HOOVER, Herbert C. Photograph signed ("Herbert Hoover"), also signed by HIS CABINET MEMBERS: Vice President CHARLES CURTIS, Secretary of State HENRY L. STIMSON, Secretary of Treasury OGDEN L. MILLS, Secretary of War PATRICK HURLEY, Attorney General WILLIAM D. MITCHELL , Secretary of Navy CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, Postmaster General WALTER F. BROWN, Secretary of Interior RAY L. WILBUR, Secretary of Agriculture ARTHUR M. HYDE, Secretary of Commerce ROY D. CHAPIN, and Secretary of Labor WILLIAM N. DOAK. The White House, Washington, D.C., n.d. 9½ x 10 in., with mount, very faint creasing on image.
A MISLEADINGLY PLEASANT IMAGE. Calculating the date of this photo from the tenure of the Cabinet officers (Mills served at Treasury from 1932-1933), we know this image was shot during the last year of Hoover's term. The placid expression of the President and his men, the sunny, warm atmosphere on the White House lawn, all belie the dire condition of the country in this the third year of the Great Depression. With 25 percent unemployment matched by unprecedented farm and bank failures, Hoover's popularity plummeted over the course of this re-election year. The man who rose to national prominence through his efficient work in feeding the devastated refugees of Europe in World War I, seemed an indifferent ideologue in 1932, clinging to the old verities of rugged individualism while millions went jobless and hungry. His electoral fate was sealed when he had troops tear gas unemployed veterans who camped out in Washington in the spring of 1932.