An Uncommon Couple

Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover

Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover both came from Iowa, ended up on the West Coast at a young age, and then enrolled at Stanford University.

Herbert Hoover went on to a remarkably successful career as a mining engineer, then roles as a humanitarian, public servant, and eventually president of the United States.

Lou Henry Hoover was a remarkable person in her own right. An activist and independent woman ahead of her time, she brought these characteristics to her role as First Lady.

The couple lived abroad for long stretches and traveled the world. They experienced revolution firsthand, saw the effects of war, and contributed to the search for peace, especially through their humanitarian work. Both Hoovers were strong advocates for education, and both were able to give back to their alma mater: Herbert Hoover through the institution bearing his name, among many other contributions, and Lou Henry Hoover most visibly through the university president’s home designed by and named after her.


First photo: Herbert Hoover, second boy from left, as a student at the Friends Pacific Academy in Oregon, where his uncle was superintendent. American Pictorial Collection, Hoover Institution Archives

Second photo: Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover, 1929. Berton W. Crandall Photographs, Hoover Institution Archives

Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover in his Paris office during the Paris Peace Conference, 1919. From the World War I Pictorial Collection, at theHoover Institution Archives

Herbert Hoover in his Paris office during the Paris Peace Conference, 1919. World War I Pictorial Collection, Hoover Institution Archives

Herbert Hoover in his Paris office during the Paris Peace Conference, 1919. World War I Pictorial Collection, Hoover Institution Archives

Herbert Hoover, 1892. Herbert Hoover Subject Collection, Hoover Institution Archives

Herbert Hoover, 1892. Herbert Hoover Subject Collection, Hoover Institution Archives

Herbert Hoover photographed by Arnold Genthe, 1899. Berton W. Crandall Photographs, Hoover Institution Archives

Herbert Hoover photographed by Arnold Genthe, 1899. Berton W. Crandall Photographs, Hoover Institution Archives

Who was Herbert Hoover?

Born: August 10, 1874, in West Branch, Iowa

Died: October 20, 1964, in New York, New York

Degree: B.A. in Geology from Stanford University, Class of 1895

Professions: Mining Engineer, Businessman, Philanthropist, Statesman

Passions: humanitarian relief; equal opportunities to empower individuals to achieve their own success; a society based on freedom; world peace; the documentation of the past and present to allow for advanced research in the future; and fishing

Herbert Hoover, 1892. Herbert Hoover Subject Collection, Hoover Institution Archives


Did you know that Herbert Hoover. . .

  • was a Quaker
  • saved more lives through famine relief across Europe & Russia than anyone else in history
  • was the 31st President of the United States (1929–1933) during the Great Depression
  • wrote more than 40 books in his lifetime
  • founded the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at his alma mater, Stanford University

Herbert Hoover photographed by Arnold Genthe, 1899. Berton W. Crandall Photographs, Hoover Institution Archives

Lou Henry Hoover

Lou Henry Hoover with artillery during the siege of Tientsin, China, 1900. Susan Louise Dyer Papers, Hoover Institution Archives

Lou Henry Hoover with artillery during the siege of Tientsin, China, 1900. Susan Louise Dyer Papers, Hoover Institution Archives

Who was Lou Henry Hoover?

Born: March 29, 1874, in Waterloo, Iowa

Died: January 7, 1944, in New York, New York

Degree: B.A. in Geology from Stanford University, Class of 1898

Professions: Scholar, Philanthropist, First Lady

Passions: humanitarian relief based on localism; the broadening of women’s roles in society; a commitment to voluntary organizations and volunteerism; the merger of maternal values with social policies; and spending time in the great outdoors

Lou Henry, circa 1894. Lou Henry Hoover Miscellaneous Papers,Hoover Institution Archives


Did you know that Lou Henry Hoover . . .

  • was the first woman at Stanford to graduate with a degree in geology
  • had a gift for languages, studying Mandarin Chinese, Latin, Spanish, German, Italian, and French
  • was a critical leader in the early years of the Girl Scouts of America
  • supported the Belgian lace industry during the First World War by encouraging the sale of lace in the United States
  • was the first First Lady to give public nationwide radio addresses

First Lady Lou Henry Hoover, circa 1928. Berton W. Crandall Photographs, Hoover Institution Archives

Lou Henry, circa 1894. Lou Henry Hoover Miscellaneous Papers,Hoover Institution Archives

Lou Henry, circa 1894. Lou Henry Hoover Miscellaneous Papers,Hoover Institution Archives

Black and white photograph of Lou Henry Hoover circa 1928.

First Lady Lou Henry Hoover, circa 1928. Berton W. Crandall Photographs, Hoover Institution Archives

First Lady Lou Henry Hoover, circa 1928. Berton W. Crandall Photographs, Hoover Institution Archives

Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover with their dog Weegie at Camp Rapidan, August 18, 1932. From the Herbert Hoover Subject Collection, at the Hoover Institution Archives

Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover with their dog Weegie at Camp Rapidan, August 18, 1932. Herbert Hoover Subject Collection, Hoover Institution Archives

Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover with their dog Weegie at Camp Rapidan, August 18, 1932. Herbert Hoover Subject Collection, Hoover Institution Archives


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