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Hoover Institution Library and Archives

Page history last edited by Paul Keenan 14 years, 2 months ago

Date of tip: 23 August 2005 (last research visit dates back May 2005)

Source: Margaret (Malgorzata) Gnoinska, gnoinska@gwu.edu


Location: Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-6010, USA


Contact Details: Tel (650) 723-3563; Fax (650) 725-3445


Possible Accommodation: I happened to stay with a friend in San Jose.  As some of you may know, the South Bay does not have a very good public transportation system, so it may be a good idea to rent a car.   I would therefore recommend that you stay somewhere near Stanford University, or perhaps even on campus, if there is such a possibility.  Staying in San Francisco could be an option (and fun!), but it’s really a long way to get to the archives (over an hour or more) on a combination of BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), Caltrain and walking or taking a Stanford University Shuttle (Marguerite).  For more lodging options, see: 

http://www.stanford.edu/dept/hds/scs/individuals/hotelmotel.html  http://www.stanford.edu/dept/hds/chs/general/hotel.html  


How to get there:  The best way would be to fly into San Jose Airport.  However, Oakland and San Francisco are also options.  The Hoover Institution Archives is located on the Courtyard Level of the Herbert Hoover Memorial Building at the intersection of Serra and Galvez Streets on the campus of Stanford University.  As far as getting there, it may be somewhat of a challenge since the archive is located in a very suburban setting where a car is almost a must.  However, do not despair!!!  Caltrain and Margeuerite (shuttle) can get you there, although not as fast.  See the following website for transportation info: http://www.stanford.edu/home/visitors/directions.html


Language:  The staff, besides English of course, speaks Russian and Polish (and perhaps other languages, as well, but I cannot verify that).


Getting started: The website is excellent and contains very useful information, so start there, especially by looking at what collections the archive holds.  You may need to call ahead of time to make sure that there is space for you to do research. Contact Carol Leadenham, Reference Archivist at leadenham@hoover.stanford.edu to let her know when you are coming.  The reading room is small, but comfortable.  It can hold about 8 researchers.  When you arrive to the reading room for the first time, you will need to fill out a researcher application; don’t forget to bring a photo ID with you! You will be given an identification card, which needs to  be presented every time you visit the archive.   


Opening Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. (closed for holidays; call for details); the archives are also open on designated Saturdays, so check with the reference librarian or consult the website.


General working conditions:  The Reading Room is rather small, but extremely comfortable with very spacious tables.  There are two computers in the room where you can check their collections as well as your e-mail. Before you go into the Reading Room, you need to leave your stuff in lockers nearby.  No food and beverage (including water) are allowed.  Notepaper is provided in the Reading Room. Pencils, ballpoint pens, typewriters, laptop computers, and reference books may be taken into the reading room.


Consultation: You may turn in request slips for research material soon after your application is approved.  Archival holdings are brought from the stacks to the reading room at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m.  You will have your own designated shelf on which you can keep up to 10 boxes at a time.  Tell the archivist if you are going to be back the next day.  


Policy on technology:  Researchers are welcome to use their own laptops in the Reading Room.  The Hoover Institution Library and Archives does not allow the use of digital cameras for copying documents in the Reading Room.  There is microfilm available.


Photocopy policy:  Photocopies of documents may be made in the Reading Room which has a self-service photocopier.  The basic cost of photocopies per page is $.15 if you are a researcher conducting on-site research.  Researchers are responsible for bringing change for the photocopy machines (coins, dollar bills, or five-dollar bills) or purchasing a copy card at Green or Meyer Library.


Particularities:  No complaints.  As far as food, there are vending machines near the archive.  You can also use the cafeteria of the Business School next door, as well as a coffee shop down the street.  Overall, there are not that many options for food.  See Campus Eateries web site


How to apply for classified files:  Not sure.


Contact name in case of questions regarding classified files:  I am not sure if there is one designated person whom you can contact, but perhaps you should contact Carol Leadenham, Reference Archivist at leadenham@hoover.stanford.edu.  


General Assessment:  The Hoover Institution Library and Archives’ collections contain documents, letters, posters, oral histories, diaries, photographs, underground newspapers, rare books, records of organizations, and personal papers of leading personalities, especially in the area of Soviet and Eastern European histories.  It was very refreshing for me to look at documents other than secret telegrams and minutes of conversations, as I was able to read personal letters of high Polish officials who defected during the Cold War, materials pertaining to the Polish government in exile, including reports of Polish diplomats in Asia in the early 1950s.  The archive is excellent for anyone conducting research on the Cold War era.  I highly recommend visiting the archive. Some of the personal letters and diaries you will find are true treasures and they can offer new perspectives in your research. 

The staff was EXTREMELY courteous and helpful not only in the area of research, but also on more practical matters like suggestions on restaurants and what to do in the Bay Area.   

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