• An open vista frames two white grave stone and a flag in the distance with a white cottage in the foreground.

    Herbert Hoover

    National Historic Site Iowa

Lou Henry Hoover

Herbert Hoover's journey along what he called the "slippery road of public life" was not traveled alone. At his side was his wife, Lou.
 
Black-and-white photograph of a well-dressed man and woman sitting outdoors in wicker lawn chairs.

Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover at Camp Rapidan in Virginia.

Herbert Hoover NHS Collection

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. Her marriage to Herbert Hoover in 1899 began an adventure that took them around the world and to the White House. Their sons, Herbert Jr., born in 1903 and Allan, born in 1907, traveled with them.

Lou shared with her husband the belief in the equality of all people and the desire to help those in need, especially children. She was active in humanitarian causes from food relief to the Girl Scouts. She designed the Hoovers' home in California on the Stanford campus, as well as Camp Rapidan, the presidential retreat at what is now Shenandoah National Park. In the 1930s, she directed the restoration of Herbert's birthplace cottage. After 1940 the Hoovers lived at the Waldorf Towers in New York City. Their partnership of nearly 45 years ended when Lou died on January 7, 1944, of a heart attack. Lou Henry Hoover is buried alongside her husband at his presidential gravesite.

Did You Know?

Yellow coneflowers in the lush green prairie grass.

General Land Office surveyors who first came to Iowa commented that the territory was fit only for waterfowl. Eighty-five percent of Iowa used to be soggy tallgrass prairie. More...