pavilion. The exhibition showcased rare and intriguing acquisitions collected by Hoover curators in recent years, and at the opening curators were on site to take questions about such items as rare Afghan partisan serials; photographs by Chinese Communist Red Army photographer Sha Fei; a famous letter from the Polish Solidarity trade union leader Lech Wałęsa to Communist leader General Wojciech Jaruzelski; and ephemeral material from the Ukraine.
  • This year Library & Archives continued to support student curation in the Hoover Tower rotunda. In February the Hoover Library & Archives celebrated Valentines Day with the opening of the exhibition Great Love in the Great War, curated by undergraduate student Alex Kelly (Stanford '19). Ms. Kelly began work on the exhibition of WWI-era love letters from the Truman Smith collection as part of Stanford professor Mark Braude's history course "The Great War: World War I and Its Aftermath in Literature, Film, Art, and Memory," which met at Hoover Library & Archives in November of 2015. In June students in a spring 2016 Stanford History Department class taught by Peter Stansky, Frances and Charles Field Professor of History emeritus and Hoover's honorary curator of British Labour collections, worked with Hoover exhibitions and conservation staff to curate the exhibition Glimpses: British Visions of War & Peace. The exhibition demonstrated the richness and variety of the Hoover Institution Library & Archives’ holdings on modern Britain. The student curators explored four diverse glimpses into the British past, inspired by their research in the Archives.
  • In August the Library & Archives staff updated and expanded the Chinese decorative arts materials on display in the lobby of the Lou Henry Hoover Memorial Building. Lou Henry Hoover, the only First Lady in history fluent in an Asian language, moved to China with her husband in 1899 and became an avid collector of Chinese porcelain. The display includes bronze mirrors from Hoover's Oliver Julian Todd collection, painted mirrors from the Q.S. Woo collection, a glazed bowl from the Stephen Jurika Jr. collection, and vases and ceramics donated by art historian Jenmou Hu.


New Acquisitions

  • One of Hoover’s most exciting new acquisitions of 2016 includes the papers of Ardeshir Zahedi, one of the most important Iranian diplomats of the 1960s and 1970s and ambassador to the United States from 1960 to 1962 and 1970 to 1979. Zahedi’s papers are currently being processed and will be made available to researchers in 2017.
  • This year the Library & Archives opened to researchers two significant collections relating to American politics of the 1970s and 1980s. The papers of William Patrick Clark, one Ronald Reagan’s most trusted advisers on foreign affairs, illuminate the career of a man whom Time magazine referred to as the second most powerful man in the White House.  During a long career of public service, Clark served as a US deputy secretary of state, national security adviser, and secretary of the interior. Hoover also opened the papers of Gerald Warren, newspaperman and deputy press secretary to Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, which include newly declassified materials. For the first time researchers can consult the former press secretary's files related to the White House during the Watergate controversy.
  • In February we opened Chen Bulei’s personal diaries, which span the years 1931 to 1948. Chen Bulei (1890–1948) was Chinese nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek’s confidential assistant, a position in which he put into words the policies of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the government under Chiang. The Chen Bulei papers complement the personal diaries of Chiang Kai-shek, which are the most frequently requested materials in the Archives.
  • This year Hoover Archives acquired its third piece of the Berlin Wall as a gift from donors Joan and Michael Green. An iconic symbol of the fall of Communism, the piece of the Berlin Wall will enhance Hoover’s already strong holdings related to the Cold War and its aftermath. The most recently donated segment of the wall features artwork painted by artist and former Russian soldier Vladimir Smakhtin.
  • Hoover Archives acquired a collection of 830 photographs related to the life and career of Philippe Pétain (1856-1951), one of the most controversial figures in the history of France. Pétain became a national hero after leading the French Army to victory in the battle of Verdun during World War I, but emerged as a reviled member of the Vichy government after advocating concession to Hitler during World War II. Hoover's new photograph collection, once owned by Pétain's family, documents the accomplishments and misfortunes of Pétain's extraordinary life and career.
  • In April Hoover has acquired the papers of Russian artist Anatole Etimoff, the only Westerner permitted to sketch and paint in the Forbidden City of Beijing before the Communists took power. While in China he painted more than a hundred views of the Forbidden City that were later exhibited at numerous venues in California.
  • Hoover's collection of Spanish-language Russian-émigré periodicals is generally considered the most rare and comprehensive in the world, and in June Hoover Library added to the already extensive holdings with a new cache of Russian-émigré books, pamphlets, journals, and newspapers published in Latin America during the Cold War. Many of these materials are the only existing copies of their kind.
  • In July Hoover curator for European collections Maciej Siekierski discovered an original copy of one the most celebrated Polish letters of the 1980s in an incoming manuscript collection. The letter was written by the Polish Solidarity trade union leader and 1983 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Lech Wałęsa, during his internment in 1982, and was addressed to Poland’s communist prime minister, General Wojciech Jaruzelski. Wałęsa's letter broke the stalemate that then existed between the Solidarity movement and the communists--one that threatened to push Poland to economic collapse.
  • Late in 2016 Hoover Archives acquired the papers of Aleksandr Esenin-Vol’pin and of Pavel Litvinov, both of whom were notable Soviet dissidents, as well as a significant addition to the papers of Nobel Prize-winning poet Joseph Brodksy. A poet and mathematician, Aleksandr Esenin-Vol’pin is considered one of the founders of the human rights movement in the USSR. Pavel Litvinov was a physicist, writer, and Soviet-era dissident and the grandson of Maxim Litvnov, Russian minister of foreign affairs in 1930–39 and ambassador to the United States in 1941–43. Brodsky, who was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972, resettled in America and in 1991 became the United States Poet Laureate. Hoover's recent Brodsky acquisition has received attention on Twitter, in the Stanford News Service, and on the blogs 3 Quarks Daily and Books Inq., as well as the journal Colta (Moscow).


Curatorial achievement

  • In January Herbert S. Klein, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and curator of the Latin America Collection in the Hoover Institution Library & Archives, was the 2015 recipient of the Conference on Latin American History’s Distinguished Service Award. The award marks Klein’s long engagement in the field of Latin American studies across a career during which he has published twenty-six books and 165 articles.
  • On March 28th, Hoover Library & Archives director Eric Wakin announced Anatol Shmelev as the inaugural Robert Conquest Curator for Russia and Eurasia at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.  Shmelev’s new position is supported by a generous endowment by John Stephan, professor emeritus of history at the University of Hawaii, and honors the late Robert Conquest, a Hoover fellow, former curator at the Library & Archives, poet, and historian known for his landmark work, The Great Terror, which exposed the humanitarian abuses in Russia under Stalin. The endowed curatorship for Russian and Eurasian collections is one of very few currently in existence in the US, and ensures the legacy of research and scholarship in Slavic studies at Hoover.
  • In November Library & Archives welcomed Kaoru “Kay” Ueda as the first-ever curator for Hoover's Japanese Diaspora Initiative. Kay brings a unique set of global professional and personal experience to the Hoover Institution, having worked in the business world in the U.S., Japan, Hong Kong, and the U.K. Kay studies long-distance diaspora communities in historical archaeology, combining the study of primary source documents and material culture and hopes that her own diaspora experience will help in her role as curator for the JDI.  Kay has most recently worked at the International Center for East Asian Archaeology and Cultural History at Boston University. She received a BA in linguistics and French from Kwansei Gakuin University, an MBA from the University of Chicago, an MLA in anthropology/archaeology from Harvard Extension School, and a PhD in archaeology from Boston University.


Scholarship and Publications

This July, the Archives reading room experienced a record-breaking number of visitors: 842 total visitors, for an average of 42 visitors per day. The busy reading room staff paged 4315 units of collection materials, an average of 216 items per day. Overall, our reading room has accommodated nearly three thousand patrons this year, while our website and finding aids continue to serve thousands of remote users every day.

Research in our collections also served as the foundation for books, articles, and films. Significant 2016 publications to use Hoover collections include

  • Heather Hendershot, Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Jr. Put Liberal America on the Firing Line (featuring the Firing Line collection)


Programs, Workshops, Lectures, Events, and Student Engagement

  • On March 1-2, curators, archivists, and art historians from around the nation met at Hoover Archives for a symposium on the preservation, curation, digitization, and exhibition of rare Russian art, with particular emphasis on the Nicolas de Basily collection. This unique art collection, featuring rare Russian eighteenth-century portraiture and miniatures, is showcased at Hoover Library & Archives in the Nicolas de Basily Room.
  • On March 31, Hoover Library & Archives hosted a talk by Frank Dikötter, chair professor of humanities at the University of Hong Kong and the author of Mao's Great Famine, which won the 2011 Samuel Johnson Prize, Britain's most prestigious book award for non-fiction. Dikötter’s lecture, entitled “China’s Cultural Revolution,” discussed the dramatic events of the rise and fall of China’s Red Guard in the 1960s, and Dikötter’s research in Hoover’s Soviet Archives and also the diaries of Chiang Kai-Shek. During his lecture Dikötter named recently deceased Hoover fellow Robert Conquest as a mentor, referring to Conquest and his landmark work, The Great Terror, as “the model for all of us to follow” when writing the history of authoritarian regimes.
  • On Tuesday, May 10, Allan Stam delivered a talk titled "Why Leaders Fight" as part of the Hoover Library & Archives History & Policy Lecture Series. Stam, a professor and dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia, is a political scientist and veteran of the United States Special Forces. Stam encouraged his audience to reevaluate, especially in light of the election season, the qualities that make a leader persuasive and effective, emphasizing a leader’s relationship to risk and the nation’s quality of life.
  • During the summer Library & Archives welcomed members of the annual Workshop on Political Economy. Organized by Stanford history professor and former Hoover National fellow Jennifer Burns the Workshop on Political Economy brings together an interdisciplinary slate of scholars who are using the collections of the Library & Archives for their research projects. This year the keynote address, "Mothers of Conservatism," was delivered by historian Michelle Nickerson of Loyola University.
  • On July 27th, Norman Naimark, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor of Eastern European Studies at Stanford, delivered a talk entitled "Before the Cold War: Europe and Stalin, 1944-49." Professor Naimark's talk was the keynote address of the Hoover Library & Archives 2016 Workshop on Authoritarian Regimes, which brings together scholars from across the world who use Hoover collections to study dictatorship and the global effects of totalitarian states.  Naimark, who has been using the Library & Archives for nearly fifty years, called it "the most interesting archive in the world."
  • The fourth annual Hoover Institution workshop on China, entitled Transition and Transformation: China in the Twentieth Century, was held from August 1 to August 10. This year, the workshop was cosponsored with the Seminar of East Asian Studies at the Free University of Berlin and featured eight speakers from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and China, all of whom analyzed political, economic, social, and institutional factors leading to the transformation of China in the past century. Workshop participants presented their research to the Hoover/Stanford community as well as scholars and researchers in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • In August Hoover Library & Archives welcomed the inaugural participants of the Hoover Institution Congressional Fellowship Program. This unique program brings together congressional staff members for comprehensive policy seminars that explore the philosophical foundations of politics, economics, education, energy, health care, foreign affairs, and national security. This year's participants visited the Archives for a presentation of rare artifacts from Hoover's collections, and joined Hoover fellow and former Secretary of State George P. Shultz for a tea in the Library's historic Nicolas De Basily room.
  • On September 15th, Hoover Library & Archives hosted a group of former pilots and crew members who once flew with the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC).  CNAC was the most significant airline operating in China during the 1930s, and as part of the World War II Allied war effort CNAC pilots became known for flying the route across the Himalayas known as “The Hump”—at the time, perhaps the most dangerous path of aerial travel in the world. During their visit, the former CNAC employees and their family members viewed rare archival materials from Hoover’s collections, spoke with curators and conservators about preservation and access to materials, and enjoyed a talk entitled “China’s Wings: A Conversation with Legendary Chinese National Aviation Corporation Pilots and Crew Members.”
  • On September 22, materials from the recent Hoover Library & Archives exhibition Civil Discourse: William F. Buckley Jr.'s Firing Line, 1966-1999 were featured at National Review Institute's third annual gala event honoring the winners of the annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prizes. This year Hoover fellow and former Secretary of State George P. Shultz was honored for his role in defeating communism with the William F. Buckley Jr. Prize for Leadership in Political Thought.
  • On November 4, participants from the series Art, Social Space and Public Discourse in Iran visited Hoover Archives to view posters and graphic material from the Iranian Revolution and Iran-Iraq War. This unprecedented three-year initiative on Iranian art, co-sponsored by Stanford’s department of Iranian Studies, Stanford Global Studies, the Institute for Diversity in the Arts, and Stanford’s Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, investigates the multiple contexts that shift and define changing ideas of what constitutes Iranian public space. Visitors to Hoover not only viewed rare materials from Hoover’s collections, but enjoyed remarks by Hoover fellow and the director of Stanford’s Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies, Abbas Milani.
  • On November 17-20, curators, staff members, and visiting fellows from Hoover Library & Archives joined more than seventy art historians, librarians, and archivists at the annual conference of the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies in Washington, DC. Hoover affiliates participated in two panels that discussed materials from Hoover’s collections, with emphasis on Hoover’s Russian art and poster holdings. Speakers from Hoover included Robert Conquest Curator for Russian and Eurasian Collections Anatol Shmelev, Hoover Archives reference specialist Carol Leadenham, and Elena Schafer Danielson, former director of the Library & Archives.


Media Attention for our Collections and Events

  • In June the Hoover Library & Archives is featured in an article on Stanford University's home page that was featured in the Stanford Daily Report and Stanford Humanities Monthly. The article about our holdings, history, and events includes three videos and comments by Library & Archives director Eric Wakin, Stanford student interns Alex Kelly and Emilia Shrier, Hoover fellow Bert Patenaude, and Stanford history professor Jennifer Burns. Author Clifton B. Parker refers to Library & Archives as "a treasure trove of original source materials and documents." Rare Hoover artifacts were also featured this year in Stanford Magazine.
  • In the fall Library & Archives was featured on the NBC Bay Area documentary television series "Bay Area Revelations." The documentary entitled "Two Towers" discussed the relationship between the Hoover Tower and the Sather Tower at the University of California at Berkeley, and included footage of the Hoover Archives.
  • In August the Hoover Library & Archives Russian art holdings were the subject of a special edition of Slavic and East European Information Resources. Guest edited by Columbia University scholar and Hoover visiting fellow Edward Kasinec,  the journal features articles by leading Slavic Studies scholars and Hoover staff members, including Robert Conquest Curator for Russian and Eurasian Collections Anatol Shmelev, and Carol Leadenham, Assistant Archivist for Reference. The articles describe the significance and provenance of Hoover's extensive holdings of Russian fine art, posters, prints, postcards, memorabilia, decorative arts, and rare books.
  • In September Eric Wakin, the Robert H. Malott Director of the Library & Archives and Deputy Director of the Hoover Institution, was featured on "EconTalk," a podcast hosted by Hoover fellow and economist Russ Roberts. During his interview, Wakin discussed the power of historically significant physical artifacts and specific treasures held at Hoover Archives, including the original strike order for the atomic bomb at Hiroshima, materials excavated from the Lusitania, and an X-ray of Adolf Hitler's skull. Wakin also discussed the challenges of preserving, digitizing, and making available materials that inform the books, articles, films, exhibitions, and classes produced by more than 2000 yearly visitors to the Hoover Archives reading room.

In 2017 we look forward to expanding our digital scope through the launch of our East Asia Vault project, which will make available some of our most valuable materials from that region. Next year also brings us significant centenaries: in the spring, we open an exhibition on First World War posters that marks America’s 1917 entry into the conflict, and in the fall we collaborate with Stanford’s Cantor Museum for an exhibition marking the hundred-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Scholarship in the new year will benefit from the international conference “Hunger Draws the Map,” which will feature a talk by renowned Oxford historian Hew Strachan. We will continue to make newly processed and newly declassified archival materials available to researchers around the globe, and to support the workshops and events that promote research in our collections. As always, we look forward to welcoming students, faculty, community members, and a new cohort of Silas Palmer fellows to our reading room.

Following Stanford’s winter closure, the Library & Archives reading rooms will open on January 4, 2016. We look forward to greeting patrons and visitors in the new year!