Memorandum on Chicago Meat Packers


Memorandum on Chicago Meat Packers


Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964




1918 February 27


Herbert Hoover writes a memorandum regarding the investigation of Chicago meat packers.


Hoover-Wilson Correspondence, Hoover Institution, Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford, California


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum


United States--Politics and government--1913-1921
Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964--Correspondence





Mr. Brooks, who is mentioned, was employed for a short period by Messrs. Swift. He had had long railway experience and was suggested to me as an expert in movement of livestock from country points, by Mr. Chambers, now of the Railway Administration. He acted as a temporary assistant to Mr. Chambers and ultimately, when we decided that his continued services woud be useful, he was asked to resign from Messrs. Swift, which he did. His work has no relation to the packers in any shape or form.Mr. Heyl, another of those mentioned, is employed in a subordinate position in our meat division and, after bargains are made and orders are placed for canned goods, rations, et cetera, it becomes Mr. Heyl’s duty to follow these matters up and see that the goods are delivered - a sort of chief of shipping and order clerk. He was taken over from the Council of National Defense by the Food Administration in the transfer of their food activities and after we were satisfied that he was the proper man to conduct this work, he was required to resign from his position with the packers.

Mr. Priebe, whose name is also mentioned, is an independent dealer in poultry and eggs and for years has stood out as a mosgt progressive and public spirited man. He has been a subordinate to Mr. Powell. He has never received any salary from, or had any relationship to, the packers, with a remote exception that one packer concern is a stockholder in one small compeany out of a group of five such companies, of which Mr. Priebe is an officer. Not one of these men has anything whatever to do with the control and regulation of the Chicago packers.

Taking it by and large, it is utterly hopeless to attempt to conduct the Food Administration, penetrating as it does into so many industries, and requiring such an amount of technical skill and experience, unless it is possible to secure paytriotic and honest men having knowledge and experience in these industries. To attempt to intelligently watch the operations of cold storage, flour mills, and a hundred other industries of this technical type, with a sole equipment of doctors and lawyers, would be rirdiculous.

The plan of the Food Administration is that the men who have the prime responsibility and are in charge of the various divisions, shall be ientirely independent of the industry, but it is necessary for them to aggregate round themselves a considerable amount of expert assistance, temporarily or permanently. The entire matter of policy lies between myself and the division heads and these technical men are here simply to carry the detail.

Original Format





Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964, “Memorandum on Chicago Meat Packers,” 1918 February 27, WWP19352, Hoover Institute at Stanford University Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.