Article Series

Series: Herbert Hoover, West Branch's Native Son

What do you want to be when you grow up? Most of us have been asked this question, and many of us are still looking for the answer— life is a continuous journey, and few of us know just where we may end up. Herbert Hoover could not have know that he would become the 31st President of the United States. He did believe in the "American dream"— that if you work hard, have faith in yourself, and treat others fairly and charitably, then you can accomplish anything.

  • Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

    Chapter 1: Simple Beginnings

    A baby in 1800s clothes sits for a portrait photo.

    Herbert Hoover's long and accomplished life began in 1874 in a two-room cottage in the center of West Branch, Iowa. His ancestors arrived in horse-drawn wagons hoping to find a new life for their families as they settled in this developing, primarily Quaker, midwestern rural community. Read more

  • Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

    Chapter 2: Family & Fellowship

    An extended multigenerational family poses during a picnic in 1878.

    Herbert Hoover's parents and their fellow Quakers played a large role forming his values. During these early childhood years, Herbert saw how the Quaker faith promoted simplicity, integrity, equality, peace, and service to others. The hard work and conscientious deeds of his parents and their neighbors helped build a community (of Quakers and others) that also supported the Hoover family. Read more

  • Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

    Chapter 3: Triumphs & Tragedies

    An eight year old boy poses for a portrait in 1881 with his younger sister and older brother.

    Herbert Hoover grew up in a supportive family and as a member of a close-knit Quaker community. His childhood experiences in West Branch included the deaths of both parents. Young Herbert relied on values like hard work and faith to overcome being an orphan. Read more

  • Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

    Chapter 4: Adversity Leads to Opportunity

    Dignitaries in formal suits listen to an inaugural speech.

    From the ups and downs of his childhood Herbert Hoover grew to be a resilient and self-reliant man. As his personal achievements mounted, he came to believe that uncommon character opened doors of opportunities, and that individuals acting conscientiously and cooperatively could together solve great problems. Read more

  • Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

    Chapter 5: A Memorial & A Legacy

    Mourners look on as American servicemen fold a flag over a coffin.

    Following his presidency, Herbert Hoover's family wanted to create a place where the values he believed in could be shared with all Americans. The park reflects the Hoovers’ and their supporters’ vision of how anyone might achieve the American Dream. Read more