Herbert Hoover was known as the Great Humanitarian and the Great Engineer. Yet, he was blamed almost entirely for the Great Depression. Herbert Hoover accomplished much in his life, but it was definitely not an easy journey; he went through the ups and downs of the learning years that paved the path leading to his presidency, and he ultimately faced his fears.
Herbert Hoover was born in the rural town of West Branch, Iowa on August 10, 1874, to Jesse and Hulda Hoover. Herbert was born in one of the three rooms in the Hoover’s home. Jesse compared Herbert to Ulysses S. Grant; he was very hopeful for his son’s future. Jesse Hoover was the owner of a blacksmith shop in their small, rural town. Herbert, called Bert, had two siblings, an older brother, Theodore, and a younger sister, May.
A few years after the birth of Herbert, Jesse began his second business selling farm equipment. Sadly, it was only three years later that Jesse passed away from a bout of typhoid fever. To help provide for her young family, Hulda Hoover became a seamstress and used their tiny home for boarders. (Chang, 14-16)
Herbert and his two siblings became orphans after their mother’s death from pneumonia. Herbert was only eight years old. The Hoover children were separated and had to live with relatives all over the country. Herbert was sent to live on a farm with his
uncle’s family. (Chang 17-18)
Two years later, he moved to Oregon to live with another uncle and his family, the Minthorn’s. Herbert’s uncle was a doctor in the small town of Newberg; Herbert learned much from him. During this time Herbert attended the Quaker school his uncle had founded, Friends’ Pacific Academy. The Minthorns and Herbert Hoover moved to Salem, Oregon five years later. Instead of attending high school, Herbert chose to take a position at a land settlement company in which he made advertisements and worked on the company’s accounts.
After two years at the land settlement company, Hoover started taking night courses at a business school. Hoover learned from a Quaker math teacher about Stanford University, and he had a great desire to attend there. Herbert failed his first entrance exam, but Stanford allowed him another opportunity to take the exam. He was the tender age of seventeen when he began his engineering studies at Stanford. Stanford was not an inexpensive school; Herbert worked several entry-level jobs to afford to attend. (Chang, 18-20) Hoover was very involved in the university’s student government. He was also the treasurer of his junior class. (Fausold, 5) During his time at the university, Herbert the met lovely Louise Henry, often called Lou. Herbert later described her as, “A symbol of everything wholesome in American life.” (Chang, 41) Lou was the first woman to major in geology at Stanford. (Chang, 20)
After graduating with an A.B. degree, Herbert took a job with the mining engineer, Louis Janin; Herbert was asked to work on projects in...