The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library released rare footage of the 31st president. The most striking thing about it is it’s all in color.
Images of Herbert Hoover are often dark and grainy, seeming to serve as a visual representation of the period when Hoover was president of the United States.
But as it turns out, Hoover, a Republican whose presidency included the beginning of the Great Depression, may be the first president to be captured in color on film. The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum announced this week that it had old reels of the 31st president’s family — Hoover on a fishing trip prior to his inauguration, his grandchildren playing on the White House lawn, sites around Washington, D.C. — and they happen to be in color. The discovery was first reported by the Washington Post.
“When everyone thinks about Hoover, they think of black and white photos and this grim period,” Thomas Schwartz, director of the presidential library, said in an interview with USA TODAY. “These films show a young man — he was in his 50s when he was president — tossing a medicine ball around with members of his staff. They show him laughing and smiling.”
The library’s discovery can be traced back to 2014, according to Schwartz. Lynn Smith, the library’s archivist, learned about the National Park Service’s finding of early color footage of Yellowstone National Park. On the surface, the film appeared to be black and white. But through a special filter, it was actually color. … (read more)