From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Louise Henry "Lou" Hoover (March
29, 1874 – January 7, 1944) was the wife of Herbert
Hoover and First
Lady of the United States.
Born in Waterloo,
Iowa, the daughter of Charles Delano Henry, a banker, and Florence Ida
Weed, "Lou" grew up something of a tomboy in Waterloo, and in Whittier,
California and Monterey,
California. Charles Henry took his daughter on camping trips in the
hills—her greatest pleasures in her early teens. Lou became a fine horsewoman;
she hunted, and preserved specimens with the skill of a taxidermist; she
developed an enthusiasm for rocks, minerals, and mining. She attended San
Jose Normal School and in 1894
enrolled at Stanford
Universityas the school's only female geology major.
That year she met Herbert Hoover, then a senior.
By the time he graduated the following June, they had reached an understanding
but put off wedding plans while she continued her education and he pursued his
engineering career in Australia.
From there in 1898, the year she graduated from Stanford, Hoover cabled a
marriage proposal, which she promptly accepted by return wire. Although raised
Miss Henry decided to become a Quaker.
But because there was no Quaker meeting in Monterey, they were married in a
civil ceremony performed by Father Ramon Mestres, a Roman Catholic priest of
the San Carlos Borromeo Mission.
Both Hoover and Lou Henry were aged 24 when they married on February 10, 1899,
at the home of the bride's parents in Monterey, California. Soon after the
wedding they sailed for Tientsin,
China, and Hoover's new job. She was present with her husband during the Boxer
Rebellion. Possessed of a natural ear for languages, Mrs. Hoover became
quite proficient in Chinese. In the White House, the Hoovers at times
conversed in Chinese to foil eavesdroppers.
The Hoovers had two sons:
- Herbert Charles Hoover (1903-1969)
- engineer, diplomat. Born in London, he by age two had been around the
world twice with his globe-trotting parents. He graduated from Stanford
University in 1925 and began
working as an aircraft engineer. He taught briefly, 1928-1929, at the Harvard
Business School. Eventually he turned to geophysical engineering,
founded the United Geophysical Company in 1935 and developing new electronic
instruments to discover oil. During 1953-1954 he mediated the oil dispute
between Britain and Iran that
provided for the latter to nationalize its petroleum. He was appointed
under-secretary of state for Middle Eastern affairs 1954-1957 by President
Eisenhower. He died in Pasadena, CA.
- Allan Henry Hoover (1907-1993)
- mining engineer. Born in London, he graduated in economics from Stanford
University in 1929 and earned
a master's degree from the Harvard
Business School in 1931. He
went into banking and operated a ranch in California for a time, but
eventually he, too, became a mining engineer. A private man, he shunned
publicity throughout his career. He died in Greenwich,
Mrs. Hoover was also well versed in Latin;
she collaborated with her husband in translating Agricola's De
Re Metallica, a 16th century encyclopedia of mining and metallurgy.
The Hoover translation was published in 1912, and is still in print as the
standard English translation.
War I, she assisted her husband in providing relief for Belgian refugees.
For her work she was decorated in 1919 by King Albert
I of Belgium. While Hoover served in the cabinet of Presidents Harding and
Coolidge, she was active as national president of the Girl
Scouts of the USA. Camp Lou Henry Hoover in Middleville, New Jersey, is
named for her and run by the Heart of New Jersey Council of the Girl Scouts.
Henry and Herbert Hoover House in
Palo Alto's foothills is now the official residence of the President of
Stanford University. It is located near the campus's Hoover
Tower, home of the Hoover
Institution, and is designated a National
Historic Landmark. Lou
Henry Hoover Elementary School in
Whittier was built in 1938 and was named in her honor. In 2005, Lou Henry
Elementary School was opened in her honor in Waterloo.
One of the brick dorms known now as "The Classics" at San Jose State
University is named "Hoover Hall" in her honor. She funded the construction of
the first Girl Scout house in Palo Alto, California. It is called Lou Henry
Hoover Girl Scout House. It
is the oldest Girl Scout House in continuous use in the country.
As First Lady, she discontinued the New Year's Day reception, the annual open
house observance begun by Mrs. John
Adams in 1801.
Mrs. Hoover died of a heart attack in New York City on January 7, 1944. She
was buried in Palo
Alto, California, and later reinterred at West
Branch, Iowa, next to the president, following his death in 1964.