“In 1892, Herbert Hoover, a member of Stanford’s Pioneer Class, invited Polish composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski, one of the leading pianists in the world, to give a benefit concert. Due to problems with scheduling and publicity, only a few people attended. Hoover asked the pianist not to play, but he performed anyway, waiving his concert fee. And when Paderewski discovered that Hoover owed thousands of dollars for rental of the concert hall, the musician covered the bill.
That incident marked the beginning of a friendship between the two men that would last 50 years.
During and after World War I, when Poles faced massive starvation, Hoover repaid his debt to Paderewski, who became Poland’s prime minister, by organizing the largest relief operation ever mounted in Europe.
The American Relief Administration, established by Hoover, fed 2 million starving Poles daily, including the children pictured here.”