Herbert Hoover became president in 1929. He had worked in two previous administrations as Secretary of Commerce and was credited with saving Europe during World War I because of his relief program.
Hoover was nicknamed "The Great Humanitarian." In particular, Belguim benefited from this program and an interesting article on feedsacks used by the women there can be found here and is very moving. I remember somewhere in my stack of antique magazines Needlecraft magazines had an article on the reuse of the feedsacks and the gratitude of Belgians.
In 1928, Hoover wasn't just popular--he won the presidency in a landslide against Al Smith. One of my quilts, dated 1929, appears to display Hoover's popularity:
It was during Hoover's work as a cabinet member that our quilt story begins. In 1928, Needlecraft Magazine published an article on Mrs. Hoover's Quilt:
You may recognize this as a double Irish chain. Somewhere in the back of my brain, I remember when I first studied quilt history that I read the Irish Chain was among the earliest quilt patterns recorded. Apparently Mrs. Hoover had seen an antique version of the quilt and was so charmed by the pattern that she commissioned a quilt to be made for her son's wedding in 1925. It was a two color quilt and Mrs. Hoover chose blue and white. Even the quilting of the piece made headlines:
In March of 1929, when Hoover took office, "Mrs. Hoover's Colonial Quilt" made news again, along with instructions; the article encouraged the use of feedsacks. A month after the inauguration, Mrs. Hoover received a quilt gift as First Lady: