World War I
The Death of a King
One of the most requested Hoover photographs shows President Hoover with King Tut, the family German shepherd. The Hoovers were great dog lovers and as parents of two boys, frequently received pleas for yet one more pet. There is no complete listing of all the family pets over the years, but many creatures seemed to have been treated as cherished family members. King Tut, however, was a particular favorite of Mr. Hoover. There are home movies showing President Hoover feeding King Tut from the White House dinner table, something all dog trainers would frown upon today. Because of the American fascination with Presidential pets, images of President Hoover with King Tut were popular.
As King Tut grew older and less interested in the attentions of White House visitors, the Hoovers decided to send him to a familiar but quieter location. Several newspapers reported that King Tut was sent to Camp Rapidan, where he later died. These news sources have been cited in published biographies of Hoover, continuing the misinformation. In fact, the Hoovers asked their good friend, United States Senator Frederic Collin Walcott from Connecticut if he and his wife Mary would take care of King Tut. Walcott had served under Hoover in the United States Food Administration during World War I. When Walcott was elected to the United States Senate in 1928, he rented the S Street residence of Herbert and Lou Hoover since they would be living in the White House. King Tut, having lived in the house for almost a decade, was very familiar with the residence and the surrounding grounds. It was here that the dog died, not Camp Rapidan. Senator Walcott wrote a very touching letter of October 14, 1929, describing King Tut’s final days:
“My dear Mr. President and Mrs. Hoover,