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Friday, 24 July 2015

Herbert Hoover


Herbert Hoover was born on August 10, 1874, in West Branch, Iowa. His father, Jesse Hoover, was a blacksmith and farm implement store owner, of German  and Swiss ancestry. Hoover's mother, Hulda Randall Minthorn (1849–1884), was of English and Irish ancestry. Both of his parents were Quakers.

Herbert Hoover birthplace cottage, West Branch, Iowa. By Billwhittaker at English Wikipedia, 

At about age two "Bertie", as he was then called, contracted the croup. Little Bertie was so ill that he was momentarily thought to have died, until he was resuscitated by his uncle, John Minthorn

As a child,  young Bertie was often called by his father "my little stick in the mud", since he repeatedly was trapped in the mud while crossing an unpaved street.

1877 Herbert Hoover Tintype

Bertie's father died in 1880. After working to retire her husband's debts, retain their life insurance, and care for the children, his mother died in 1884, leaving Hoover (aged nine), his older brother, and his younger sister as orphans Fellow Quaker Lawrie Tatum was appointed as Hoover's guardian.


Hoover entered Stanford University in 1891, its inaugural year. While at the university, Hoover was the student manager of both the baseball and football teams and was a part of the inaugural Big Game versus rival the University of California (Stanford won).

He earned his way through four years of college working at various jobs on and off campus, including the Arkansas and United States Geological Survey.

Hoover graduated in 1895 with a degree in geology.


Hoover went to Western Australia in 1897 as an employee of Bewick, Moreing & Co., a London-based gold mining company. He worked at gold mines in Big Bell, Cue, Leonora, Menzies, and Coolgardie.

Herbert Hoover, aged 23; taken in Perth, Western Australia, in 1898

Later, Hoover worked as chief engineer for the Chinese Bureau of Mines, and as general manager for the Chinese Engineering and Mining Corporation.

In 1908, Hoover became an independent mining consultant, traveling worldwide until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. He left Bewick, Moreing & Co and, setting out on his own, eventually ended up with investments on every continent and offices in San Francisco, London, New York City, St. Petersburg, Paris and Mandalay, Burma.

By 1914, Hoover was a wealthy man, with an estimated personal fortune of $4 million.


Herbert Hoover met Lou Henry at Stanford University and they started courting. When Hoover graduated from Stanford in June 1895, they decided to delay wedding plans while she continued her education and he pursued his engineering career in Australia. In 1898, the year Lou graduated from Stanford, Hoover cabled a marriage proposal, which she promptly accepted by return wire.

First Lady of the United States

Both Herbert and Lou were 24 years old when they married on February 10, 1899, at the home of the bride's parents in Monterey, California.

Although raised an Episcopalian, Miss Henry decided to become a Quaker. But because there was no Quaker Meeting in Monterey, they were married in a civil ceremony performed by Father Ramon Mestres, a Roman Catholic priest of the Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo.

The day after their marriage, the Hoovers sailed from San Francisco for Shanghai, China, where they spent four days in the Astor House Hotel. The newlyweds soon settled into their first home, a large house in Tianjin. Hoover's job required extensive travel throughout remote and dangerous areas, which they did together.

 President Herbert Hoover and his wife Lou Henry standing at the back of a train in Belvidere, Illinois.

They had two sons together Herbert and Allan. Lou died of a heart attack in New York City on January 7, 1944. She predeceased her husband by 20 years,


After the United States entered World War I in April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Hoover to head the U.S. Food Administration.

Herbert Hoover established one meatless, two wheat-less and two pork-less days each week. This program helped reduce consumption of foodstuffs needed overseas and avoided rationing at home.

As a United States Commerce Secretary in the 1920s under Presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, Hoover promoted economic modernization.

The first long distance public television broadcast in America on April 7, 1927 from Washington, D.C., to New York City, displayed the image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover.

In the presidential election of 1928, Hoover easily won the Republican nomination. The nation was prosperous and optimistic, leading to a landslide for Hoover over the Democrat Al Smith.

Herbert Hoover was the first US president born west of the Mississippi.

President Hoover and his wife would talk in Mandarin Chinese to prevent White House staff from eavesdropping.

The custom of taking a "stretch" after the seventh inning during a baseball game started when Herbert Hoover, who was attending a game had to leave before it was finished. It so happened that his departure coincided with the end of the seventh inning. Seeing their president leave, all spectators got up to pay him respect. Thus the "stretch" originated, which has been observed at that very juncture of every game ever since.

A few months after Hoover was elected president, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began.

53 years after the invention of the phone, a line was finally installed in the White House for Herbert Hoover in 1929.

Due to his failure to fix the Great Depression, Hoover lost the 1932 election to Franklin Roosevelt.

Herbert Hoover, turned over all the Federal salary checks he received to charity during the 47 years he was in government.


Herbert Hoover had a Belgian shepherd dog called King Tut.

Hoover liked to drive his car, accompanied by his wife or a friend. He would go on wandering journeys, visiting Western mining camps or small towns where he often went unrecognized, or heading up to the mountains, or deep into the woods, to go fishing in relative solitude.

Herbert Hoover weighed 200 pounds when he entered the White House in 1929. His physician Joel Boone invented a game called Hooverball in which two teams of three players throw a 6-pound medicine ball back and forth over an 8-foot net on a tennis-like court. Hoover lost 21 pounds in his term.

He wrote extensively after his presidency, including The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson, the first biography of one president written by another,

A year before his death, his own fishing days behind him, Hoover published Fishing For Fun—And To Wash Your Soul, the last of more than sixteen books in his lifetime.


Herbert Hoover died following massive internal bleeding at the age of 90 in his New York City suite at 11:35 a.m. on October 20, 1964.  At the time, no former president had lived as long.

Source Wikipedia

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