Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Kemp (Arthur) papers
No online items No online items       Request items ↗
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (174.58 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Arthur Kemp papers
    Date (inclusive): 1918-1959
    Collection Number: 62017
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 58 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box (25.1 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: Correspondence, writings, memoranda, notes, typed copies of documents, and printed matter, relating to Herbert Hoover, American foreign policy and domestic policies during and after the presidential administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, World War II, international relief and reconstruction, and communism. Used as research material for writing projects of Herbert Hoover. Includes draft writings by Hoover.
    Creator: Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964
    Creator: Kemp, Arthur, 1916-2002
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives


    The collection is open for research; materials must be requested in advance via our reservation system. If there are audiovisual or digital media material in the collection, they must be reformatted before providing access.


    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 1962.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Arthur Kemp papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Biographical Note

    1916 Born, Buffalo, New York
    1939 B.S., University of Buffalo
    1940 M.B.A., Northwestern University
    1943-1953 Editorial and research assistant to Herbert Hoover
    1949 Ph.D., New York University
    1953-1981 Professor of economics, Claremont Men's College
    1956 Author, The Legal Qualities of Money
    1956 Author, The Role of Government in Developing Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy
    1963 Author, The Role of Gold
    2002 Died, Claremont, California

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Arthur Kemp Papers in the Archives of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace are intimately connected with the Institution's Herbert Hoover Papers. The connection is so close that there is an element of the arbitrary as to whether Hoover or Kemp had custody of some items at the time of their deposit. The Kemp Papers are entirely concerned with Kemp's association with Herbert Hoover and do not include materials relating to his subsequent independent career as an economist and educator.
    In an oral history interview conducted in 1968, a copy of which is in the Herbert Hoover Oral History Program Collection in the Hoover Institution Library & Archives, Kemp described his association with Hoover. It began in 1943 when, as a graduate student and young economics instructor, he was recruited to go to work for the former President as an editorial and research assistant. Kemp remained in this capacity until 1953 when he left New York to accept a teaching post. He continued to assist Hoover on an occasional basis thereafter.
    While Kemp was involved with a variety of Hoover's writing projects, the one that figured most prominently was the so-called Magnum Opus. This was the ambitious critique of the domestic and World War II foreign policy record of Franklin D. Roosevelt that occupied Hoover for decades. It was first known to Hoover and associates simply as the War Book and later as "Lost Statesmanship." The foreign policy component saw published form only in 2011 as Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath, edited and with an introduction by George H. Nash (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press). While most of the preliminary drafts for this work are in the Herbert Hoover Papers, there are also some in the Herbert Hoover Speeches and Writings series of the Kemp Papers. These include the very first drafts of the War Book, dating back to 1942 and including Hoover's analysis of the Pacific War as a race war. There are also significant procedural memoranda laid out by Hoover for the 1946 version of the War Book, explicitly stating the themes of the project. Small portions of the domestic policy critique, variously entitled "The Years as Crusader" and "Collectivism Comes to America," are also located in this series. Publication of this work is scheduled.
    A small Arthur Kemp Speeches and Writings series consists of formal compositions by Kemp, mainly intended for publication under his own name. The most substantial item in the series is a lengthy study of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. There is one oddity in this series. While Kemp's function was normally one of support to Hoover's writing endeavors, a reversal of roles is evident in three letters to the editor written by Kemp under his own name. Their drafts bear editorial suggestions in Hoover's distinctive handwriting, which was quite different from that of Kemp.
    The collection includes several subject files, consisting of material other than formal writings by either Hoover or Kemp. This material includes correspondence, notes, many memoranda exchanged between Kemp and Hoover (mainly written by Kemp to apprise Hoover of his research findings and suggestions), and collected items of various descriptions, published and unpublished.
    The Herbert Hoover Subject File consists of public commentary about Hoover by third parties, with associated material. Most of this commentary is by critics of Hoover and in a number of cases involved what Hoover regarded as slanderous allegations or "smears." The series includes material gathered by Hoover and Kemp to refute such allegations. There is in particular a sizable volume of material related to charges of anti-Bolshevik manipulative activities by the American Relief Administration in Russia. Some items in this series go back to Hoover's White House days and include Federal Bureau of Investigation reports to President Hoover regarding detractors.
    The New Deal Subject File, the Communist Subversion Subject File, and the extensive World War II Subject File are all directly connected to the Magnum Opus and consist of research material on those three topics collected for use in its composition. Of particular interest in the World War II Subject File is material related to Hoover's unsuccessful efforts to initiate wartime food relief to occupied Europe. A large body of other material in this series relates to the wartime American domestic economy and to Hoover's analysis of price controls and of what he regarded as economic policy mismanagement.
    The General Subject File includes correspondence, notes, memoranda and collected material not directly used in the Magnum Opus as ultimately composed. In Hoover's mind the Magnum Opus was something of an open-ended project, and the material in this series, as well as that in the corresponding series of the Herbert Hoover Papers, gives some indication of directions in which it might have continued. The great bulk of material in the series deals with the post-World War II period. There is a large volume on the European Recovery Program (Marshall Plan), reflecting Hoover's nuanced views on the potentialities and limitations of American foreign aid. Other material deals more generally with postwar American foreign policy and military policy, again reflecting Hoover's reservations regarding paths taken. Considerable material was collected on the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, treatment of which was developed only in Kemp's preliminary study.
    There is a significant body of material on Zionism and Palestine. Hoover took an active interest in the plight of European Jewry during World War II, and proposed clearing the way for a Jewish homeland by resettlement of Palestinian Arabs in Iraq, the project to be made palatable by an internationally-sponsored reclamation and development program of the Tigris and Euphrates River valleys.
    Another section of the General Subject File is concerned with the work of the postwar Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government chaired by Hoover. Kemp was employed as an assistant to Hoover in this capacity. The residue from this work in the Kemp Papers is substantial but rather miscellaneous.
    There are also a small set of Photographs and a small Oversize File.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    World War, 1939-1945 -- Diplomatic history
    United States -- Politics and government -- 1933-1945
    International relief
    United States -- Foreign relations -- 1933-1945
    United States -- Foreign relations -- 1945-1953
    Reconstruction (1939-1951)