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Lou Hoover

Lou HooverAKA Louise Henry

Born: 29-Mar-1874
Birthplace: Waterloo, IA
Died: 7-Jan-1944
Location of death: New York, NY
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, West Branch, IA

Gender: Female
Religion: Quaker
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: First Lady, Geologist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Wife of US President Herbert Hoover

Louise Henry was virtually always called "Lou". She was raised in what was, for her time, a "boyish" manner, with many camping, hiking, and hunting weekends and expeditions. She grew up before the Girl Scouts were founded, but said she had been a Girl Scout all by herself, and in adulthood she served as that organization's National President. Fascinated by rocks, she was one of the first American women to earn a college degree in geology. It was her geology professor at Stanford who introduced her to the man who would be her husband, and America's President, Herbert Hoover.

Working as geologists, the Hoovers lived in China during the Boxer Revolution, where Lou learned to speak a fairly fluent Chinese before their home was ransacked by Cossacks. They lived in London for a dozen years, where their two children were born, and where Herbert and Lou Hoover collaborated on the first English translation of De Re Metallic, Georg Agricola's classic 16th century text on mining, originally written in Latin. Their translation was dedicated to John Branner, the Stanford geologist who had introduced them, and their work on the book won them a Gold Medal from the Mining & Metallurgical Society of America.

As First Lady, Lou Hoover invited all Congressmen's wives to visit the White House, including, in a move perceived as controversial, Jessie DePriest -- the black wife of the nation's one black Congressman, Oscar DePriest. In a time when the Ku Klux Klan held genuine political power, this was called "an arrogant insult to the nation." She hated reporters, and rarely spoke with them, claiming that they distorted the truth. She was known for serving lavish, seven-course dinners at White House functions, which impressed her guests but backfired as public relations, since the nation was, after all, in the midst of the Depression. Shortly after the stock market crash, the Hoovers picked out some real estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains and built a weekend getaway, which only furthered the perception that the President and his wife were "out of touch".

After her husband lost his re-election bid, the Hoovers retired to California, but kept a spare apartment at New York's Waldorf Hotel. It was there that she died of a heart attack, in 1944. Their California mansion in Palo Alto, designed by Lou Henry herself, is now the official residence of the President of Stanford University.

Father: Charles Delano Henry (banker, b. 20-Jul-1845, d. 21-Jul-1928 stroke)
Mother: Florence Ida Weed Henry (b. 1849, d. 1921)
Sister: Jean Henry Large (children's author, b. 30-Jun-1882)
Husband: Herbert Hoover (US President, b. 10-Aug-1874, m. 10-Feb-1899, d. 20-Oct-1964)
Son: Herbert Clark Hoover Jr (geologist, b. 8-Aug-1903, d. 9-Apr-1969 cancer)
Son: Allan Henry Hoover (ranch owner, b. 17-Jul-1907, d. 8-Nov-1993)

    High School: Los Angeles State Normal School, Los Angeles (1892)
    University: San Jose State University (1894)
    University: BA Geology, Stanford University (1898)

    Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. National President (1920-28)
    League of Women Voters
    English Ancestry

Author of books:
De Re Metallica (1912, translated from Latin by Herbert and Lou Hoover)

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