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An Inventory of the United States. Food Administration records XX066
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Related Materials
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement

  • Title: United States. Food Administration records
    Date (inclusive): 1909-1957 (bulk 1917-1919)
    Collection Number: XX066
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 420 manuscript boxes, 25 card files boxes, 34 oversize boxes, and 5 envelopes (223.6 linear feet)
    Abstract: The records relate to the regulation of food distribution and consumption in the United States and Allied areas during World War I, and include correspondence, reports, memoranda, minutes, press releases, surveys, statistics, printed matter, and photographs.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: United States. Food Administration.


    Microfilm use only.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], United States. Food Administration records, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog Socrates at http://library.stanford.edu/webcat . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in Socrates is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Related Materials

    Herbert Hoover subject collection, Hoover Institution Archives
    Poster collection, Hoover Institution Archives
    Everett Somerville Brown papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    Vernon Lyman Kellogg papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    Alonzo Englebert Taylor papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    Frank Macy Surface papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    Mark Lawrence Requa memoirs, Hoover Institution Archives
    Records of the U.S. Food Administration [USFA], Record Group 4, National Archives and Records Administration
    Herbert Hoover Papers, Pre-Commerce Period, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, West Branch, Iowa

    Historical Note

    "Food Will Win the War" was the slogan. Food had become a weapon in World War I, as European countries could no longer produce sufficient food for their populations. Since the U.S. had to provide food to its armies and the Allied armies, Allied civilians, and Americans at home, President Woodrow Wilson established the U.S. Food Administration (USFA) as an independent agency by Executive Order 2679-A of August 10, 1917 under the authority of the Food and Fuel Control Act (40 Stat. 276).
    The USFA regulated the supply, distribution, and conservation of food. President Woodrow Wilson appointed Herbert Hoover to the post of U.S. Food Administrator, making the following statement: "In order to meet [the] shortage, every encouragement and direction possible was given to increased production." In addition, the conservation of food already produced was approached through the elimination of wasteful practices and unnecessary consumption. Herbert Hoover created his "Food Conservation" program, which Americans called "Hooverizing." According to the program, American households would eat less in order to leave food to ship abroad. Thus Herbert Hoover succeeded in cutting domestic consumption of food that was needed overseas and avoided rationing at home.
    The USFA ended wartime food controls immediately after the Armistice on November 11, 1918. USFA conservation regulations lapsed in November-December 1918. Licensing requirements terminated in June 1919. The remaining functions of the Food Administrator were transferred to the Chief of the Cereal Division, USFA (wheat and wheat products) and to the U.S. Attorney General (all other food products). The USFA was finally disbanded on August 21, 1920.
    Although the activities of the USFA were terminated at the war's end, its accomplishments laid the foundation for Allied post-war relief efforts in Europe.
    Sources: History of the United States Food Administration, 1917-1919, by William C. Mullendore, with an Introduction by Herbert Hoover, 1941, Stanford University Press, Stanford University, California. National Archives and Records Administration; Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, http://hoover.archives.gov 
    For additional historical information, see: George H. Nash, The Life of Herbert Hoover, vol. 3, Master of Emergencies, 1917-1918. W. W. Norton, 1983

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The records relate to the regulation of food distribution and consumption in the United States and Allied areas during World War I, and include correspondence, reports, memoranda, minutes, press releases, surveys, statistics, printed matter, and photographs.
    Documenting the establishment and organization of the USFA and its subsidiary agencies, the records include rules and regulations, policies, plans, and operational agreements with producers, refiners, manufacturers, and purchasers of various commodities.
    The records are organized into 70 series by division, subject, personal office or physical form. Additional series have been created for later additions to the records.
    Division records often include correspondence, predominantly outgoing, and chronologically arranged internal documents such as agenda, minutes and memoranda, governing documents, and periodical reports of activities, as well as financial records and issuances of the organization and its officials. Personal offices contain similar records, along with incoming correspondence, and often reflect the daily operations of an office within the organization.
    The Alphabetical file, in three overlapping segments, lists subjects, terms, and names alphabetically. Files generally consist of reports, memos, minutes, correspondence, and regulations, from all divisions of the organization in alphabetical order by subject or country. Heavily indexed by the organization, the alphabetical file also includes cross-references to related files in the series and to the other numbered series.
    Information on the public outreach program and the development of nationwide food conservation programs may be found in the Library and Exhibits Section records. The section created various visual aids and suggestions on how to organize exhibits and fairs related to food conservation at public places.
    USFA records are also held in the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and at the U.S. National Archives. Though they partially duplicate the records held at the Hoover Institution, the records include complementary materials, often about particular regions throughout the country.


    The collection is organized into 70 series by division, subject, personal name or physical form. Series 1-48H use division office codes designated by the USFA.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    World War, 1914-1918--Economic aspects.
    World War, 1914-1918--Food question.
    World War, 1914-1918--United States.