A new online exhibition Bread + Medicine: Saving Lives in a Time of Famine has been published by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives. The exhibition is the latest addition to the Library & Archives HISTORIES, a series of digital stories and online features based on its holdings. This series of digital stories provides a breadth of engaging and interactive elements that dive deeper into select topics, including special projects by Stanford University students, and complements the physical exhibition on view at Hoover Tower at Stanford University. 

The Bread + Medicine project, which encompasses an exhibition at Hoover Tower, a speaker series, a forthcoming Hoover Institution Press publication, and an online exhibition, provides insights about one of the Hoover Institution Library & Archives foundational collections, the American Relief Administration Russian operational records, by examining American medical relief during a famine in Soviet Russia and Ukraine in 1921–23. 

The online exhibition consists of digital stories which pull from the Library & Archives collections to showcase photographs, posters, artwork, and documents related to the medical plight of those suffering from the effects of starvation and the story of the American doctors and local medical teams who worked together to prevent a potentially devastating spread of disease one hundred years ago.

Bertrand Patenaude, Hoover fellow and curator of the exhibition, says of the project, “The remarkable story of the American relief mission to Soviet Russia is at last beginning to command the attention it deserves. Our focus on the enormous medical program spotlights a vitally important yet obscure dimension of the relief campaign.”

Exclusive to the online component, the Hoover Institution Library & Archives is proud to partner with a selection of Stanford students to facilitate and publish their research related to the topic. This student scholarship will continue to be published into 2023 as additional students contribute their research.

The Library & Archives’ work to bring this research online in an engaging and approachable exhibition is augmented by the addition of nearly 3,000 archival photographs and archival materials added to their new digital collections site (currently in beta). Additionally, a research guide has been created for those interested in researching related collections at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

The online exhibition also features the event recordings from the Bread + Medicine Speaker Series, which began recently with a talk by Mary Cox and Bertrand M. Patenaude and was moderated by Charlie Laderman. Stay tuned for future events in the speaker series scheduled in early 2023.

Visit the online exhibition 

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