Hoover Institution

This article is about the American public policy think tank. For the research library, see Hoover Institution Library and Archives.
Hoover Institution
Motto Ideas defining a free society
Formation 1919 (1919)
Type Public policy think tank
Thomas W. Gilligan
Revenue (2015)
Expenses (2015) $59,910,000
Website www.hoover.org

The Hoover Institution is an American public policy think tank and research institution located at Stanford University in California. Its official name is the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace. It began as a library founded in 1919 by Republican Herbert Hoover, before he became President of the United States. The library, known as the Hoover Institution Library and Archives, houses multiple archives related to Hoover, World War I, World War II, and other world history. According to the 2015 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania), Hoover is #19 (of 75) in the "Top Think Tanks in the United States".[2]

The Hoover Institution is a unit of Stanford University[3] but has its own board of overseers.[4] It is located on the campus. Its mission statement outlines its basic tenets: representative government, private enterprise, peace, personal freedom, and the safeguards of the American system.[5] The institution is generally described as conservative,[6][7][8] although directors and others associated with it resist this description, saying that the institution is not partisan and that its goal is "to advance ideas of supporting freedom and free enterprise".[9]

The institution has been a place of scholarship for individuals who previously held high-profile positions in government, such as George Shultz, Condoleezza Rice, Michael Boskin, Edward Lazear, John B. Taylor, John Cogan, Edwin Meese, and Amy Zegart—all Hoover Institution fellows. In 2007, retired U.S. Army General John P. Abizaid, former commander of the U.S. Central Command, was named the Institution's first annual Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow.[10]

The institution is housed in three buildings on the Stanford campus. The most prominent facility is the landmark Hoover Tower, which is a popular visitor attraction. The tower features an observation deck on the top level that provides visitors with a panoramic view of the Stanford campus and surrounding area.

Mission statement

Herbert Hoover's 1959 statement to the Board of Trustees of Stanford University on the purpose of the Hoover Institution continues to guide its ideology and define its activities:

This Institution supports the Constitution of the United States, its Bill of Rights and its method of representative government. Both our social and economic systems are based on private enterprise from which springs initiative and ingenuity ... Ours is a system where the Federal Government should undertake no governmental, social or economic action, except where local government, or the people, cannot undertake it for themselves ... The overall mission of this Institution is, from its records, to recall the voice of experience against the making of war, and by the study of these records and their publication, to recall man's endeavors to make and preserve peace, and to sustain for America the safeguards of the American way of life. This Institution is not, and must not be, a mere library. But with these purposes as its goal, the Institution itself must constantly and dynamically point the road to peace, to personal freedom, and to the safeguards of the American system.

The Hoover Institution's website says: "By collecting knowledge, generating ideas, and disseminating both, the Institution seeks to secure and safeguard peace, improve the human condition, and limit government intrusion into the lives of individuals."[5]


The Institution was set up by Herbert Hoover, one of Stanford's first graduates, who would later become the 31st President of the United States. He had been in charge of American relief efforts in Europe after World War I. Hoover's express purpose was to collect the records of contemporary history as it was happening. Hoover's helpers frequently risked their lives to rescue documentary and rare printed material, especially from countries under Nazi or Communist rule. Their many successes included the papers of Rosa Luxemburg, the Goebbels Diaries, and the records of the Russian secret police in Paris. Research institutes were also set up under Hoover's influence, though inevitably there were to be clashes between the moving force, Hoover, and the host university.[11]

In 1919, Hoover donated $50,000 to Stanford University to support the collection of primary materials related to World War I, a project that became known as the Hoover War Collection. Supported primarily by gifts from private donors, the Hoover War Collection flourished in its early years. In 1922, the Collection became known as the Hoover War Library. The Hoover War Library was housed in the Stanford Library, separate from the general stacks. By 1926, the Hoover War Library was known as the largest library in the world devoted to the Great War. By 1929, it contained 1.4 million items and was becoming too large to house in the Stanford Library. In 1938, the War Library revealed building plans for Hoover Tower, which was to be its permanent home independent of the Stanford Library system. The tower was completed in 1941, Stanford University's fiftieth anniversary.[12]

By 1946, the agenda of the Hoover War Library had expanded to include research activities; thus the organization was renamed the Hoover Institution and Library on War, Revolution and Peace. At this time, Herbert Hoover was living in New York City but remained integrally involved in the Hoover Institution and Library as a benefactor, fundraiser, and consultant.

In 1956 former President Hoover, under the auspices of the Institution and Library, launched a major fundraising campaign that allowed the Institution to realize its current form as a think tank and archive. In 1957, the Hoover Institution and Library was renamed the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace—the name it holds today.[13]

In 1960, W. Glenn Campbell was appointed director and substantial budget increases soon led to corresponding increases in acquisitions and related research projects. In particular, the Chinese and Russian collections grew considerably. Despite student unrest in the 1960s, the institution continued to thrive and develop closer relations with Stanford.[14]

John Raisian served as director from 1989 to 2015. Thomas W. Gilligan succeeded him in 2015.


Below is a list of Hoover Institution directors and prominent fellows, former and current.

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.


  • Ephraim D. Adams, 1920–1925
  • Ralph H. Lutz, 1925–1944
  • Harold H. Fisher, 1944–1952
  • C. Easton Rothwell, 1952–1959[15]
  • W. Glenn Campbell, 1960–1989[16]
  • John Raisian, 1989–2015
  • Thomas W. Gilligan, 2015–current

Honorary Fellows

Distinguished Fellows

Senior Fellows

Research Fellows

Distinguished Visiting Fellows

Media Fellows

National Fellows

Senior Research Fellows


The Hoover Institution's in-house publisher, Hoover Institution Press, produces multiple publications on public policy topics, including the quarterly periodicals Hoover Digest, Education Next, China Leadership Monitor, and Defining Ideas. The Hoover Institution Press previously published the bimonthly periodical Policy Review, which it acquired from the Heritage Foundation in 2001.[29] Policy Review ceased publication with its February–March 2013 issue.

In addition to these periodicals, the Hoover Institution Press publishes books and essays by Hoover Institution fellows and other Hoover-affiliated scholars.

Task forces

The following Hoover Institution task forces are made up of both Hoover Institution fellows and scholars from other academic institutions. Hoover task forces encourage collaborative work in specific areas of public policy:[30]

  • K–12 Education
  • National Security and Law
  • Virtues of a Free Society
  • Energy Policy
  • Economic Policy
  • Property Rights, Freedom, and Prosperity
  • Islamism and the International Order
  • Health Care Policy


The Hoover Institution is funded from two main sources. It receives nearly half of its funding from private gifts, primarily from individual contributions, and the other half from its endowment.[31]

Funders of the organization include the Taube Family Foundation, the Koret Foundation, the Howard Charitable Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Walton Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the William E. Simon Foundation.[32]


Funding sources and expenditures, 2014-2015:[1]

Funding Sources, 2014-2015: $69,477,000

  Gifts from Hoover Supporters (58.4%)
  Stanford University Funds for the Library & Archives (1%)
  Sales of Publications and Miscellaneous Income (3.1%)
  Hoover Endowment Payout (37.5%)

Expenditures, 2014-2015: $59,910,000

  Research and Scholarly Initiatives (55.4%)
  Library & Archives Operations and Acquisitions (11.6%)
  Administration, Facilities, Materials, and Computer Services (11.1%)
  Development, Public Affairs, and Communications (18.4%)
  Hoover Institution in Washington (3.5%)

See also


  1. 1 2 "Annual Report 2015". Hoover Institution. 31 August 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  2. James G. McGann (Director) (February 9, 2016). "2015 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report". Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  3. "Stanford Legal Facts". Office of the General Counsel. Stanford University. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  4. "Board of Overseers". Hoover Institution. Stanford University. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  5. 1 2 "Hoover Institution – Mission Statement". hoover.org.
  6. "Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace". Encyclopaedica Brittanica. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  7. McBride, Stewart (May 28, 1975). "Hoover Institution: Leaning to the right". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  8. Nau, Henry R. (2013). Conservative Internationalism: Armed Diplomacy under Jefferson, Polk, Truman and Reagan. Princeton University Press. p. xi. ISBN 978-0-691-15931-7.
  9. "Business Dean Seizes Rare Opportunity to Lead Hoover Institution, and Other News About People". Chronicle of Higher Education. March 23, 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  10. 1 2 Hoover Institution press release, May 7, 2007
  11. Peter Duignan, "The Library of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. Part 1: Origin and Growth", Library History 2001 17(1): 3–19
  12. "Hoover Institution Library and Archives: Historical Background". hoover.org.
  13. "Hoover Institution – About Hoover – About Herbert Hoover and the Hoover Institution". hoover.org.
  14. Peter Duignan, "The Library of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. Part 2: the Campbell Years", Library History 2001 17(2): 107–18.
  15. "Yacht club to host celebration of Virginia Rothwell". Stanford Report. September 1, 2004. Retrieved March 25, 2008.
  16. Trei, Lisa (November 28, 2001). "Glenn Campbell, former Hoover director, dead at 77". Stanford Report. Retrieved March 25, 2008.
  17. "Honorary Fellow". Hoover Institution Stanford University. 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  18. "Distinguished Fellow". Hoover Institution Stanford University. 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  19. "Senior Fellows". Hoover Institution Stanford University. 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  20. http://www.hoover.org/profiles/david-brady
  21. "Research Fellows".
  22. "Distinguished Visiting Fellows". Hoover Institution Stanford University. 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  23. "William and Barbara Edwards Media Fellows". Hoover Institution Stanford University. 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  24. 1 2 "William and Barbara Edwards Media Fellows by year (2008)". hoover.org.
  25. "William and Barbara Edwards Media Fellows by year (2004)". hoover.org.
  26. "Stephen Kotkin". Hoover Institution. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  27. "Robert Hessen". Hoover Institution. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  28. "Charles Wolf Jr.". Hoover Institution. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  29. "Policy Review Web Archive".
  30. "Hoover Institution – Task Force". hoover.org.
  31. "Hoover Institution 2010 Report". Hoover Institution. p. 39. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  32. Ade Adeniji (21 April 2015). "How the Hoover Institution Vacuums Up Big Conservative Bucks". Inside Philanthropy.

Further reading

External links

Coordinates: 37°25′38″N 122°09′59″W / 37.4271°N 122.1664°W / 37.4271; -122.1664

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