Lou Henry Hoover


Lou Henry Hoover





Lou Henry Hoover (March 28, 1874 – January 7, 1944) was the  First Lady, 1929-1933.



On March 28, 1874, Lou Henry was born in Waterloo, Iowa to banker Charles Henry and his wife Florence. The family moved to California 10 years later. Lou was skilled in athletics and possessed an analytical mind and an independent spirit. She was the first woman to graduate from Stanford with a geology degree.  



Marrying her engineer husband in 1899, she traveled widely with him and became a cultivated scholar and linguist. During World War I, Mrs. Hoover helped him in providing relief for Belgian refugees. As First Lady, she oversaw construction of the presidential retreat at Rapidan Camp in Virginia. She was the first First Lady to make regular radio broadcasts to the Nation. She was president of the Girl Scouts of the USA in 1922-1925 and 1935-1937.


By: Stanley Yavneh Klos

  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 8th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.

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 an Episcopalian, 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. The next day they sailed from San Francisco for Shanghai, China where they spent four days in the Astor House Hotel. The newlyweds soon settled into their first home, a large house in Tianjin. Hoover's job required extensive travel throughout remote, primitive and dangerous areas, which they did together. Mrs. Hoover was present with her husband during the Boxer Rebellion. Possessed of a natural ear for languages, she became quite proficient in Chinese. In the White House, at times, the Hoovers would converse in Chinese to foil eavesdroppers. To date, she is the only First Lady to speak an Asian language.

Mrs. Hoover also distinguished herself by becoming the first First Lady to broadcast on a regular basis. While she did not have her own radio program, she was a guest speaker on a number of occasions from 1929 through 1933, often advocating for volunteerism, or discussing the work of the Girl Scouts. Radio critics praised her for having an excellent radio voice and for speaking with confidence.

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.

During World 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. The Lou 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 Abigail Adams in 1801. She played a critical role in designing and overseeing construction of the presidential retreat at Rapidan Camp in Virginia.


Mrs. Hoover died of a heart attack in New York City on January 7, 1944. She predeceased her husband by twenty years, and was originally buried in Palo Alto, California. Following her husband's death in 1964, she was reinterred next to the president at West Branch, Iowa.




Chart Comparing Presidential Powers 
of  America's Four United Republics - Click Here

United Colonies and States First Ladies
1774-1788

United Colonies Continental Congress
President
18th Century Term
Age
09/05/74 – 10/22/74
29
Mary Williams Middleton (1741- 1761) Deceased
Henry Middleton
10/22–26/74
n/a
05/20/ 75 - 05/24/75
30
05/25/75 – 07/01/76
28
United States Continental Congress
President
Term
Age
07/02/76 – 10/29/77
29
Eleanor Ball Laurens (1731- 1770) Deceased
Henry Laurens
11/01/77 – 12/09/78
n/a
Sarah Livingston Jay (1756-1802)
12/ 10/78 – 09/28/78
21
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
09/29/79 – 02/28/81
41
United States in Congress Assembled
President
Term
Age
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
03/01/81 – 07/06/81
42
07/10/81 – 11/04/81
25
Jane Contee Hanson (1726-1812)
11/05/81 - 11/03/82
55
11/03/82 - 11/02/83
46
Sarah Morris Mifflin (1747-1790)
11/03/83 - 11/02/84
36
11/20/84 - 11/19/85
46
11/23/85 – 06/06/86
38
Rebecca Call Gorham (1744-1812)
06/06/86 - 02/01/87
42
02/02/87 - 01/21/88
43
01/22/88 - 01/29/89
36

Constitution of 1787
First Ladies
President
Term
Age
April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797
57
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
52
Martha Wayles Jefferson Deceased
September 6, 1782  (Aged 33)
n/a
March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
40
March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825
48
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829
50
December 22, 1828 (aged 61)
n/a
February 5, 1819 (aged 35)
n/a
March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841
65
April 4, 1841 – September 10, 1842
50
June 26, 1844 – March 4, 1845
23
March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849
41
March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
60
July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853
52
March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857
46
n/a
n/a
March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
42
February 22, 1862 – May 10, 1865
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
54
March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877
43
March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881
45
March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881
48
January 12, 1880 (Aged 43)
n/a
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
21
March 4, 1889 – October 25, 1892
56
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
28
March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901
49
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
40
March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
47
March 4, 1913 – August 6, 1914
52
December 18, 1915 – March 4, 1921
43
March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
60
August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
44
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
54
March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
48
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
60
January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
56
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
31
November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969
50
January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974
56
August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
56
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
49
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
59
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
63
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
45
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
54
January 20, 2009 to date
45





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