14. A World of Thanks

During the First World War, Hoover frowned on receiving medals, even from Belgium. Eventually King Albert persuaded him to accept a unique title on condition that it would lapse upon his death. And so Hoover became "Friend of the Belgian People," with a passport stamped "Perpetual."

Thousands of gifts of appreciation were sent to Hoover throughout his 50 years of relief work. These included honorary degrees, beautifully decorated albums, embroidered and woven hangings, books and letters, sculpture and artwork ranging from a child's crayon drawing to richly illuminated testimonials.

Hoover's personal favorites were the letters and drawing from children, including those from German youngsters who thanked him for their daily "Hoover Speisung" or Hoover lunch, in the wake of World War II. Most of these notes were addressed simply to "Onkel Hoover, New York, New York."

Herbert Hoover, January, 11, 1917
Cartoon by H. Nap