Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lou Henry Hoover

                    Lou Henry was born on March 29, 1874 in Waterloo, Iowa to Charles Delano Henry (banker) and his wife, Florence Ida Weed.   Lou grew up in Waterloo, Whittier (California), and Monterey (California) and apparently was quite the tom boy.  Lou's "greatest pleasure in her early teens" was to go camping in the hills with her father.  She became a "fine horsewoman;" she hunted "and preserved specimens with the skill of a taxidermist; she developed an enthusiasm for rocks, minerals, and mining."  Lou was a student at San Jose Normal School (later San Jose State University) and enrolled at Stanford University in 1894.  She was the only female majoring in geology.  She met a senior, Herbert Hoover, in her first year at Stanford.

                    Before Hoover graduated the following June, the young couple had an understanding but postponed a wedding "while she continued her education and he pursued his engineering career in Australia."  Hoover "cabled a marriage proposal" when Lou graduated from Stanford in 1898; Lou "promptly accepted by return wire."

                    Both bride and groom were 24 years old when they married at the home of the bride's parents in Monterey, California, on February 10, 1899.  Lou had been raised Episcopalian but became a Quaker; there was not a Quaker Meeting in Monterey so the civil marriage ceremony was performed by Father Ramon Mestres, a Roman Catholic priest.

                    The newlyweds sailed from San Francisco the next day for Shanghai, China, where they stayed at the Astor House Hotel for four days.  They set up housekeeping in a large house in Tianjin, where Hoover had a job that "required extensive travel throughout remote, primitive and dangerous areas.  Lou traveled with her husband and was with him during the Boxer Rebellion.  She had a "natural ear for languages" and quickly became proficient in Chinese.  Their language skills in Chinese became handy during their White House years when they would "converse in Chinese to foil eavesdroppers."  Lou Hoover is "the only First Lady to speak an Asian language.

                    Herbert and Lou eventually had two sons.  Herbert Charles Hoover, Jr. (1903 in London, England -1969 in Pasadena, California) "had traveled around the world twice with his globe-trotting parents" by the time he was two years old.  He graduated from Stanford University in 1925 and worked as an aircraft engineer as well as teaching for a brief period of time (1929-1929) at the Harvard Business School.  "Eventually he turned to geophysical engineering, founded the United Geophysical Company in 1935 and developed new electronic instruments to discover oil.  He mediated the 1953-1954 oil dispute between Britain and Iran "that provided for the latter to nationalize its petroleum."  He served in the Eisenhower Administration (1954-1957) as under-secretary of state for Middle Eastern affairs.

                    Allan Henry Hoover (1907 in London, England - 1993 in Portola Valley, California) graduated in economics from Stanford University in 1929 and earned a master's degree in 1931 from Harvard Business School.  He was in the banking industry as well as operated a ranch in California.  He eventually became a mining engineer.  He was a private man who shunned publicity throughout his career.

                    Lou Hoover "became a cultivated scholar and linguist" and a great assistant to her husband while he provided relief for Belgian refugees during World War I.  King Albert I of Belgium recognized her work in 1919.  While her husband was involved in the Administrations of President Harding and President Coolidge, Mrs. Hoover served as the national president of the Girl Scouts of the USA (1922-1925 and 1935-1937).  She was honored by having Camp Lou Henry Hoover in Middleville, New Jersey, named for her; the camp is run by the Heart of New Jersey Council of the Girl Scouts.

                    The official residence for the President of Stanford University is the Lou Henry and Herbert Hoover House in Palo Alto's foothills.  This house is near the campus's Hoover Tower, home of the Hoover Institution and is designated as a National Historic Landmark.  Mrs. Hoover also had two elementary schools named after her:  Lou Henry Hoover Elementary School in Whittier (1938) and Lou Henry Elementary School in Waterloo in 2005.  At San Jose State University one of brick dorms known as "The Classics" was named "Hoover Hall" in honor of Mrs. Hoover.  Lou funded the construction of the Lou Henry Hoover Girl Scout House, the first Girl Scout house in Palo Alto, California; this house is the "oldest Girl Scout House in continuous use in the country."

                    While she was First Lady, Mrs. Hoover oversaw the building of the presidential retreat at Rapidan Camp in Virginia.  She distinguished herself by being the first First Lady to have regular broadcasts as a guest speaker on a number of occasions from 1929 through 1933.  She advocated for volunteerism or discussed the work of the Girl Scouts.  "Radio critics praised her for having an excellent radio voice and for speaking with confidence."  She also discontinued the New Year's Day reception, an annual event started by Abigail Adams.

                    Mrs. Hoover died of a heart attack on January 7, 1944, in New York City, twenty years previous to Herbert's death in 1964.  Lou was originally buried in Palo Alto, California, but was reburied next to the President at West Branch, Iowa, in 1964.

No comments:

Post a Comment