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Boris the Bear - President Hoover's Valet

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Feb 09, 2017 @ 10:29 AM

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HERBERT HOOVER AND HIS FAMILY IN 1933.
THE UNOFFICIAL DUTIES OF KOSTA BORIS INCLUDED "FETCHING" THE GRANDCHILDREN FOR PRESIDENT HOOVER.

Margaret Hoover Brigham was quite young when she lived with her presidential grandfather, Herbert Hoover, in the White House. Just five years old, she and her brother moved temporarily to the Executive Mansion when their father took ill. They lived on the third floor, in what was then the family quarters.

“We were incorporated into the family doings at convenient times,” she remembers. “In the afternoon, late afternoon Kosta Boris, Granddaddy's valet, would come find me and we would walk over to the office and wait in the cabinet room. Sometimes it would be a little longer than Boris had estimated that Granddaddy would be through, so Boris would get underneath the table and pretend he was a bear roaring, just to amuse me, keep me from making too much noise or getting in the way.”

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ELEGANT GOLDEN BRONZE HAND FORMATION. A PERSONAL GIFT FROM PRESIDENT HOOVER FOR FIRST LADY LOU HENRY HOOVER IN 1929 - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE PRESIDENTIAL COLLECTIONS HERE

So who was this Kosta Boris? Like several other presidential valets over the years, he met Herbert Hoover while serving in the military. In Kosta Boris’ case, the year was 1918, the place Paris. Kosta was a Serbian native and naturalized American citizen who spoke Serbian, French, and English fluently. After joining the Army, he was assigned to the U.S. Food Administrator’s office. There, he served as orderly to the Administrator, Herbert Hoover.

Every presidential valet has had some duties in common – notably, overseeing the sartorial side of the president’s daily life. But many had other broad responsibilities, serving as personal assistants, barbers, bartenders, waiters, companions, and confidantes. Historians suggest each president’s valet knew him as (or more) intimately than anyone else. That was certainly the case with Kosta Boris and Herbert Hoover.

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ORIGINAL PIECE OF ART FROM THE FAMILY LIVING QUARTERS OF THE WHITE HOUSE DURING HOOVER'S FOUR YEAR PRESIDENTIAL TERM - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Although Kosta had numerous other offers, he accepted Hoover’s invitation to return to the US after the war and become Hoover’s personal valet. The Hoover family, including Kosta Boris, settled in Palo Alto, California, where Herbert, Jr. was attending Stanford University. His younger brother was still in high school. Former President and Mrs. Hoover traveled quite a bit, so it fell to Kosta to look after the boys. But he also ran errands, served as butler, waited table, and of course maintained Mr. Hoover’s wardrobe.

Kosta became known as “Boris,” because it was traditional for valets to be addressed by their last name. Naturally, when Herbert Hoover was elected President in 1928, Boris moved with him to the White House. He continued to fulfill broad duties, laughingly referred to by the Hoover family as “Domestic Maestro” or “Factum Factotum.”

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PRESIDENT HERBERT HOOVER WAS THE FIRST PRESIDENT TO HAVE A TELEPHONE INSTALLED IN THE OVAL OFFICE

But he was always mindful of Hoover’s desire to dress formally for dinner, even when there were no guests or other family members present. “He had his full dress clothes in the White House,” recalled Boris later. “A tuxedo, a cutaway coat, two blue suits, one brown and, of course, pairs of white trousers, white shoes, blue coat; a Palm Beach suit. It had a little belt in the back.”

White House seamstress Lillian Rogers Parks thought Boris “looked more like a diplomat than a valet,” as he was “tall and handsome, with salt and pepper hair.” Perhaps that’s why he caught the eye of Essie Paul while shopping in Washington, DC. A department store sales clerk, she became his wife.

It was back to Palo Alto for the Hoovers after his presidency. Boris and his wife went, too. Boris and Essie remained there – in fact, Boris served as valet for two Stanford presidents, after the Hoovers moved to New York City. But Boris and Essie paid an annual visit to Herbert Hoover in New York, up until his death in 1964.

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House China. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than 35 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China and Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

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Tags: Herbert Hoover

Honorable Humanitarian - President Herbert Hoover

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 @ 07:13 AM

Herbert Clark Hoover (1874-1964) was born to Quaker parents in West Branch, Iowa. His early life would seem unfortunate to most. At age two, he nearly died from a severe illness. At age six, his father died and then when he was nine his mother died as well. The rest of his young life was spent with his uncle in Oregon. While the reason for this arrangement was tragic, it enabled young Hoover to acquire a very good education and learn marketable skills working with his uncle.

President Herbert Hoover

THE 31ST U.S. PRESIDENT HERBERT CLARK HOOVER

While studying at the newly established Stanford University, Hoover met his bride-to-be, Lou Henry who was the only female student in the geology department. After graduation, they married and he began a successful career in the mining industry which carried them off to Australia, China and many other places. It was during this phase that Hoover authored a brilliant engineering textbook, Principles of Mining, which became the industry standard for many years and from which he profited greatly. In fact, the total of all of his assets was reported to have reached $4 million dollars.

Unfortunately, the extraordinary humanitarian efforts made by Hoover during his early years as a member of the Supreme Economic Council, as head of the American Relief Administration, head of the U.S. Food Administration, and as U.S. Secretary of Commerce were all but forgotten when the stock market crash of 1929 acted as a catalyst causing the Great Depression. It had only been eight months since a very hopeful President Hoover had addressed the nation at his inaugural address.

Hoover at the microphone

PRESIDENT HOOVER ADDRESSES THE NATION

Hoover held on to his belief of limiting the role of government in the interest of self-sufficiency, a trait he saw as a core characteristic of the American public. Unfortunately, under these extreme circumstances, none of the alternative solutions he put in place were very effective.

In 1932 Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran against Hoover, selling himself with a “New Deal,” a strategic course of action that promised to right the ship. American voters were ready to buy. They elected Roosevelt leaving the ousted President Hoover to retreat in disgrace. For the remainder of his 90 years, Hoover wrote and spoke out in vehement opposition to FDR and his policies and then in protest to American involvement in foreign wars.

Hoover and his dog

PRESIDENT HOOVER WITH HIS COMPANION, KING TUT

Among some of the admirable accomplishments Hoover made are:

  • Devised a strategy to prosecute mobster Al Capone for tax evasion
  • Reserved 3,000,000 acres of land for national parks
  • Allocated funds to double the number of veteran healthcare facilities
  • Provided school meals for children in occupied territories
  • Chaired commissions that greatly reduced waste in government
  • Began construction of the Hoover Dam
  • Authored 16 books including a biography of Woodrow Wilson

Herbert Hoover's golden hand

 ELEGANT FIRST FAMILY RELIC - HERBERT HOOVER’S GOLDEN HAND - NOW IN THE RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Together Lou and Herbert Hoover raised two sons, Herbert Charles Hoover (1903–1969), Allan Henry Hoover (1907–1993) who were already in their 20’s when Hoover became President. Herbert Charles Hoover achieved success in engineering and business before serving as U.S. Under-Secretary of State for the Eisenhower Administration. Allan Henry Hoover initially followed his father’s lead by exploring opportunities in mining. For the last 50 years of his life, he provided leadership at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Of particular interest, is the fact that President Harry S. Truman knew in his heart that Herbert Hoover was a gifted man. At President Truman's behest, Herbert Hoover returned to Washington, DC and assisted the President in offering suggestions that would improve the operation of the United States Federal Government. He did this for no pay.

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PRESIDENT HOOVER AND HIS FAMILY IN 1933

World-renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has had the good fortune to acquire several museum-quality relics that were owned by the late President Herbert Hoover. Among them is a golden hand which was a gift from the President to First Lady Lou Henry Hoover inscribed with each of their initials and the year 1929. In addition, Mr. Amyx’s collection contains a President Hoover’s cigar humidor, a gold tone pen and pencil, a breathtaking original work of art from the Hoover Living Quarters in the White House, and a stunning porcelain vase.

Herbert Hoover vase ELEGANT VASE OWNED & USED BY PRESIDENT HERBERT HOOVER - NOW IN THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Serious collectors who would like to discuss these or other museum quality historically significant items are invited to contact Mr. Amyx for a confidential discussion.

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYXHISTORIAN & COLLECTOR RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX

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Tags: Presidential Memorabilia, The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection, Herbert Hoover

WHITE HOUSE CHINA - SERVICE PLATE OF WOODROW WILSON FINALLY LOCATED

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 @ 11:01 AM

Recently, a very select number of pieces of Official White House China have been located. In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson; in conjunction with the First Lady, selected and acquired, perhaps one of the Top 5 most popular examples  of White House China. The Wilson pieces represent, Executive Mansion Elegance.....at its total best.

WOODROW WILSON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINASTUNNING OFFICIAL 1918 WHITE HOUSE CHINA OF PRESIDENT WOODROW WILSON

It pleases us to share an example of this elegance.  The 1918 Wilson State Dinner Service Plates came in two sizes (11.125" and 11.75").  The Woodrow Wilson China was manufactured by Lenox, of Trenton, New Jersey.  For the first time, the White House had its Official China manufactured in the United States of America. By 1918, it had been fifteen years since any President or First Lady had ordered State Service; and that was when it was purchased by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903.

GILT PRESIDENTIAL SEAL VERSO WOODROW WILSON CHINATHIS GILT PRESIDENTIAL ARMS APPEARS IN THE CENTER OF SERVICE PLATE OF PRESIDENT WOODROW WILSON

As it turned out the Wilson service was later received by other Administrations in a totally positive vein.  In fact, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and even William Jefferson Clinton ordered additional pieces of this exact same design. They felt it important to update this elegant pattern, in order to serve a larger number of White House guests, as well is to replace pieces due to chips or breakage over a period of many years.

WOODROW WILSON AND EDITH GAT WILSON OVAL OFFICE DESKWOODROW WILSON AND EDITH GALT WILSON AT WORK IN THE WHITE HOUSE

The stunning piece featured above is now in the Collection of Raleigh DeGeer Amyx.  His Official White House China Collection now ranks in the Top 2 privately held collections in the world. Other items in The American Heritage Collection AKA The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection, have previously been loaned to Presidential Libraries as well as to non-profit entities of note.

raleigh degeer amyx in library in 2010RALEIGH  DEGEER  AMYX IN LIBRARY IN 2010

 





Tags: Woodrow Wilson, White House China, The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection, The American Heritage Collection, Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge

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