The lifelong interest in and assistance to Poland by Herbert Hoover, the founder of the Hoover Institution and the 31st United States president, will be commemorated with the opening of a special exhibit, "American Friendship: Herbert Hoover and Poland" on November 12 in Warsaw.
Co-sponsored by the Hoover Institution and the Royal Castle in Warsaw, the exhibit will be in the Library of King Stanislaw August Poniatowski, housed in the 17th-18th cc Tin-Roofed Palace wing of the Royal Castle complex. The exhibition, with a bilingual storyline and a printed guide, will be open for viewing until January 16, 2005.
Two important anniversaries—the 130th year of Herbert Hoover's birth and the 40th year of his death—are a backdrop to the exhibition.
The exhibition is chronologically divided into several parts, and includes photographs, documents, as well as historical artifacts illustrating Herbert Hoover's commitment to the survival and the well-being of Poland—throughout his life as a private citizen, statesman, president, and above all as a dedicated humanitarian.
The exhibit items will be mostly from Hoover Institution holdings, with additional documents drawn from the Polish State Archives. Included in the exhibition is the story of Herbert Hoover's friendship with the great pianist and statesman, Ignace Paderewski, which began during Hoover's Stanford University years. American Relief Administration work in Poland after World War I, which Hoover directed, and which saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Polish children is another major theme of the exhibition, as are Hoover's personal visits to Poland in 1913, 1919, 1938, and 1946. Finally, the exhibition recalls the story of the Warsaw monument honoring Herbert Hoover and America.
The November 12 opening of the exhibition follows Poland's national holiday of November 11, the country's Independence Day. The timing is appropriate as it brings to mind America's strong support for Polish independence during and immediately after the Great War, a policy in which Herbert Hoover played a very major role.
The afternoon ceremonies will begin with laying of a wreath at the memorial stone in Hoover Square on Krakowskie Przedmiescie. The opening will be held in the Great Assembly Hall of the Royal Castle with the participation of representatives of Polish government, the United States Embassy, as well as Warsaw's intellectual and cultural elite. The celebration will include a concert by Cantores Minores, the internationally renowned men and boy's choir of the Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Warsaw, singing American and Polish songs. The concert will be followed by a reception, viewing of the exhibition, and a dinner in one of Warsaw Old Town's restaurants.
The Hoover Institution delegation to Warsaw, that includes some twenty overseers, fellows, staff members and spouses, will be led by Director John Raisian and Herbert Hoover III. In an introduction to the soon-to-be released catalog of the exhibition, John Raisian notes:
During the past fifteen years, the Hoover Institution has done much in Poland. Our exhibition…is our first major Polish project of the new century. We look forward to continuing our founder's mission of sharing our resources with and contribute to our understanding and friendship with Poland.
The exhibition and the publication of the catalog were made possible by a generous gift from the Taube Family Foundation. A gift from Henrietta Fankhauser will enable the exhibition to travel to various cities in Poland.