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Years of Adventure!

by on April 12, 2010

Herbert Hoover’s extraordinary life began simply in 1874 as the second son born to a Quaker family in West Branch, Iowa. The Hoover family lived in a small cottage by the Wapsinonoc Creek when Bert was born on August 10th — or was it August 11th? No one will ever know for sure because everyone present at this birth was so busy that no one looked at the clock. Was he born right before midnight on August 10th or a few minutes after midnight on the 11th? We’ll never know, but when Bert got a little older his father allowed him to choose his birth date, and he chose August 10th.

Do you agree with Bert’s choice?

Which date would you have chosen?

Bert Hoover was one year old when this photo was taken.

Bert Hoover was one year old when this photo was taken.

Herbert Hoover had a younger sister named Mary who was called May. He had an older brother named Theodore who was called Tad. Herbert’s nickname was Bert. They did all the things children do growing up in a small town in rural Iowa in the late 1800s. They hiked, explored, swam in the local swimming hole, and collected fossils & agates. They hunted for rabbit and prairie chickens with a homemade bow and arrow. In the wintertime they slid down Cook’s Hill on homemade sleds.

May, Bert and Tad Hoover

May, Bert, and Tad Hoover

What’s your nickname?

Who gave it to you?

Click here to learn more about Hoover’s boyhood.


John, Hoover Library Docent April 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Here’s a question that came up while giving a tour to St. Joseph’s School –“What happened to Mary (May) Hoover?”

Mary Evans April 22, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Mary (May) Hoover lived with her Grandmother Minthorn in Kingsley, Iowa after the death of her mother. During the autumn of 1888 Herbert Hoover’s sister May and Grandmother Minthorn moved to Salem from Kingsley, Iowa and lived in a little cottage next to Dr. Minthorn’s home in Salem, Oregon. There is more to May’s story but I’ll save that for another time.

Jan, Docent at Hoover Library April 23, 2010 at 5:37 pm

“I didn’t know much about Hoover until today. I am amazed and will be back.” “This place is great!”

Kathy April 27, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I was with a group of 3rd grade students from WACO this morning. In the first Hoover gallery, I asked what they had learned about this part of Hoover’s life on their tour of the historic site. I was impressed by how many things they shared with me! They had not yet heard the Hoover children nicknames and several students thought they were very funny.

Kennedy, Frances Marion Intermediate May 7, 2010 at 3:09 pm

To the Staff of the Hoover Museum,
My favorite thing was the house. I can’t believe how small it was. If I had to live there I would die of being bored. I love the backyard. I also liked the view to the grave site and the summer kitchen was cool, too.

Another thing I liked was the school. I was amazed that all the kids fit in there. They must not have had many kids there. Also it is cool that they had a lesson plan and you would sit in the front of the desks if you had it memorized.

Finally, I would like to say I had a great time and it was fun.

Thank you. I hope to come back with my family.

Samantha, Frances Marion Intermediate May 7, 2010 at 3:19 pm

My favorite part was seeing Hoover’s house. It was cool because you could see Hoover’s and Lou’s graves and also the kitchen was split with the living room. The bedroom was small but cool. The toys were a lot smaller than mine and they were put into a miniature crib. I thought that wired but it was cute.

Another thing I liked was the Church. It was cool because the girls and the boys were separated into two rooms. The windows in between the rooms are closed. I thought that was a good idea to be separated, I liked the crib room but it was small.
Finally — Thank you!!:)
From: Samantha

Students from Twin Cedar Elementary May 17, 2010 at 9:21 am

Thank you for taking us on the tour. Dayran, Joshua, Macy

I like the flour sacks that the women embroidered. Josh

I liked seeing the meeting house, Dayran. I like the hotel room Herbert Hoover stayed in, Joshua. I like the Blacksmith office, Macy.

Thank you very much. From: Macy, Dayran, Joshua, AND Josh

Nathan, Kenwood Elementary May 17, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Thank You Hoover Museum!
I had a wonderful time there.
I am happy that we got to see Herbert Hoover’s birthplace. It was interesting. How could 5 people live in a 2 room house?! I thought that Mrs. Lou Henry Hoover collecting weapons was Crazy! I mean, how could you live with dangerous weapons in your house?!
Thank you for letting us come for free. I enjoyed the trip!

Emily, Kenwood Elementary May 18, 2010 at 9:30 am

Dear Herbert Hoover Presidential Library,

Thank you for inviting me to your wonderful museum. I really liked the little cottage that Herbert Hoover lived in. I wish I could come again.

I learned Herbert Hoover lived in a two room cottage with his one sister and his one brother plus him and his mom and dad. Another thing I learned was his dad was a black smith, his mom loved gardening, and his dad died three years before his mom. (sad!)

I had a great time coming.



Bill Pontarelli, Docent May 27, 2010 at 2:58 pm

To Denmark Elem. I found the following for you; letter Q-Qing Dynasty the clan the emperor of China belonged to while Mr. Hoover lived in Tiensin. Quaker- Mr Hoover’s childhood Christian group. The letter Y-Yugoslavia, a country, now fragmented that Mr. Hoover directed famine relief and reconstruction. The letter Z- New Zealand, an island country just east of Australia where Mr. Hoover maintained mining interest. Thanks for your participation on the tour. I had a great time. Your teacher and parents should be proud. Sincerely, Bill, docent

Bill Pontarelli, Docent June 17, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Follow up to a question from U of IA Summer Workshop Group B on 6/11. The process of creating a poster with the image on glass is managed by creating a silk screen of the photo then applying the screen to the glass. The photo would be enlarged to the actual size needed probably creating a negative. If done currently the photo would be scanned. The digitized image would then be printed out on a self-adhesive stencil. The sticky back of the stencil (transparency) would be applied to the glass. This takes specialized techniques and equipment. Next time HHPL needs such an item, it will probably be “outsourced”. Thanks Again Bill Pontarelli, docent

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