The Belgian American Educational Foundation (B.A.E.F.) was instituted as the successor to the Commission for Relief in Belgium that took on the huge task of sustaining the population of occupied Belgium (C.R.B.) and a portion of France during the four years of World War I.
On January 9, 1920, the Belgian American Educational Foundation (B.A.E.F.) was established, and incorporated on January 16, 1920 under the laws of the State of Delaware. The first meeting of the Members and Directors was held on May 3, 1920, at which time the By-laws of the Foundation were adopted. The Belgian American Educational Foundation was then incorporated under the name of C.R.B. Educational Foundation.
A note on the origin of the Foundation, appended to the Foundation’s annual report of 1920, states: “The creation of the Foundation resulted from an agreement between the Belgian Government and Mr. Hoover, Chairman of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, as to the disposition of the balances remaining in the hands of the Commission after five years of relief work..” Indeed the establishment of the Belgian American Educational Foundation in January 1920 was an endpoint and a beginning. The Belgian American Educational Foundation became the heir of the Commission for Relief in Belgium as it rose out of a small portion of the funds remaining in the treasury of the Commission after World War I.
There was never any dispute in Hoover ‘s mind that the balances of the Commission for Relief in Belgium were the property of the Belgian people. One could only argue about the manner in which to return these funds to the Belgian public. Herbert Hoover had held informal discussions about this matter with the Belgian Government, the Comité National and other representatives of Belgium. At a meeting in August 1919 in Brussels where Mr. Herbert Hoover, the Belgian Premier Delacroix, Mr. Emile Francqui and other Ministers were present, the Premier, speaking on behalf of the Belgian Government requested that Mr. Hoover himself determine the disposition of the balances.
Mr. Hoover suggested that “no more democratic service could be rendered to the Belgian people than that these funds should be applied to the extension of education in Belgium among all classes of the population, especially among those of limited means”. He suggested that “these aims might best be accomplished by a) aiding directly the universities and the technical schools of Belgium, b) initiating such measures as would enable the sons and daughters of those without means to undertake the expenses of such higher training, c) support of institutions devoted to the advancement of child welfare, d) promotion of good will between the two nations”.
As this proposal met with the approval of the Belgians present, the representatives of the Belgian Universities joined the conference. To meet the first aim it was decided to proceed immediately with payment of 95,000,000 BEF to the Universities of Brussels, Leuven-Louvain, Ghent and Liège, as well as the School of Mines and Metallurgy at Mons and the Colonial School at Antwerp. To meet the second aim it was decided that further sums, derived from the liquidation of the relief organizations, be established in the form of a permanent foundation, the income from which should be expended to aid young Belgians to obtain university training and to aid by appropriate means the progress of science in Belgium.
The Directors of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, pursuant to aim
The “American Foundation” was incorporated on January 16, 1920 in the State of Delaware as the C.R.B. Educational Foundation,Inc. The “Belgian Foundation” was incorporated on July 6, 1920 by Act of the Belgian Parliament as the Fondation Universitaire – Universitaire Stichting. The Belgian American Educational Foundation became also the successor of the Commission for Relief of Belgium to administer the non-governmental balances remaining in the hands of the Commission. B.A.E.F. was thus the channel for distribution of further funds to Belgian Universities and Foundations. It is important to realize that these Belgian institutions received funds over several years via two paths. Firstly, in 1920 as a direct payment from the Commission for Relief in Belgium. Secondly, after 1920 from the Belgian American Educational Foundation using assets obtained from the final liquidation of C.R.B.. As part of the distribution of C.R.B. benevolent funds, the most important part of the leftover moneys went to the Universities and institutions of higher learning of Belgium, which had suffered serious destruction during World War I. The Universities of Brussels, Ghent, Liege and Louvain each received 20,000,000 BEF ($3,800,000); the School of Mines was granted 5,000,000 BEF ($950,000) and the Colonial School 10,000,000 BEF ($1,900,000). The “Belgian Foundation”, Fondation Universitaire – Universitaire Stichting received initially about 25,000,000 BEF ($6,800,000). The “American Foundation”, the C.R.B. Educational Foundation also received initially about $7,700,000. The latter sum was further increased by $2,000,000, from other residuals of the C.R.B. in liquidation to replenish the Foundation’s treasury against further donations already planned.
The founding event of 1920 was the beginning of 75 years of glorious service to the cause set forth by Herbert Hoover. The first quarter century was characterized by the rapid development of exchange programs between the United States and Belgium and by the establishment of other Foundations through major capital gifts.
All the powers of the Corporation founded in 1920 were exercised by the Members of the Foundation who were also called Directors and divided in three classes with staggered terms. The daily governance was delegated to the Officers and an Executive committee. At the first meeting of the Members and Directors of May 3, 1920 the following Officers were elected: Herbert Hoover, Chairman and President; William B. Poland, Vice-President; Gates W. Mc.Garrah, Treasurer; Edgar Rickard, Comptroller and Secretary; Perrin Galpin, Assistant Secretary. There was also a Honorary President, Emile Francqui and a Vice-President, William B. Poland.
The idea of exchange fellowships between the United States and Belgium had been considered by members of the C.R.B. and by prominent Belgians during the war. After the armistice a temporary Fellowship Committee of the Commission for relief in Belgium set forth plans for the exchange. The Universities of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, California and Stanford agreed to the plan to receive two Belgian Fellows for graduate study. The Belgian Universities and technical schools agreed to receive an equal number of Americans. There was such an unexpectedly large number of Belgians that wished to take advantage of the opportunity that after the incorporation of the Foundation, the plan for the Belgians was broadened and additional American Universities were invited to join. This was the first experience for the Foundation of the asymmetric response in Belgium and in the United States, a fact that throughout its history will lead to a preponderance of Belgian Fellows. Actually by the third year of the program (1922-23) the number of Americans was reduced because of the inability of the Americans to obtain “graduate education” in Belgium along the model of the American system.
The first fellowships offered in 1920 were 24 in number from each country, without distinction of age or sex, and carried a generous stipend of $1,000 for Belgians in the USA and of 10,000 BEF for Americans in Belgium, full coverage of enrollment and examination fees, as well as all first class travel expenses. A clear sign that Mr. Hoover was in charge was the rule that Fellows could, if they preferred, travel second class and receive the saving in cash by the difference between the cost of passage in the first and second class! The first boat to the USA included 24 Belgian Fellows, and the maiden voyage to Belgium included 22 Americans. Noteworthy is that the first boat of Belgians included one woman, and the first boat of Americans counted already five women. Among the Belgians of 1920, four studied at each Harvard and the U. California, three studied at Columbia, two each at Yale, Princeton, M.I.T., Stanford, and one each at Cornell U. Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins, Chicago, and the Mayo Clinic. A photograph of the boat of 1920 is reproduced. The first group included Paul van Zeeland and Charles du Bus de Warnaffe, who each were to be appointed as members of the Belgian Cabinet in 1934. Among the Americans of the first group, four hailed each from Stanford and U. California, three each from Harvard and Yale, two each from Columbia and Princeton, one each from Radcliffe, Vassar, M.I.T., and Johns Hopkins. The outstanding assortment of universities that characterized the first crop of Fellows would become the hallmark of the Foundation’s Fellowships throughout its history.
The activities of the Belgian American Educational Foundation included many expenses outside the graduate fellowship program. During 1920, the major portion of the income of B.A.E.F. was turned over to the Fondation Universitaire for its programs. In the subsequent years, eleven C.R.B. Chairs were endowed at the Universities of Brussels and Louvain , and the School of Mines at Mons in technical projects for a period of 15 years (1922-1936), as well as five Associate Fellowships. Visiting professorships in both countries were inaugurated in 1922, and Advanced fellowships in 1925. In addition a program of loans to Fellows was initiated in 1923 for purposes connected to their academic work. The Foundation gave support for the purchase of books at the Universities of Brussels and Louvain-Leuven. Special grants were given e.g. to Dr. Decroly with regard to the study of intelligence tests. In the field of child health, Belgian women teachers were selected for a year’s of study at Columbia and M.I.T.
In 1921, the Fondation Universitaire – Universitaire Stichting received from Belgian American Educational Foundation an additional 30,000,000 BEF ($2,178,844). This made the total of Fondation Universitaire grants to have combined book value of $9,000,000.
The Foundation also entered in 1922 into a contract with the Université Libre de Bruxelles to spend 15,000,000 BEF for land and buildings for the library and administration, for the housing of the Faculties of Philosophy and Law, and for dormitories for men and women students. With the intent of spurring on fundraising by the University of Brussels, the Foundation further promised to match every franc raised by two francs, and thus raised its commitment to 20,800,000 BEF.
The Foundation appointed an American, Mr. J.M. Howells as Consulting Architect to organize a competition open to Belgian architects for the plans of the buildings to be erected in the Solbosch quarter of Brussels. The cornerstone of the first building was laid on November 29, 1924 in the presence of H.R.H. Prince Leopold. The buildings were in use as of October 1929 but the formal dedication was postponed to June 23 and 24, 1930, when the new buildings of the Solbosch site at Avenue des Nations (Avenue Franklin Roosevelt) and the medical institute at Boulevard de Waterloo were officially inaugurated.
The Foundation provided money for repairs and construction of the new Library of the University of Louvain-Leuven, through an outright gift from B.A.E.F. and through a special fund-raising appeal made by Herbert Hoover in 1925. By December 1925, Mr. Herbert Hoover and Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler announced the completion of a $1,000,000 fund for the rebuilding of the Library at Louvain University. This fund included gifts of a few pennies each from half a million American school children and gifts of one dollar or more from students of practically every college, university, academy or preparatory school of the U.S.A.. The fund was completed with an outright gift of $432,500 from the Belgian American Educational Foundation, exceeding the target by $125,000, that was to be a capital allowing for the upkeep of the building.
In 1925, the Belgian American Educational Foundation decided to distribute the major portion of all its assets in Belgian francs for the benefit of the Universities of Brussels and Leuven-Louvain in the form of two definite endowments. The Hoover Foundation for the Development of the University of Brussels and the Hoover Foundation for the Development of the University of Leuven-Louvain were officially recognized and approved by the Belgian Government in June 1926. These foundations engaged in the completion of the building program as well as in the general support of their university. In 1926 B.A.E.F. transferred about 34,500,000 BEF to the Hoover Foundation for the Development of the University of Brussels and about 20,000,000 BEF to the Hoover Foundation for the Development of the University of Leuven-Louvain. Ultimately with final grants made in 1927, the Hoover Foundation for the Development of the University of Brussels would be the recipient of $3,451,422 and the Hoover Foundation for the Development of the University of Leuven-Louvain would be the recipient of $1,609,848.
The Louvain Library was dedicated on July 4, 1928 in the presence of Crown Prince Leopold and Princess Astrid of Belgium, and a bronze bust of Mr. Hoover was unveiled in the Louvain Library. A clock and carillon of 48 bells in recognition of the then 48 United States were inaugurated at the same time. The clock and carillon were a gift of the Committee on War Memorial to American Engineers organized under the auspices of the United Engineering Society and affiliated engineering organizations. The Hoover Foundation for the Development of the University of Leuven-Louvain became also the recipient of an endowment given by the American Engineer’s Committee for the upkeep of the clock and carillon. As discussed below the B.A.E.F. would play a role a half century later in the carillon’s restoration.
The Foundation made a gift to the “Ecole Supérieure de Jeunes Filles” for the acquisition of a building in Brussels. The Foundation made a five-year grant in 1924 to the “Cercle des Alumni – Kring der Alumni” open to all persons who had received support from the Fondation Universitaire or the Belgian American Educational Foundation.
The starting capital of the Belgian American Educational Foundation in the first six years served as a conduit for further gifts in Belgium from the C.R.B. in liquidation. Because of the endowment gifts to institutions and the creation of new Foundations, it is more appropriate to take as the real starting capital of Belgian American Educational Foundation the assets that were held by this Foundation after completion in 1927 of all the mandates and transfers of the C.R.B. in liquidation. The principal assets of B.A.E.F. stood at $3,160,000 at the end of 1927.
The year 1927 is another important transition year in Belgium. Initiated by the speech of Seraing by King Albert I on October 1, 1927, a Committee was organized to foster scientific research through the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research. The Fondation Universitaire played a large part in the organization and campaign for the National Fund, and both organizations selected Mr. Jean Willems as their common director. The Fondation Universitaire and the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research would finally have in common the same President, Director, Treasurer as well as the Rectors of the Universities.
Whereas the program had started in 1920 with 24 Graduate Fellows per year, by 1927 the Belgian Fellowships were divided among 17 Graduate Fellows and 7 Advanced Fellows. After the disposition of nearly all Belgian assets of B.A.E.F., the leadership decided to curtail somewhat the fellowship program for 1928 with only 10 Graduate Fellows and 8 Advanced Fellows. This number of 10 Graduate Belgian and 8 Advanced Belgian Fellows and 3 Advanced American Fellows would remain the target for the years to follow. However, the Belgian Fellows selected each year proved to carry an extremely high promise. Among the boat of 1925 were Karel Bossart who would become famous in astronautics and the anthropologist Frans Olbrechts, and among the boat of 1926 were Gaston Eyskens and Jan-Albert Goris. The boat of 1927 carried 7 Advanced Fellows among which the future Nobel Prize of Physiology and Medicine Prof. Corneille Heymans, and the future Professors Pierre Rijlant and Richard Bruynoghe. For the year 1929-30, the 10 young Belgian Graduate Fellows included the later Nobel Prize Albert Claude, two young men who would become Minister: Baron Jean-Charles Snoy et d’Oppuers and Pierre Wigny, as well as the future Professors Zénon Bacq, Leon Elaut and Albert Lacquet. Overlapping in time with these was Marcel Florkin who obtained an extension of his 1928 fellowship.
In 1929 the Belgian American Educational Foundation decided to make an unrestricted gift of $25,000 to the projected Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine at Antwerp, and the implementation was deferred to 1931. This institute was inaugurated on November 4, 1933.
In 1932, the Belgian American Educational Foundation was the principal donor to establish a new Foundation in Belgium, the Francqui Foundation organized on February 27, 1932 in honor of Emile Francqui, the Honorary President of B.A.E.F.. For this specific purpose, the Belgian American Educational Foundation transferred in March 1932 securities valued at $1,000,000 to Fondation Universitaire, or 28% of all the capital then held by the Belgian American Educational Foundation. This was the last Foundation that would be created by the Belgian American Educational Foundation. As it was one of the main objectives of the Francqui Foundation to award a Francqui Prize to a Belgian who had made important contributions to science, it is not surprising that several of the B.A.E.F. Fellows would later become the recipient of this prestigious award.
Finally, in 1938 B.A.E.F. contributed $300,000 to Stanford University as about half the capital needed towards the erection of a building to house the Hoover Library, now known as the Hoover Institution on War Revolution and Peace. Extensive Belgian collections and records of the C.R.B. and of the Comité National are being preserved and displayed at the Hoover Institution.
A special educational initiative was the establishment of a Summer School of Art and Culture in Belgium, primarily for American students and teachers of Art in American colleges and universities, as well as members of the scientific staff of art museums. The University Summer Courses in the history of Flemish and Modern Belgian Art were given in 1937, 1938 and 1939.
In May 1938, the name of C.R.B. Educational Foundation was changed to the present name Belgian American Educational Foundation, Inc. in order to make its title more descriptive of its activities. However, the initials C.R.B. were used for a very long time as the title of the fellowships.
During the first quarter century the Foundation had its first office in the USA at 42, Broadway, New York and in Belgium at 41 Boulevard Bischoffsheim, where it had also a club house. Because the building at Boulevard Bischoffsheim was seriously damaged and rendered unfit for use in June 1931, the offices B.A.E.F. were moved to the building of the Fondation Universitaire at 11, rue d’Egmont – Egmontstraat in 1932, which is still the administrative seat of the Brussels office. The offices of the Foundation in New York were moved to 420, Lexington Avenue in the Graybar Building in January 1935.
During the invasion of Belgium in May 1940, the Brussels office continued its activities and the officers undertook to render emergency help to former Belgian fellows and Professors as well as to those organizations with which the Foundation was closely linked. A new Commission for Relief in Belgium, Inc. was incorporated on May 16, 1940, by means of a direct gift of the Foundation, to render such service as it could in Belgium. The Secretary in Belgium, Mr. Jacques van der Belen returned to the Brussels office on June 3, 1940 from his army service. The Vice-President in Belgium Mr. Tuck left Belgium on July 17, 1940. Communication of the New York office with the Brussels office ceased in December 1941.
The General Commissioner of the Belgian Pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair was former Fellow Dr. Jan-Albert Goris, who would head in New York the Belgian Government Information Center for the Belgian Government in Exile. As a gesture of friendship, the Foundation purchased in June 1940 the Belgian Carillon from the Belgian Pavilion. The carillon of 35 bells was dismantled and given to Stanford University for installation in the Tower of the Hoover Institution on War Revolution and Peace in Palo Alto, California, where it was dedicated on June 20, 1941. During the war, the Foundation supported certain Belgian students who were in the United States or had found their way to the US, including on an exceptional basis some undergraduates. The Foundation’s officers were asked to look after certain funds of Belgian universities and foundations that were deposited in the U.S.. As had been the case for the preceding twenty years the Foundation continued to buy subscriptions to more than 150 scientific and learned periodicals for use in Belgium. However, during the war they were stockpiled in the U.S. and safely delivered after the war. With the end of World War II, the first era of the Foundation came to a close.
Two features characterize this glorious first Quarter Century of the Foundation. Firstly, the Belgian American Educational Foundation was initially the principal financial beneficiary and residual legatee of the wartime Commission for Relief in Belgium, but passed the great majority of its assets to institutions and foundations in Belgium. The capital funds of B.A.E.F. gave birth in a major part to five other endowments, Fondation Universitaire, Hoover Foundation for the Development of the University of Brussels, Hoover Foundation for the Development of the University of Leuven-Louvain, Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, and Francqui Foundation. Secondly, the Belgian American Educational Foundation enacted in each country a vigorous program of fellowships from which an intellectual elite would soon rise. By the start of World War I, nearly a quarter of the members of the teaching or research staffs of the four Belgian Universities had studied or traveled in the U.S.A. with the support of the Foundation. Throughout the first Quarter Century there was no restriction on the subjects of study for either Belgians or Americans. However, the Americans largely concentrated on the study of history, literature and philosophy, whereas the Belgians have been strong in the medical, applied sciences and social sciences, particularly economics. On the financial side, in every year of the period 1920-1945, income of the Foundation exceeded expenses.
The second 25 years of the Belgian American Foundation open on a bleak financial picture. The investments of the Foundation had been nearly entirely in bonds from 1920 until 1933. With many bonds defaulting during the Depression, the Finance Committee of Foundation voted in December 1933 to diversify the portfolio and to include common stocks not to exceed 25% of the holdings of the Foundation. The percentage of common and preferred stocks was further increased to approach about two-thirds of the portfolio by 1940. Nevertheless, the stock market reached its low in 1942, and near the end of World War II the financial means of the Foundation were substantially reduced to about $1,900,000 in 1943, although income still exceeded expenses. From 1946 onward there would be regular overdrafts and all financial reports of this quarter century were in red ink, as expenses continue to exceed income.
After the Liberation of 1944, communication between the New York and Brussels office were reestablished. The President of Fondation Universitaire Félicien Cattier, the Rectors of the four universities and the Director of Fondation Universitaire addressed the following letter to Herbert Hoover, the principal part of which reads as follows:
“It is with unspeakable joy that we grasp this opportunity of addressing you this first message of warm friendship, after the liberation of our Territory for which so many of your Country’s sons have gallantly laid down their lives, with a spirit of self-sacrifice that fills us with admiration and gratitude.
We closely associate to yourself, in the expression of loyalty, all your colleagues of the Belgian American Educational Foundation’s executive committee, and in particular, Messrs. Edgar Rickard and Perrin C. Galpin.
Already has come to our ears, the echo of the care and sympathy you have bestowed upon our Nationals whom events have compelled to seek refuge in your great Country.
Those who remained in Belgium , to uphold and defend against the invader the rights and interests of the Academic Institutions entrusted to them, hasten to express to you their heartfelt gratitude.
The actual war has revived the memory of the incomparable services which the Commission for Relief in Belgium rendered to our country during the 1914-18 period. More than ever do we appreciate and value the bonds which have thus arisen between us, and we eagerly look forward to resume our future collaboration.
In expressing this wish, we not only voice the feeling of our many colleagues closely associated to our activities, but we are also the spokesmen of all Foundation’s Alumni.
With our sincerest wishes for a speedy and crushing Allied victory we address you dear President Hoover, the renewed expression of our deepest attachment”.
signed, Félicien Cattier, President of the Fondation Universitaire,
Leon Graulich, Rector Liege University,
M. Frans van den Dungen, Rector Brussels University,
Mgr. H.Van Waeyenbergh, Rector Louvain University,
R. Goubau, Rector Ghent University,
Jean Willems, Director Fondation Universitaire.
As part of the return to normal life in Belgium, the Foundation invited the Rectors of the four Belgian universities to come to the United States in May and June 1946. They traveled as a group and visited important US universities. For three of the rectors Professor Jacques Cox, Rector of the University of Brussels, Professor Edgard Blancquaert, Rector of the University of Ghent, and Mgr. Honoré Van Waeyenbergh, Rector of the University of Leuven-Louvain , it was their first visit to the United States. The Rector of the University of Liège was Jules Duesberg, former B.A.E.F. Fellow 1931. A photograph of this important Delegation of Rectors is reproduced.
The Foundation lost no time in giving scholars and scientists the opportunity to become acquainted or re-acquainted with members of their profession in the US. A group of individuals traveling independently came as C.R.B. Visiting Scientists, as part of a Belgian Scientific Mission to the United States between 1946 and 1951. Thus, the Foundation endeavored to assist Belgian higher education and scientific research in the aftermath of the war.
Resumption of a full program for Belgian and American Fellows came with the academic year 1946-47. In subsequent years the number of Belgian Fellows was increased and that of the American Fellows proportionately decreased. The Summer Courses in the History of Art were restored in 1949 and continued in 1950. In 1951 this initiative was raised to a more advanced level and renamed the “Brussels Art Seminar” under the general direction of Professor Paul Coremans and Mr. Jacques van der Belen, and the immediate direction of Herman Liebaers, as Assistant Secretary of the Foundation. This was a most propitious change, as these Art Seminars in Brussels and Antwerp between 1951 and 1956 attracted many very qualified participants who would become leaders in the museum and art history education circles of the United States. After Herman Liebaers became Head Librarian of the Royal Library in Brussels in 1956, the Art Seminar was suspended.
Before World War II, a few Americans had paid a visit to the Belgian Congo under the auspices of the Foundation. After 1945 the Foundation was urged to consider sending American Fellows to the Congo as a regular program. Starting in 1948, American Fellowships to the Belgian Congo were included for three to ten months of study in Central Africa. In 1956 a special program of fellowships was announced for Belgian university students resident in Belgian Congo or professionally engaged there, to make study trips to the United States. The program increased its numbers up to the independence of Congo-Zaire in 1960 and lasted until 1962.
As the Fulbright Program was being organized in the post-war period, the B.A.E.F. assisted in that program’s exchange between the United States and Belgium. Thus, Perrin C. Galpin, President of B.A.E.F., served on the Selection Committee in New York recommending American graduate students for study abroad under Fulbright awards. In Belgium, the B.A.E.F. Secretary in Belgium, Mr. Jacques van der Belen acted as the Executive Officer of the Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States, Belgium and Luxemburg for the first year and remained the Educational Advisor and on the Board of the Commission thereafter. Needless to add that the building of Fondation Universitaire at 11, Egmontstreet was the first administrative seat of the Fulbright Commission.
In the face of declining B.A.E.F. resources, the first reverse flow of funds among the sister Foundations of B.A.E.F. occurred in 1956. The Francqui Foundation donated annually $8,000 and later $10,000 to B.A.E.F. in order to permit two Belgian B.A.E.F. Fellows to be brought to the United States, under the designation of Edgar Rickard Fellow and Millard Shaler Fellow. These two men were early officers of B.A.E.F. Moreover, Millard K. Shaler and William Hallam Tuck were the first Representatives of B.A.E.F. in Belgium, before they each became Vice-President in Belgium. Their annual salary check of 1921 for one dollar and signed by Herbert Hoover is reproduced.
The second President of the Foundation, Edgar Rickard (see the series of photographs of B.A.E.F. Presidents), died on January 11, 1951. He was with Hoover in London in the Commission for Relief of Belgium, then B.A.E.F. Vice-President from 1922 to 1933, President from 1933 to 1941, B.A.E.F. Chairman from 1941 to 1951. The Honorary Chairman Herbert Hoover resumed the Chair following the death of Mr. Rickard. It is of interest that the most recent B.A.E.F. President (1977- ) held a “Edgar Rickard Fellowship” while being a B.A.E.F. Fellow in 1964.
The third President of the Foundation Perrin C. Galpin was an original incorporator of the Foundation in 1923. He was its Corporate Secretary (1923-1947), Vice-President (1936-1941), President (1941-1962) and Chairman (1962-1963). The fourth President of the Foundation was E. Clark Stillman, who was Secretary (1947-1963) and President (1962-1963). Both Perrin Galpin and Clark Stillman gave considerably of their time and experience to the many Belgian Fellows who studied in the US during that period.
At the time of the World’s Fair of 1958 in Brussels , the “Chief” and Founder of C.R.B, the first President of B.A.E.F., Herbert Hoover went to Belgium and was received by the Royal Family. As a special representative of President Eisenhower, Mr. Hoover participated in official activities at the American Pavilion on July 4th. The next day July 5, 1958 was proclaimed “Hoover Day” by the Belgian Government. A meeting of reminiscence was held at the main office of the Société Générale de Belgique, where many meetings of the Comité National and of the Commission of Relief in Belgium had been held forty years earlier. The meeting was closed with a memorable speech by Prime Minister Gaston Eyskens, B.A.E.F. Fellow 1926-28. Mr. Eyskens closed his heartfelt tribute as follows:
“We are proud to have here among us again this man who symbolized the greatness, the generosity, the devotion to peace of the American people; a man who has lived history and has made history; a man who has constantly striven for better understanding among all nations of the world; a man who is dear to the hearts of us all.”
It would be the last visit of Herbert Hoover to Belgium. “The Chief” died in 1964.
In response to a request made in September 1962 by Mr. William B. Anderson, President of the Herbert Hoover Birthplace Foundation, Inc. of West Branch, Iowa , the Executive Committee voted to make a contribution of $900,000 to enable the Birthplace Foundation to build an annex or extension of the Presidential Library which had been dedicated on August 10, 1962. This special expenditure of capital was approved by the Executive Committee at a time when the Foundation had already been experiencing regular annual budgetary deficits. Indeed, the financial statements during the second quarter of the Foundation’s history show that functional expenses exceeded income for every single year from 1946 to 1972. The Herbert Hoover Birthplace Foundation gift proved to be controversial with some Members and among Alumni. The resignations of E. Clark Stillman as President and of Perrin C. Galpin as Chairman followed in short order in June and July 1963. On July 9, 1963, Mr. Maurice Pate was elected President. Mr. Clare M. Torrey would become President in March 1964. A lawsuit against the Foundation was filed in May 1964 stating that the gift to the Herbert Hoover Birthplace had been illegal.. The litigation lasted from May 1964 until November 1970. At the end of the dispute the gift of $900,000 remained with the recipient and litigation costs constituted an added expense for the Foundation of $465,000 between 1964 and 1972. Against a background of claims and disclaimers of planned or impending liquidation, amidst extensive press coverage of the controversy, the Fellowship program continued albeit at a tremendous cost to the assets of the Foundation. All parties, the plaintiffs and the many Alumni of the Foundation opposing the gift, the defendants among the Executive Committee and Directors, learned from this calamitous episode. Were it not for a drastic reorganization in a spirit of reconciliation, the Foundation could not have survived. On November 17, 1970 a summary judgment in the matter of the Herbert Hoover Birthplace gift was granted to the defendants, effectively closing the second Quarter Century of the Belgian American Educational Foundation, Inc.