September 30, 2000

A photograph shows her standing on one of the defensive walls, dressed in clothes of the period. White, long-sleeved blouse, ground-length dark skirt, a sort of bandanna around her neck and a wide-brimmed hat perched at an angle on her head. She faces the camera, one hand on her hip, the other resting on the wheel of an artillery mount. The gun's barrel points at distant houses. You can't see her face clearly, but her whole posture seems to say, "I can take care of myself, thank you."

You probably don't know of Hoo-Lou and Hoo-Yah. No, they weren't the two pandas given to the Washington Zoo a few years back. To see these two humans you'd have to be in China 100 years ago. In fact, you could often see Hoo-Lou riding her bicycle around the streets of Tientsin. She rode close to the walls. A bit safer when the bullets pinged overhead. Finally, a shot-out tire put a stop to her cycling. But not to Hoo-Lou. Even an artillery shell landing in her front hall didn't faze her terribly. She went right on with her solitaire game. All good experience for a future First Lady.

For Hoo-Lou was her Chinese name. When she was born, back in Waterloo, Iowa, her sportsman father had wanted a boy. So she was first named Lou, Lou Henry. Her father wasn't going to be cheated out of a hunting and fishing partner, so Lou was raised camping along side midwestern streams and traipsing grassy fields. When the family moved to Monterey, Lou found exciting new fields to explore. Given her love of the natural world it didn't seem strange when she decided to major in geology at Stanford University, the first woman to do so. Geology professor J. C. Banner, who had encouraged her to enroll in the program, took her under his wing, and she soon met his senior assistant, a member of the university's first graduating geology class by the name of Bert Hoover. They discovered much they had in common - both born in Iowa, fascinated by geology and loving fishing. They didn't have much time together. Hoover had taken a job with a British mining company and was soon off to Australia. Lou graduated and moved home to Monterey. Then, early in 1899 a cable arrived at the Henry home. The gist of it, was that Bert was heading from Down Under to London, then sailing for North America and the West Coast. There was a ship leaving San Francisco for China on February 11th. If Miss Henry would do Mr. Hoover the honor of becoming Mrs. Hoover, perhaps the day before, she might find life interesting. She did both.

The intended minister died a few weeks before the wedding. A substitute was located and, right on schedule, the Quaker Herbert Hoover and the Episcopal Lou Henry were married by a Catholic priest on the 10th and sailed the next day. The honeymoon was spent studying about their future home, as well as reading reports on the primitive mining methods employed there. Bert would work for the Chinese Department of Mines, while Lou made a home for them. And helped with reports.

We'll rejoin them next week. For Classical 91.5 and 90-point-3, this is David Minor



You may have read last week that the US Government now has a centralized web site. You can get an idea of the scope of the site by going there and typing in "Herbert Hoover". You'll get 3096 hits, many of them linking you to the NARA's Herbert Hoover Presidential Libary site. The first hit will take you to the main index. Click on "Resarch" and you'll find a series of links to such subjects as:

Information for Student Researchers and Teachers, Hoover Library Resources for National History Day 2000, Research Collections, Historical Materials in the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, The Papers of Herbert Hoover, Photos of Herbert and Lou Hoover, and (for tose of you more interested in the Little House than the White House), The Collection of Rose Wilder Lane and Laura Ingalls Wilder

Keep the Firstgov site in mind for other government related browsing.

The Game's Afoot ! !

© 2000 David Minor / Eagles Byte