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Finnish Relief Fund records
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Alternative Form Available
  • General Note
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Finnish Relief Fund records
    Date (inclusive): 1939-1946
    Collection Number: XX405
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 240 manuscript boxes, 3 oversize boxes, 10 card file boxes (108.2 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: Correspondence, memoranda, minutes, reports, press releases, financial records, printed matter, memorabilia, and photographs relating to fundraising in the United States for civilian relief in Finland during the Russo-Finnish War.
    Creator: Finnish Relief Fund
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives


    Microfilm use only except Boxes 248-251. 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 1975.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Finnish Relief Fund records, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Alternative Form Available

    Also available on microfilm (207 reels).

    General Note

    Finnish Relief Fund will be abbreviated throughout as FRF.

    Historical Note

    (From Herbert Hoover, An American Epic, Volume IV)
    In the Stalin-Hitler alliance of August 23, 1939, Stalin had exacted as part of his share in conquest the annexation of the helpless Baltic States. Estonia and Latvia complied with Stalin's demand for "protective garrisons." Lithuania was divided between Stalin and Hitler. Finland alone refused.
    When Stalin attacked Finland on November 30, 1939, I made the following statement:
    Civilization struck a new low with the Communists' attack on peaceful Finland. It is a sad day to every decent and righteous man and woman in the world. We are back to the morals and butchery of Ghengis Khan....
    They [the Finns] will make a brave fight. They may be overwhelmed by the hordes whose morals are the morals of Communism; whose methods are cowardly. They are to be brought into subjection by the killing of defenseless women and children. Brave men do not do that. Even if Finland falls, the day will come when it will rise again -for the forces of righteousness are not dead in the world.
    On December 3, the Finnish Minister to the United States, Hjalmar J. Procope, through my old associate, Lewis L. Strauss, asked if our group would undertake to organize relief for Finland as we were already doing for Poland. Before replying, I again, as in the case of Poland, urged Norman Davis, Chairman of the American Red Cross, that this relief be undertaken by that organization. I proposed that our group would serve under him if he wished. He decided the Red Cross would limit its services to medical aid and would collect garments through its chapters. However, Finland's most critical need was food.
    Our old colleagues incorporated the Finnish Relief Fund, Inc., under the laws of Delaware on December 6, 1939. Except for part of the clerical help, this American organization consisted entirely of volunteers. The following officers were elected: Herbert Hoover, Chairman; Edgar Richard, President; Lewis L. Strauss, Vice-President; John Jay Hopkins, Vice-Chairman and Director of Organization. Additional Directors: Perrin C. Galpin, Frank C. Page, Raymond Sawtelle, Edwin P. Shattuck, John L. Simpson, H. Alexander Smith, Clare M. Torrey...
    On December 7, I made the following address on Finnish relief:
    America has a duty to do its part in the relief of the hideous suffering of the Finnish people. Our people should have an outlet in which to express their individual and practical sympathy. I have consented to organize a nation-wide Finnish Relief Fund for this purpose. I appeal to the American people for its support. Finland is not a rich country. The people have little reserve for emergency. They are making a heroic defense. Air attacks have compelled the evacuation of civilians from their towns and cities. Hundreds of thousands of women and children have been driven from their homes in the middle of northern winter...Others are without adequate shelter, clothing, and food. This Fund is for the purpose of serving these broad needs. The American Red Cross has appealed for funds to furnish medicines, hospital supplies, and many garments will be provided through their chapters. They should be supported. The two funds will cooperate fully...
    To avoid overhead expenses, I addressed a telegram to the publishers of America's leading newspapers, asking whether they would receive contributions, report the donors in their columns, and remit the money to us. The press responded in extraordinary fashion -some 1,400 newspapers established such funds.
    We organized the usual radio programs and theatrical benefits, issued press statements, and arranged public meetings....
    In the spring of 1940, Congress appropriated $30,000,000 to aid the Finns. The total response from our public appeal was $3,546,526.11...
    With great losses after a valiant defense against overwhelming Communist armies, the Finns agreed to terms of peace on March 12. Stalin forced them to surrender a large part of their fertile lands, from which 400,000 Finns were expelled almost overnight.
    On March 13, I made this statement:
    The terms imposed on Finland mark another sad day for civilization. The Finns have made a heroic defense that will live for all time. But the odds were insuperable. The Finnish Relief Fund must continue...
    On the same day, we received the following cable from Kyosti Kallio, President of Finland:
    We are deeply grateful to the Finnish Relief Fund for the humanitarian aid which we have received during the Finnish War for the relief of the distressed. I hope with all my heart that you will continue to alleviate the lot of those suffering on account of the war for the population of the ceded areas will be moving into the territory of the republic... We have signed a compulsory peace yet we hope that our struggle for the right has gained us the sympathy of the civilized world and trust that we shall not be left to our own resources in the work of reconstruction...

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Correspondence, memoranda, minutes, reports, press releases, financial records, printed matter, memorabilia, and photographs relating to fundraising in the United States for civilian relief in Finland during the Russo-Finnish War.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    World War, 1939-1945 -- United States
    International relief
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Civilian relief
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Finland
    Russo-Finnish War, 1939-1940 -- Civilian relief