A 1925 portrait photo depicts a 51 year old woman in a girl scouts uniform.
Lou Hoover as national president of the Girl Scouts, 1925

National Archives & Records Administration

Quick Facts

Significance:
First Lady of the United States, Wife of President Herbert Hoover
Place of Birth:
Waterloo, Iowa
Date of Birth:
March 28, 1874
Place of Death:
New York, New York
Date of Death:
January 7, 1944
Place of Burial:
West Branch, Iowa
Cemetery Name:
Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

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.

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.