Interview with Mildred Campbell (Pilot)
Interview with Mildred Campbell (Pilot)
Interview Date: June 30th, 1990

Camera Rolls: 102:56-60
Sound Rolls: 102:32-34
Interview gathered as part of The Great Depression .
Produced by Blackside, Inc.
Housed at the Washington University Film and Media Archive, Henry Hampton Collection.
Editorial Notes:

Preferred citation:
Interview with Mildred Campbell , conducted by Blackside, Inc. on June 30th, 1990, for The Great Depression . Washington University Libraries, Film and Media Archive, Henry Hampton Collection.

These transcripts contain material that did not appear in the final program. Only text appearing in bold italics was used in the final version of The Great Depression.

*
INTERVIEW
[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
[camera roll 102:56] [sound roll 102:32] [slate marker visible on screen]
[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 1
INTERVIEWER:

I'm going to start out with a very simple question. What was Mrs. Hoover like?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Mrs. Hoover was a beautiful woman. She was a generous woman. She was loyal. She was just, she was very intelligent. She had lots of friends, and she was devoted to her friends. She was a very private person, too, because she would never give interviews. But I think that was a great pity, because if the world had known what a marvelous she was, and what Mr. Hoover was like, they would have had a better time.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 2
INTERVIEWER:

What did the world not find out about them, during the...? What did the world know about them during the presidency?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, of course, very soon after they went into the presidency, this Charlie Michelson was hired by  [ gap: ;reason: unintelligible ]  to say everything possible that he could about Mr. Hoover that wasn't pleasant. And some of the, most of the history books in this day and age, or, at that time, I guess, in the newspapers, had these awful things about Mr. Hoover. And they even had someone go up to his ranch outside of Bakersfield and put a big sign up: "No White People Employed." And they took a picture of that, of course, to go in the newspapers. And they just said terrible things about Mr. Hoover. You'll just have to look at some of the papers in those days. So that when, when it came time for them next election, why... And of course Mr. Hoover wouldn't, wouldn't dignify them with a reply. So, anyhow, well, we were talking about Mrs. Hoover, weren't we.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 3
INTERVIEWER:

No, no, you're doing fine. In 1928, President Hoover took over the country, and the, the prospects for the country were good. It was a prosperous nation. Forgetting about the crash that follows, what did you feel like at the beginning of his administration? Did you feel...? Can you tell me what your hopes were at that time?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, you've got to remember that I was 23 years old, 24 years old. And I just, I just took things as they came. I didn't, you know, it was exciting, the White House. And I had a job to do, and I did it. I was taking care of Mrs. Hoover, and it was just a continuation of what we'd being doing at the house on S Street. Mrs. Hoover took her secretaries, Ruth Fessler and me, to the White House, Mr. Hoover took his people from Commerce over, because they were comfortable with us. We knew them. We knew their ways. And, you know, I was just a little girl from the country. And Mrs., I think that's the reason Mrs. Hoover liked me, because she knew that she could tell me things, and I had no preconceived ideas about how thing should go. And Mrs. Hoover had very straight ideas about how things should go. She'd been around Washington for many years, even down back to the Wilson administration. So she knew all the ins and outs of official life.

INTERVIEWER:

People who worked with the president at the time—

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

They loved him. They called him Chief, which, you know, they wouldn't have done unless they loved him. They were devoted to him, Larry Ritchie, George Akerson, I think Walter Newton. Walter Newton was another one of the president's secretaries. He was the, he was liaison with Congress. But Larry Ritchie had been with him all during Commerce days, and so had George Akerson. I think George Akerson was really the P.R. man. And Larry Ritchie was what they might call now the chief of staff. But he, he loved Mr. Hoover. Everybody who would work with Mr. Hoover loved him. They knew that what a dedicated, wonderful man he was.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 4
INTERVIEWER:

How did, what, when the stock market crashed, what happened in the White House? What was the reaction?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, it just was consternation, that's all. Mr. Hoover, of course, had said during the Coolidge time, he tried to get Mr. Coolidge to call, cool the stock market. But Mr. Coolidge said that it wasn't his business. But Mr. Hoover saw it coming. And so, I think he was more or less prepared for it. I, we didn't, Mrs. Hoover didn't cut salaries right then, but she did cut some of the salaries after, after that.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 5
INTERVIEWER:

Was there a different mood in the White House after the crash?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, it came so soon after we went in that I really couldn't say.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 6
INTERVIEWER:

Where did you work in the White House?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

I had an office in one of the bedrooms on the third floor. We all, we all had offices up there. The social secretary had the sun room that Mrs. Coolidge had put on. I had one of the bedrooms. Ruth Fessler had another bedroom, and then, when the Depression came along and there were so many letters, Philippi Butler took another bedroom, so that those bedrooms on the third floor were pretty much the secretarial place. And of course they had the other people there, too, the maids and all that. It was a big storage place. That third floor was put on by the Coolidges.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 7
INTERVIEWER:

I remember at one point you said you handled the mail. Can you start off by saying, "That was my job, was to handle the mail" then tell me what the mail was like?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Every morning when I went in, I went to usher's office and picked up the mail that had come in from the morning mail and took it up to my office and opened it. And the social things went to Doris Goss, and Ruth Fessler got the organizations. Philippi Butler got the Depression letters. I got the Girl Scouts, the personal ones, the bills, everything like that. And it was a, well, I could handle it, you know, and, but nowadays, I think more people write letters than they did in those days. Thank goodness.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 8
INTERVIEWER:

What was, what was in the letters?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Oh, they wrote to Mrs. Hoover, not knowing who else to turn to for help during the Depression. They wanted things for the church bazaar, they wanted clothes, they wanted everything, everything that you, that you could think that a, a person—they had an idea that the president's wife could just do anything. And so they'd write to her and ask all kinds of questions, all kinds of requests.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 9
INTERVIEWER:

Did you get a sense of the despair out in the world through the letters?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, they weren't happy ones, and those poor people...yes they had, they just didn't have anything, and they just didn't know where to turn, and so Mrs. Hoover thought that they...and, and about two percent were found to be unworthy. All the rest of them were found to be legitimate. And she set up an organization that went all across the country. She used her Girl Scout friends. She used her club friends, everybody that she knew, and she would send these letters to them, and tell them to give them whatever assistance they could. And if they couldn't, Mrs. Hoover would finance some of their needs herself. Of course, nobody ever knew that.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 10
INTERVIEWER:

Can you describe to me the president's work habits?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Oh, the president was a workaholic. He just was working all the time. He just, he would go over in the morning to his office and come back at, at night, and he would go up in his study and he'd work until bedtime. He was working, that man's mind was going all, all the time. He never stopped, he never stopped working, even weekend, when he went up to camp, he would take a few friends along, and they'd work out a few problems and come back. Of course, he'd go up Saturday mornings and come back Sunday afternoons. But even at that, he was working.

[cut]
[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 11
[change to camera roll 102:57] [slate marker visible on screen]
INTERVIEWER:

Can you describe a typical scene of the president and his aides working?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, they, they worked like a bunch of bird dogs over there. They, in the White House, in the, in the Executive Office. In those days, of course, that was the building at the west end of the white house. But, oh, they would, oh my goodness, they just were going all the time. And of course they just had so much to do, and the president was trying to do so much. And whenever he undertook anything, he wanted to finish it and do it right. And he, he pulled out of his experiences—

CAMERA CREW MEMBER:

Excuse me, ma'am, we have a plane going over.

[cut] [slate marker visible on screen]
INTERVIEWER:

Mildred, could you describe a typical scene of the president and his aides?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

The president and his aides were busy as bird dogs, I say.
** They just were going all the time. The president always had, knew what he wanted to do. And he bent every effort to get it done. And he, of course, he had a marvelous mind. And he thought up all these ways to alleviate the Depression, and he would work on that. And he would pull in friends from all over the country and talk to them, and try to get everything done that he could possibly could get done. So there was constant going and coming, and even, even lunches and dinners he had his, he had people coming in to see him to talk about the things he needed to get done and to get information.
** But it was just, they just, that office was just busy all the time.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 12
INTERVIEWER:

He was a very methodical man, wasn't he?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Very what?

INTERVIEWER:

Very methodical.

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Oh yes. Well, he was an engineer to begin with, and he, he worked hard. And he just, he knew what he wanted to do and he tried to do it.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 13
INTERVIEWER:

When, what were his basic ideas about how people should deal with adversity?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, he thought people should
** stand on their own two feet. Now, he'd been a very poor boy, and he, all the way from picking potato bugs off of potatoes to earn a few pennies, he, he knew what the value of work
** was, and he thought people should and not get on the dole. He thought that, that really demoralized people.
** And he, he finally had to start up the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and another one, I can't remember the name of it, to help people get on their feet. But of course Congress didn't, didn't go along with him, and so a lot of it didn't get done during his term. Maybe afterwards, but not during his term.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 14
INTERVIEWER:

If you could summarize his theory about how to deal with this economic crisis coming on, how would you summarize that?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, I just really can't do that.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 15
INTERVIEWER:

Can you describe the medicine ball games?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, of course I didn't play in the medicine ball games, but I knew that they went on, beginning about 7:00, I guess, in the morning. And these men would meet and play these games, and afterwards have breakfast. And if the weather was nice, they had a table down under the magnolia tree, and they would sit down there and talk about the news of the world. Of course, there was a newspaperman, Mark Sullivan, and other people knew what was going on. And it was, it was devised by Dr. Boone as an exercise for, for Mr. Hoover, because he was a very sedentary man, and he worked so hard, and he was sitting all the time, that he knew that he had to keep him exercised, and that seemed to be the best way to do it. And I think Mr. Hoover liked it. So he, he not only accomplished exercise, but he, I guess, learned something that was going on in the world, too. He had some of his friends, who of course were all, all his friends, in this game.

INTERVIEWER:

I wondered if you could, could talk about the medicine ball game again, just so, because I think you might be able to remember it better. Could you start off by saying "The medicine ball game was devised by"?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Oh, oh, the basket—it wasn't basketball.

INTERVIEWER:

Medicine.

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Medicine. The medicine ball game was devised by Dr. Boone.

INTERVIEWER:

I'm sorry. Could you start again fresh, because I sort of stepped in there.

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

The basketball—

INTERVIEWER:

Let's cut for a second.

[cut]
[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 16
[slate marker visible on screen]
INTERVIEWER:

Some people have said that, some historians have suggested that President Hoover was a great man who was not a good politician.

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, I don't think he was a politician at all. And I don't think he liked politics. It was kind of—he wasn't a great fellow to go around slapping people on the back, you know. He, he had a good a handshake and wonderful smile, but he wasn't, he wasn't a politician. And if he had been, I think he would've gotten further along with projects and all of his things that he tried to do for the country during the Depression and, and all through his administration.

INTERVIEWER:

It's important to be a politician, isn't it? It's important, it was a missing ingredient almost.

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Yes, well, you can't have everything in this life.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 17
INTERVIEWER:

Can you describe your visit to Detroit in 1931, when you went with the president?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Oh, that was scary. It was in the midst of the Depression, and of course Detroit was an industrial town. A lot of people were out of work, and they weren't happy at all with the president. They blamed it all on him.
** And so, when we went up there to make a speech, they met us at the train and they rushed us through Detroit to the place where the speech was to be made. And they took us after the speech was over and rushed us back to the train
** so that no incident could happen to the president. Of course, I don't think we had as many Secret Service men in those days as there are now, but it, it really was a very tragic time for Detroit and for the whole rest of the country as far as that went, especially Detroit.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 18
INTERVIEWER:

Can you what, how President Hoover dressed? Can you describe how he dressed?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, I think it was a very old-fashioned kind of way, and they made a lot of fun of him with his celluloid collars and his old-fashioned things. And then he gradually changed his way of dressing to the more modern way. But he was a very conservative dresser. And he, you know he was a big man. And he was very neat. He had very small feet for a man the size that he was. And he had this man that kept him dressed, well, he looked very well. He extremely well in his black ties and white tails, white ties and tails. And he, he was a well-dressed man. He had lots of money, you know, to buy clothes. But I don't think clothes meant an awful lot to Mr. Hoover. I think they were just something that he put on and said, "I'm going to the office. If you want to go with me, come along."

INTERVIEWER:

Let's cut for a second.

[cut]
[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 19
[slate marker visible on screen]
INTERVIEWER:

In 1928 when, when the Hoovers were going into the White House, do you have a sense of how they felt?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, I think they just took it in—

INTERVIEWER:

Excuse me, can you say "The Hoovers"? Can you start out with "The Hoovers"?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

The Hoovers took, took it in stride. They took everything, you know, they took everything in stride. They, they were prepared to take, to take on the duties of the president. And, at least Mr. Hoover was. And Mrs. Hoover had been around Washington long enough to know how to, to do things at the White House.

[audio only]
MILDRED CAMPBELL:

She had her own ways of doing things, and she wanted, wanted to do it, because, well, she'd be going to the White House since the Wilson administration.

INTERVIEWER:

Excuse me, we ran out of film. That's, that's the end of that roll.

[cut]
[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 20
[change to camera roll 102:58] [slate marker visible on screen]
INTERVIEWER:

Would you please describe for me the reaction of the crowd in Detroit when the president's car was passing by? Did you see that?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

It was ugly. It was ugly. They were screaming and they were shaking at fists at us, and we were frightened. We were really frightened. I think probably the Secret Service, I know the Secret Service men were frightened, too, for the president. It was a very anxious time.
**

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 21
INTERVIEWER:

During the president's term, he had to make some very, very rough, tough decisions. He would, he fought against providing food as a handout to people in the drought. And some people said he was cruel.

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Oh, Mr. Hoover was never cruel. Mr. Hoover had the softest heart of anyone you'd ever know. He, he fed those millions of people in Europe, and why would he not feed the, or do something to help all of his American compatriots. No, Mr. Hoover was never cruel. He was firm, and he was, he had, he was a great humanitarian. He was very kind. He loved children, and very sweet with children. No, Mr. Hoover was anything but cruel.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 22
INTERVIEWER:

That's beautiful. When the, the economic crisis in the company was deepening, did President Hoover, how did he react to that? Did it phase him?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

I think he just worked harder to get things straightened out as best he could. Of course, he had, he had a Congress that was against him, and he worked very hard to get them to do the things that he wanted done. But they, they were of a different party, and so they were all building up to the next election. And I, I think that they'd gotten word from the Democratic headquarters that they were to block him in every move he wanted to make. And he was thwarted in every direction, but he still kept working, and still tried to get things accomplished.

INTERVIEWER:

Could you do that again and say "President Hoover"?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

President, OK.

INTERVIEWER:

So we can identify.

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, now, what am I supposed to do?

INTERVIEWER:

Well, did the, did the, as the crisis deepened, did, was he, did he panic?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Oh, the President didn't panic.
** No, of course he didn't. He just kept working harder all the time. And he tried every devise he knew, could possibly think of, to get things straightened out. But he was thwarted by the Congress. But the president never gave up. He just kept working out his, the things he thought should be done.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 23
INTERVIEWER:

Good, good. I, I wanted to ask you, there was a time when the Bonus Army came to Washington, and you had to drive to work. Can you describe how you felt at the time back then?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Oh we, we drove through Washington as fast as we could. We didn't feel comfortable stopping at stop signs, especially along Pennsylvania Avenue. And I had to cross Pennsylvania Avenue to get into the White House. And we rolled up our windows and locked our doors. And, well, it was a rag-tag bunch of people
** that sort of accumulated as the, as this march started from Oregon or out west somewhere. And they, they, they were, well, they were desperate in the first place. And I, and I just think a lot of them were somebody along to, for the ride and just to make trouble. It was a, it was a, was a mess there in Washington. And we didn't, we weren't happy about it one bit.
**

INTERVIEWER:

All right. Let's cut for a second.

[cut]
[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 24
[slate marker visible on screen]
INTERVIEWER:

What, when you were driving in your car, what, and you looked at the vets, the veterans, what did you see?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, I saw a rag-tag bunch of men that were panhandling. They were just threatening cars. They were threatening people. They were very just, not a very...just something. Of course, Washington had been a very peaceful kind of a town, and to have all these ruffians coming in and, and invade the city was really something. And, and it was a very unhappy situation for everybody.

INTERVIEWER:

Did you have a sense about how the president felt?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, he probably felt compassion for these people, because he had great compassion. But I'm sure he knew that, that they were, they were just along for the ride and asking for money, and then in the midst of the Depression there wasn't all that much money around. And so the president did whatever he could do to get, keep order in the town, and, and that, and I, and you know that there was that story about the president ordering out MacArthur and his forces. But it was the, the police chief of Washington that was worried about all these ruffians around, and he order, he ordered MacArthur to come over and push them over toward Anacostia, where they could sort of keep tabs on them.

INTERVIEWER:

Did you see any of that route, where they evacuated the veterans?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

No. I didn't.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 25
INTERVIEWER:

In 1932, in November, you were with President Hoover on the campaign.

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Yes, yes, I went on all the campaign trips in '32.

INTERVIEWER:

Can you describe what you saw on the campaign?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Oh, they were variant. Well, now, you see, we went by train, and we would stop, and the loyal people were down at the, at the train stops. Of course, we made some big city trips, too, to New York, to Chicago, and then we stopped along always along the way to these little towns. The people would come out. And then we finally got over to California. And in the midst of the black desert, at least it was the night, it was night and black as, as tar, we stopped and made his final appeal to the country to vote for him. And it was really kind of eerie out there, with no visible signs of mechanics to, to do all this. But somehow or another the radio address got out. And then we just kept on going over to California.

INTERVIEWER:

Sorry, there's a car.

[cut]
[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 26
[slate marker visible on screen]
INTERVIEWER:

When the stock market crashed, Mrs. Hoover told you something. What, what did she do?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

You mean about the banks closing? Mrs. Hoover had a little way of slipping along in a kind of Peggy Ann way, and she came up to my office, which was most unusual, and she said, "You have an account at the Commercial National Bank, don't you?" And I said, "Yes." And she said, "Well, I think you had better go down and get it out, because I heard some men talking, and I think that bank is going to close." So, I put on my hat and went down to the bank and drew out my money, and I said, "I'm going to California, so I need all my cash." And I did. And on the way, I thought, "Oh my goodness. My mother has an account there at that bank, too." So I stopped at the drug store and telephoned her, and I said, "Mom, you'd better come in and get your money out of the bank, because I think that that's important." And so,  [ gap: ;reason: unintelligible ]  came in and got her a little savings account she had there.

[cut]
[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 27
[slate marker visible on screen] [change to camera roll 102:59]
INTERVIEWER:

Mildred, it's election night 1932. What happened in Palo Alto?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, we were all ready for people to come in and celebrate the victory of Mr. Hoover, although I don't that everybody thought maybe he'd win. But nobody, nobody came. They didn't to embarrass us, because the word got out soon that the president was losing the election, that Roosevelt was winning. And so I remember Mrs. Hoover came along or I came along, and she put her arm around my shoulder, and she put her head on the other shoulder, and we just felt so sad. And Mr. Hoover was the president, he was still the president then, went off talking to some man. But the next day, he went to take a nap, and I think he slept for about six hours. He was just worn out. Because here had been trying to, to win this election so that he could carry out all the things that he had devised and thought up to help get over the Depression. And the people didn't buy it, and so he lost. And so he went back to Washington and did work up until the very last minute that he was in the White House to do what he had set out to do and which he couldn't accomplish because he didn't have Congress with him.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 28
INTERVIEWER:

Now could, could you describe the last day that he worked, as he worked.

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, everything, of course, had been moved out. All our office equipment had been moved out, and all of our belongings had been shipped out, but we were there to pick up the last of the mail, and the president worked up at the last minute. And I suppose Larry Ritchie and all his secretaries picked up the pieces as he went over to get in the car with Roosevelt and drive down to the capitol to relinquish the presidency. It was a very sad thing. Everybody was, the White House was very sad. But that's, that's the way a democracy works.

INTERVIEWER:

Now, he was working, he was working in his office that day. What stopped him from working?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, I suppose somebody came over and told him that Roosevelt was there and ready to go to the capitol. So the president came out, got in the car, went off. But he worked until the very last minute.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 29
INTERVIEWER:

During the, the campaign, you met Henry Ford on a train.

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Oh yes, oh yes.

INTERVIEWER:

Can you tell me what your impressions of him were?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, he was kind of a man—

INTERVIEWER:

I'm sorry, could you start off by saying, "I met Henry Ford on a train"?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Henry Ford was a very shy sort of a man. He came back into the private car we were riding, I guess, from Detroit to the next stop. Anyhow, we would pick up these people from one stop to another on the, on the campaign trip. And Mrs. Hoover said, I was Mrs. Hoover in the car, I said, she said, "Mr. Ford, this is my secretary Miss Hall. She has the most wonderful car that I love to drive. It is a V8 convertible, and I drive it whenever I can get it away from Miss Hall to take my friends up to camp." Of course, what happened was...anyhow, so Mr. Ford looked pleasant, and I thought, "Oh my, he'll keep me in Fords for the rest of my life!" But he didn't. Anyhow, he was a very nice man, and he was great friends with the Hoovers. The Fords and the Edisons, we all went to the celebration of Thomas Edison's invention of the light bulb, you know, at the Ford place in Greenfield. It was in the replica of the Independence Hall, going up the stairs, and we had a big dinner, and oh, it was, it was just wonderful. And...

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 30
INTERVIEWER:

Did, did Henry Ford and President Hoover have, were they friends? Did they believe in the same things?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Oh, I think so, yes, because Henry Ford believed in work, and certainly the president believed in work and producing something that was worthwhile for the country. We stayed at the Fords' house onces when we went back for the big celebration of the Edison place. And that is the first place Mrs. Hoover said, "Come here, I want to show you something." And she took me in the bathroom, and there was colored toilet paper. And that's the first time I saw colored toilet paper, and I think the first time Mrs. Hoover ever saw it. So she was kind of amused about that. But we went down on that, on that expedition, too. We were on a little train that Mr. Ford had in the—

INTERVIEWER:

I'm sorry, excuse me.

[cut]
[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 31
[slate marker visible on screen]
INTERVIEWER:

Now, I'm going back to 19—to the election night, 1932. Had you prepared a party or something like that?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Oh yes. We had caterers in. Of course, at Stanford you could get a lot of catering done by the students, so we had a big evening collation, or whatever you want to call it. We thought the, the friends of Stanford University would come up and congratulate Mr. Hoover, or speak to him or something. But I, I don't think they came, because they thought they might embarrass Mr. Hoover, since the returns were so bad. So we stood around and looked at each other, and that's when Mrs. Hoover came, put her head on my shoulder, and just was so sad.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 32
INTERVIEWER:

I wanted to go back to the campaign itself. Did the president work hard on that campaign?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Oh yes, he worked hard. He tried so hard to deliver his message to the people, to tell them what Roosevelt was going to do to them and what he'd been trying to do. And they, they said that Mr. Hoover didn't have a very good delivery, but it was an earnest, sincere delivery. It wasn't any fireworks, you know, when he was delivering a speech. He just said what was what. And, well, I don't know, he, he, anyhow. He worked very hard. He wrote all of his speeches himself. And wrote them out by hand. Then he polished them and polished them and polished them. Sometimes we would be typing them up at the last minute before we went off to an auditorium to give these speeches. But Mr. Hoover, the president, was, wanted to be sure that they said what he meant. And yes he worked very hard on those, and then he worked on keeping the country going, too, at the same time.

[cut]
[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 33
[slate marker visible on screen]
INTERVIEWER:

Can you tell me about that night?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

It was the last night of our campaign trip across the country. And Mr. Hoover, the president, was going back to California to cast his vote. And we were somewhere in Nevada, I think, in the middle of the night. It was pitch black, no lights around anywhere, but we stopped, and he made his final speech to the country to ask them to support him in the things that he had been trying to do to get them out of the Depression. It was a very earnest speech, and it was, it was wonderful to do this way, way in this far country, almost, that we couldn't see anything around. And he made this great, of course it was radio, in those days, because television hadn't been perfected. But that's what we did on the last night, and then we went on over to California for the election.

INTERVIEWER:

Great. Thank you.

[cut]
[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 34
[slate marker visible on screen] [change to camera roll 102:60]
INTERVIEWER:

After the inauguration...

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

In 1929?

INTERVIEWER:

In 1933. What, what was the last thing that the president did in Washington?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, I don't know, but I'm sure he worked up until the last minute.

INTERVIEWER:

But after the inauguration.

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Oh, oh! Well, of course, he went down to the capitol with Roosevelt, and after the ceremony was over, he went down and, and the Secret Service men had sort of been taken off. And so he had to find the car and get himself over to the Union Station to get on the train. He went to New York, and Mrs. Hoover—well, as a matter of fact, they stopped in Philadelphia with friends. Then he went, the president went on to New York, and Mrs. Hoover got on the train that I was on and went as far as Chicago and met up with Herbert. And Herbert took her out to Sierra Madre, where his home was, out in California. And Mr., and the president went up to New York and where he could keep an eye out on what was going on in the world and have all of his friends come to him. But he finally came back to Stanford and, and worked. He had an office, a house at Stanford.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 35
INTERVIEWER:

Now was there a big crowd at the train station when he left?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

I wasn't there. No. I doubt it. Although there may have been some people. Because, you see, I was, I had to, I had to wait at, up at one of my friend's houses until time for my train to leave, because I didn't go on the train with the Hoovers at that point. But I went, the train that I went on, I had Mrs. Hoover's maid and two dogs and a canary, and the baggage to take out to, bring out to California.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 36
INTERVIEWER:

How'd you feel that day?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, I was sad, because I was leaving my parents, my friends in Washington, going to California. I had one or two friends I'd made on the various campaigns when we came out, but on the whole it was a, it was an adventure. California was the land of [laughs] glory or something or other. Anyhow, it was a place that I had never in my wildest dreams thought I would get to. But I did, and I've been here ever since.

[cut]
[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 37
[slate marker visible on screen]
INTERVIEWER:

Could you tell me about where Mr. Hoover worked, and what that work was like after he finished in old, in his executive office?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

When the day was over, and he came—

INTERVIEWER:

I'm sorry, could you start again, because I stepped in the line?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

When the day was over, the president came back to the White House, and went into the, what was called the Lincoln Study. It was where Lincoln had his office in the White House. Mrs. Hoover'd found a print which had old chairs in it. It had the very fireplace, and so she knew that that was the Lincoln Study in Mr., in Lincoln's time. And Mr. Hoover went in there and worked. And Sundays meant nothing to him. He worked all the time. And when there was a speech coming up or something very special that need a lot of typing, they would call me, and I would come down and help Mr. Hoover's secretary. We, we had a little office set off in one of the dressing rooms of this place, and we would do our typing there. But the president was always needing help. He always had somebody at call. Even at the S Street house before we went to the White House, the president had somebody who could write his speeches for him. And sometimes it was me.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 38
INTERVIEWER:

If you had to summarize President Hoover's philosophy of what the nation should be, of what America should be, what would that be? What did he believe.

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, he believed that this country was great, and he...that's a very hard question to answer.

INTERVIEWER:

I know. It's very hard. What did he believe?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

He believed that this was the greatest country in the world. He believed that he had something to contribute, and he wanted to contribute it. He could've gone on with his money and made all kinds of money, but decided, as a matter of fact, when he came back from Europe, after feeding all those people, the Guggenheim people offered him a position with a tremendous salary. In the meantime, he had been offered the job as Secretary of Commerce. And he decided to take the Secretary of Commerce. He said this country had given him so much that it was up to him to give his country something back. And that was what he was going to do. And if so, from going into the Department of Commerce and standardizing all kinds of things.

[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 39
INTERVIEWER:

Well, let me interrupt for a second. In 1928, during that election, was he the best man for the job?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Well, of course. He would, he would be the best man for the job for anything that he undertook, and certainly to, to take over this country that was kind of going at such a fast pace and to settle it down.

INTERVIEWER:

That was great.

[cut]
[missing figure]BMoK2myfhhE
QUESTION 40
[slate marker visible on screen]
INTERVIEWER:

Did, with all this economic crisis going on, did President Hoover ever panic?

MILDRED CAMPBELL:

Oh, no, I don't think he'd ever panic. He was a very stable person. He had confidence in himself, and he knew where he was going and what he wanted to do. And he just did it the best he could.
** No, there was no panic in Mr. Hoover. I don't think you could panic Mrs. Hoover, either. Someone wrote a book called .

[audio only]
MILDRED CAMPBELL:

And she, gallant was a word—

[cut] [audio only]
MILDRED CAMPBELL:

President Hoover said, "My country owes me nothing. It gave me as it gives every boy and girl: a chance. My whole life has taught me what America means. I am indebted to my country beyond any power to repay." "My country owes me nothing. It gave me as it gives every boy and girl: a chance. My whole life has taught me what America means. I am indebted to my country beyond any power to repay."

INTERVIEWER:

Thanks. That's great.

[cut]
[end of interview]