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Which former US president during his college years, hired a foreign performer to perform in his college so that he could raise money for his fee. But when he failed, the performer obliged him by not charging him anything and gave whatever was gathered to the boy to pay his fee. Later, the performer became the PM of a country and the boy, the president of the US. Drought hit that country and the US president sent lots of aid to that country.


I think the answer you want is Herbert Hoover.  The story has been retold and embellished many times, so some of the exact facts are unclear.  Here is the story as best I understand it:

In 1892 Standford University student Herbert Hoover and several friends contracted to hire Ignacy Jan Paderewski, a famous Polish pianist who was touring California. The students hoped to sell enough tickets to cover the amount they promised Paderewski (which was already far less than he normally charged for a concert) and make enough more to cover their tuition costs for the next semester.

Unfortunately, the students mistakenly scheduled the concert during Standford's spring break.  They sold far fewer tickets than they had hoped.  They told Paderewski what had happened and offered to pay him what they had raised and send him the remainder at a later time when they could raise it.  Instead, Paderewski took only a nominal fee and let the student keep some as well.  Over versions say he waived his fee entirely.

During  WWI, President Wilson appointed Hoover to run the US Relief Administration, later called the American Relief Administration.  The ARA was created to help with the poverty and suffering during the war and in post war Europe.  Hoover personally toured Europe after the war to determine how to spend the aid money best.

In August 1919 during his visit to Poland, Hoover was greeted by Twenty-five thousand children in Warsaw who had walked barefoot to pay him homage.  He immediately telegraphed for help and 700,000 overcoats and 700,000 pairs of shoes were shipped to Poland before the onset of winter. Another half million coats and shoes were delivered in the following two years. The Russian invasion of 1920, which led to the occupation of half of Poland and the requisition of food and livestock by the invading armies, pushed Poland back to where it had been a year earlier. ARA work was extended in Poland and by 1922 half a billion meals were provided for her hungry and starving people.

Paderewski was Prime Minister of Poland in 1919 at the time of Hoover's visit.  Many stories say that Hoover and Paderewski met at this time and that Hoover reminded him of his earlier kindness.  Unfortunately, I cannot find any good source that indicates such stories are true.  

I hope this helps!
- Mike

U.S. History

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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