Lou <I>Henry</I> Hoover

Lou Henry Hoover

Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa, USA
Death 7 Jan 1944 (aged 69)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial West Branch, Cedar County, Iowa, USA
Memorial ID 2244 · View Source
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Presidential First Lady. She was born Lou Henry in Waterloo, Iowa, the daughter of a banker. The family relocated to California when she was ten. Her father combined outdoor camping with education introducing her to the study of rocks, minerals and mining. They hunted on horseback and she became an expert hunter and rider. These interest would lead her to the future President Herbert Hoover. Lou was the first woman to major in geology and receive a degree at Stanford. She met Herbert in a Geology Laboratory where he was a student majoring in mining. Upon receiving her degree, she was married and the newlyweds left at once for China where Herbert began a career as a mining engineer eventually working in a dozen foreign lands. She along with two small children worked by his side even carrying a gun during the Boxer Rebellion. During World War I her husband administered emergency relief programs for the government and was soon appointed Secretary of Commerce. While in Washington, Lou began a long and active participation in the Girl Scouts which culminated in the presidency of the organization. The family moved into the White House after the election in 1929 and were promptly greeted by the stock market crash leading to the great depression. The Hoover administration was paralyzed and the family was further alienated from the public by their wealth. Thousands of needy families wrote requesting financial support. Lou gave the first radio address ever by a first lady regarding the Depression and ways to cope with the situation. She was in favor of prohibition and ordered a case of whiskey and poured it down the drain as a symbolic gesture. She paid with her own money for restoration projects in the White House and to stage social events. The country suffered worsening economic depression. After being swept out of the White House by a landslide defeat, they retired to Palo, Alto, California while maintaining an apartment in New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel. After attending a concert, she returned to the Waldorf retiring to her bedroom for a brief nap. She suffered an acute heart attack which eventually took her life at the age of 69. The family took her back to Palo, Alto where she was interred. Herbert Hoover died at the age of 90 in the same apartment. However, He was buried at his boyhood home in West Branch, Iowa. His wife was transferred from California and reinterred next to him on a hillside site which he personally selected. West Branch has become the Hoover Library and on the 148 acre site are many restored structures from the area including his tiny birth cottage.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 2244
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Lou Henry Hoover (29 Mar 1874–7 Jan 1944), Find a Grave Memorial no. 2244, citing Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, West Branch, Cedar County, Iowa, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .