This personal library of about one thousand volumes on the history of sciences collected by President Herbert Clark Hoover and his wife, Lou Henry Hoover, came to the Colleges in 1970 as a gift from Herbert Hoover III and the Hoover family.

The frontispieces of Georg Andreas Böckler’s Theatrum Machinarum Novum.

The Frontispieces from Georg Andreas Böckler’s Theatrum Machinarum Novum (view close up).

Herbert Hoover, who traveled the world in the early 1900s as a consulting mining engineer, early acquired a love for rare books, especially titles in the fields of mining, mathematics, astronomy and alchemy, natural history, and geology. He and his wife patiently searched book stores and catalogues and added, volume by volume, such important items as Euclid’s Elementa Geometriae (Ratdolt, 1482), William Gilbert’s great work on the magnet, De Magnete (London, 1600), a geography by Strabo (Venice, 1472), Barba’s Arte de los Metales (Madrid, 1770), and other works by Gesner, Borelli, Dana, and Montalbano luminaries in the history of mineralogy and crystallography.

The title page of Athanasii Kircheri’s Mundus Subterraneus from the Hoover Collection.

The title page of Athanasii Kircheri’s Mundus Subterraneus (view close up).

The works of Georgius Agricola especially intrigued the Hoovers. His monumental work De Re Metallica (Basel, 1556) had never been translated into English, until Herbert Hoover’s translation appeared in England in 1912. It is now a valuable collectors item.

The collection can be accessed through an in-house card catalog and a printed catalog, The Herbert Clark Hoover Collection of Mining & Metallurgy = Bibliotheca De Re Metallica annotated by David Kuhner and catalogued by Tania Rizzo (1980) (call number: Z 6740 C5X for Honnold Reference and Special Collections and XC 3.23 H66 1980 for Special Collections archive copies).

For more information:

Blais (the online catalog)

Card catalog

Contact Special Collections

Printed catalog:

The Herbert Clark Hoover Collection of Mining & Metallurgy = Bibliotheca De Re Metallica annotated by David Kuhner and catalogued by Tania Rizzo (1980)

For further information in the Honnold Library Record:

“The Herbert Hoover Collection: A Gift and a Story,” by David Kuhner, which appeared in the Honnold Library Record, Vol. XII, No. 1, Spring 1971.

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