Museum logo

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Title Lou Henry Hoover
Collection First Lady Dolls
Catalog Number 2015.017.034
Description Lou Henry Hoover (1874-1994)
Wife of Herbert Hoover - served as First Lady from 1929-1933.

Lou Henry was 5' 8" tall, blue eyes and light brown hair which was white by the time she became First Lady. Lou Henry was consciously raised by both parents in a manner unconventional for young girls in that era. Along with being socialized to assume traditionally feminine traits, both parents encouraged her love of physical exercise and sports.
She played baseball in the street, basketball, and enjoyed archery, boating, and most winter sports as well. Most of all she enjoyed being with her father in the outdoors, hiking, fishing, and camping.
Lou Henry was 24 years old when she married Herbert Clark Hoover, a geologist, mining engineer and executive. They shared an Iowa origin and the love of geology and fishing. After graduating, Hoover went to Australia as a gold miner for a British mining company. Beginning with that position, Hoover earned increasingly larger salaries, becoming a millionaire.
Lou Henry Hoover was 54 years old when she assumed the role as First lady. Despite her enormous record of activism, public speaking, fundraising and acute degree of professionalism in all that she did, Lou Hoover decided to restrict the degree of public activism. She did this believing that she would be expected to behave publicly in a way that did not defy the feminine traditional decorum associated with her new status.
She initiated a number of innovations that truly helped to modernize the public role of a First Lady and extended it more overtly into the public realm that it had ever previously been.
As First Lady, Lou Hoover continued her belief in the equality of women and men. Vigorous in her belief that education would be the key to long-term and permanent success of women, Lou paid entirely for the higher education of a number of women.
No single event more defined and overshadowed the Hoover Administration than the dramatic drop of the stock market in October of 1929, beginning what would seen be known as the Great Depression.
The unrelenting attacks on her husband for the Depression and his failed re-election in 1932 left Lou Hoover uncharacteristically bitter. Her perspective was insulated by the comfort of her wealth. She failed to recognize or acknowledge how wealth afforded a wider range of choices. Not every woman could afford nurses, cooks or maids to care for children, to clean and prepare meals.
On January 7, 1944, at the age of 69, with no warning and after attending a concert in New York City, Lou Hoover suffered an acute heart attack and died suddenly. It was only after her death that her husband discovered the extent to which she had provided financial help to those hundreds of Americans who had asked for some sort of help during the Great Depression. In many instances, she never cashed the checks she received from those who had eventually repaid her.
Event Bicentennial First Lady Doll Exhibit - Community Project
Creator Park, Phyllis Juhlin
Costume Costumed by Trudy Muller Chupp
Given Given by the Ladies' Golf Association
Source Uintah County Library