“He’s a Delano, Not a Roosevelt”

It seems that many of the men in FDR’s family were not all that ambitious. They married wealthy women from ambitious families and managed the money and lived a wealthy life style.  FDR’s mom Sara, who came from a wealthy ambitious family, said of her son, “He’s a Delano, not a Roosevelt.”


Hoover Briefly Met Hitler

FDR beat Hoover in the 1932 election and was inaugurated in 1932. In 1938, Hoover visited Europe, “Where he briefly met Adolf Hilter.” “Hoover was impressed by Hitler’s intelligence, but noted the dictator’s ‘furious anger.’ He said Hitler was ‘partly insane’ and he warned that totalitarianism was ‘on the march.'”

In 1939, Hitler invaded Poland and World War II began.

Hoover’s accomplishments as Commerce Secretary

Hoover was appointed by Harding to the position of Commerce Secretary. After Harding’s death, he stayed in the position in the Coolidge administration. His major accomplishments included standardizing sizes for nuts/bolts, doors and windows when building new houses. Also, he standardized tire sizes for cars. Standardization helped bring down the price for many household items, houses and cars.

Herbert and Lou Hoover – Librarians?

The Hoovers lived in  London while Herbert was working for a mining company. One of his assignements was to catalog and standardize international mining laws. Lou, who had learned Mandarin while they lived in China, translated the laws for him.

When we wrote his first book, The Principles of Mining, she helped him organize it. Together, they translated a famous book about mining written in the 1500s. They paid for it to be printed and gave most of their copies away to schools and students.

Silent Cal, Indeed

Not much to report on Calvin Coolidge. He was unusual in that he thought public service was about public service and not personally gaining by it. He was trustworthy because he always believed in doing the right thing.

Harding’s Firsts

Harding was the first President to record speeches and make albums out of them. He was the first President to ride in a car during an inaugural procession. And, he was the first President to use a PA system when he gave his inaugural address.

He gave a speech to Congress asking them to “fund the highway system, regulate the radio industry, develope commercial air travel, establish a federal department of air traffic control, establish a Department of Welfare to cover education, health, sanitation, working conditions, and child welfare. He also wanted to wipe out lynchings.” He didn’t press them to do any of this, but he did get them to pass the Budget and Accounting Act in June 1921 to establish the General Accounting Office and the Bureau of the Budget.

Pre-24 Hour News Cycle Part 2

A woman from Harding’s hometown, who was quite a bit younger than him and had a major crush on him, contacted him about him helping her find a job. He got her a job in DC and they had a secret relationship. After he died, she wrote a book about it and how her daughter, who was born while he was a Senator, was his daughter. He never saw the child, but regularly sent money for child’s support.

Pre-24 Hour News Cycle

Harding’s wife Florence was 5 years older than him and not cute at all, but she liked him. She became ill a few years into their marriage and needed a kidney removed. While she was in the hospital in Columbus, OH, recovering, he started the 15 year relationship with a woman whose husband was also ill and away recovering. He wrote her poems and loveletters that were sometimes 50-60 pages long. The two couples even took a 10 week vacation to Europe together.

This woman wrote to him from Germany in early 1917. She had deep German sympathies and told him if he spoke in favor of war against Germany, she would publish all of his love letters.  This would ruin is marriage and career.

Members of Congress gave passionate speeches about going to war, which was almost unanimous among them. He gave a more subdued speech with the tenor of “The Germans seem satisfied with their government,” but he voted for war. She kept his letters a secret, so she must have liked his speech.

Playing Both Sides of the Aisle

As a politician, he did not like to create waves among his party or the oposition. He did not take positions on big issues. When he was in the Senate, he would not show up for votes on controversial issues. If he thought an issue would pass, or most Republicans were voting for it, he would also vote for it. He voted for women’s suffrage because he thought the other Republicans were for it and, while he personally opposed prohibition, he voted for it to appease his consituents back home.

None of the 134 bills he introduced in the Senate were crucial. He wanted to celebrate “the landing of the Pilgrims, distribution of tents to the homeless, support teaching of Spanish in the public schools ad the preservation of the Ohio birthplace of President William McKinley.”

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