tv The Presidency Lou Hoovers 1921 Cross Country Road Trip CSPAN October 25, 2020 1:40pm-2:01pm EDT
hear from archivist craig wright about a road trip that first lady lou hoover took with her newly widowed father, traveling from california to washington, d.c. long before there was an interstate highway system. her father documented the september 12 to october 16th trip down to how much they spent on gas. his four page summary is in the collection of the herbert hoover presidential library museum. it is quoted during this talk. the hoover presidential foundation provided this video. jerry: welcome to our third thursday program series. i am the president and ceo of the hoover presidential foundation. we are glad you are here with us today. our partners for the third thursday program are the hoover presidential library museum, hoover historic site, west branch public library and the hoover presidential foundation. today's speaker is craig wright. craig is the supervising archivist at the hoover presidential library museum.
craig's talk will be "travels with dad, lou's 1921 cross-country trip." craig: thank you for that wonderful introduction. thank you to everyone for tuning in and checking out this video. i am here to talk about lou henry hoover, one of my favorite ladies from history. i started learning about her 16 years ago when i began working at the hoover presidential library. quite a woman before her time. lou henry was born in waterloo, iowa march 29, 1874. she was very close to her father, who was a bookkeeper at the first national bank. for most of her young life, she was hoping she could go into banking as well. they were extremely close until he passed away in 1928. she had a younger sister who was
born on june 30, 1882. her mother, florence, developed chronic bronchitis, which caused the family to move around, looking for an environment that was more conducive to her mother's health. first, they moved to shuttle rock, iowa. that did not work out and they moved back to waterloo. they tried texas. when that did not work out, they moved back to waterloo. they moved out to clearwater, kansas. when that one did not work out, instead of returning to waterloo, they kept going west until they hit whittier, california. her parents moved later to los angeles, where lou began her first academic college career at los angeles normal university, which is today ucla.
her sophomore year, her parents moved to monterey. after her sophomore year, she transferred to san jose normal college, which is today, san jose state university. after graduation, lou tried her love and started working in a bank and realized quickly that women in those days were not going to be allowed to progress or get a very significant job at banks. so she did teach for a little bit. she wanted to look for something that she enjoyed even more. in 1894, she heard a lecture from john brenner on geology. just like her husband, herbert hoover had heard a lecture from the same professor and decided
to go to stanford university. lou decided to get a second degree, and was the first woman to enter stanford in the geology department. the two met at stanford, and found they were both from iowa and both loved to be outdoors as much as possible and hit it off and became boyfriend and girlfriend. after lou graduated, he asked her to marry him. they got married at her parent'' house in monterey. an anecdote from a letter her mother wrote about this young lad marrying her daughter. "we have made up our minds not to like him very well, but after he had been here a few days, i think we all liked him just about as much as lou did." they were married on february 10, 1899.
the ceremony started at noon and was only attended by her sister and parents and herbert's brother, theodore. at 2:00, they had to take the train to san francisco where they spent their wedding night and the next morning literally got on a slow boat to china. when her mother mentioned he was taking their daughter so far away, their honeymoon was going to be in china. they had their first son, herbert jr., in 1903, which did not stop her world travels. actually, they traveled from london where they were based at the time to australia, and spent some time there. their first christmas for their firstborn son was in new zealand. lou has a wonderful photograph of her son.
they had no christmas trees, so they stole the plant from the hotel and put it in a room and decorated it for his first christmas. one of the most really interesting stories i found about lou was a very interesting trip she took across country in 1921 from california to washington, d.c. what had happened was her mother had become very ill. lou got on the train to go from washington, d.c. to california to go be with her mother when she was so ill. unfortunately, her mother passed away before lou arrived in california. as i mentioned, she was very close to her father and was struggling how to help him in this time of grieving after his wife had passed away.
she concocted a story about going across country. i quote from one of the letters lou wrote to one of her friends. "he needs change very much, and yet it is of course no humor to get benefit from a train journey and none whatever from a conventional visit. we wanted a california cadillac in washington and i always wanted to drive across. so i told him i was going to do that now. of course, he is coming along so i will not have to be alone. also, a wonderful filipino boy devoted to him who can drive a car, cook or do any other chores. we will likely not reach washington until the middle of october, perhaps much later as the weather favors us and we are led by whims of sightseeing delay." this trip went from september 12
to october 16. it was lou, her father, a nephew, and matthias is the filipino servant she mentioned. the trip ended up 3,945 miles. they consumed 367 gallons of gas, 17 quarts of oil, spent $96.71 on auto repairs and had five punctured tires, one accident, one engine failure, and two repair stops. one of the wonderful things in the archives is a four page summary of this journey her father wrote, noting each day how far they traveled, how much gas they purchased, and perhaps a thought or two about what they came across that day. there is a number of really interesting entries.
here is one from wednesday the 14th of september. "leave camp at 9:00 a.m., truckee at 3:30 p.m., eight gallons of gas for $2.40. two quarts of oil for $.70. camped at 6:30 p.m., five miles from reno. 78 mile drive for the day. the former principal agricultural college, now chairman of the chamber of commerce, was willing to give wrote advice, which we would not have gotten through the canyon without his assistance." road conditions during this trip could be quite a challenge. there were no highways. that system did not get started until the eisenhower administration. some areas had no roads whatsoever. it could be a challenge finding the nearest bridge to cross rivers. as they mentioned on the 18th here for example, "we left camp at 7:30 a.m., arrived at the
hotel at 4:00 p.m. at first, they had a good gravel road. they got 78 miles for the day. then they hit a stretch that was said to be the worst stretch of road between oceans, battle mountain to elco. a total of 10 gallons of gas and one quart of oil were used that day." in addition to the road conditions, repairing the car and having equipment for repairs could be quite a challenge. they mentioned on the 16th, "a cold morning. left camp at 7:45 a.m. got eight gallons of gas and one quart of oil at 8:45 a.m." they camped at 6:30 p.m. on the desert after 102 miles of travel
on a lake. mr. goodwin gave information regarding roads in the area and that is where they found fixing wire to repair some trouble they had had with their car. they seemed to have a stretch of bad luck right when they hit october. on october 1, they left henderson at 8:20 a.m. 20 gallons of gas for $4.60. elevation, 4906 feet. they stopped at the hotel grand sterling after 138 miles and had punctures in their tires. the next day, he mentions they left at 10:00 a.m., arrived at palisade at 5:25 to take rooms in a hotel. after a 148 mile drive where they had two punctures in their
tires that day and used nine gallons of gas. another entry from the 19th, they left elco at 10:15 a.m. they got five gallons of gas. there were fine ranches that they saw during their 17 miles from elco to death wells. "threatening rain with high winds all the way, sprinkling at 4:00 p.m. and had a punctured tire. arrived at a little village with about 8 houses at 5:00 p.m. they camped in a railroad station because there was no hotel. 94 miles for the day. one of the interesting stops, and this is a quote from a longer letter from lou. "there is absolutely no place to camp and no others nearer than 20 miles. no ranch or hotel or anything. the shack that causes of a hotel has only one empty single room.
the situation is nice and big and has all been beautifully painted inside so we gave matias the hotel room and we camped in one of the two waiting rooms with our own bedding." in camping, they brought their own tents and cots. quite often what they would use was their own camping gear they brought with them including cots and they would find some scenic area when they were getting ready to stop for the day and set up camp like people would today. on an entry for thursday, the 22nd, they spent the day at newhouse hotel in salt lake city. "j.r. shaw of utah, ran into our
car. all are ok." another entry, they arrived at 3:30 p.m. gas was $1.70 for five gallons. they camped on the desert. there was no water at all except for what they carried in their canteens for 121 miles. on the 27th, they left camp at 9:00 a.m. for a beautiful flat in the mountains. small canyons with streams flowing through them to the north platte river. would like to camp here for months. the flat under the fence, a good stock ranch covered with cattle in fine condition. we got 13 gallons and one quart of oil for $3.52. they camped near fort collins, colorado. 124 miles for that day. on the 29th they left at 9:00
a.m. after a very cold night. "ice this morning in the radiator, no damage done. wonderful scenery. altitude 11,800 feet. crossing the divide. past a lumber camp and up the mountain and made camp at an out of 9000 feet. 72 miles that day." on the 30th they crossed the continental divide. "the coldest morning we have had. we left at 10:00 a.m. the engine will not start and the oil had congealed. cannot use the self-starter on the car. the sun came out and warmed things up at 11:00 a.m. the continental divide, elevation 11,330 feet, the atlantic side was the park national forest, the pacific side, the arapahoe national forest. denver, 59 miles. they stopped at a hotel in henderson, a small country
tavern. clean rooms and a good summer. 90 miles that day for an 18 day total of 1648 miles. and in october on the third, they left at 8:00 a.m., 15 gallons of gas cost $3.75. the quick stop for regular spring to patch the tires to hold until we reached hastings. we arrived at holdridge at 5:00 p.m. after driving 134 miles. on the 11th they were in iowa. they left iowa city at 8:30 a.m., drove out to west branch, called on the hoover family. was taken to his house and met his wife and mother. drove around and saw different farms and points of interest arriving at the house in which bert was born. 8 gallons of gas was $1.96.
arrived at dixon, illinois at 6:00 p.m. and drove 154 miles that day. now lou had thought that this trip would be extremely educational for their son and she had hoped to take him along almost as a form of homeschooling in those days. she wrote in an letter to her son, "it always pays to tell people, especially your mother the real truth about everything. if i had unfortunately known that you had had your fill of long automobile journeys, i should have felt there was more educational value to we got out of a transcontinental trip than out of six weeks of school, then yo would have been in for it." so this trip was her way to spend quality time with her father as they were both
grieving the passing of her mother. although they don't leave a lot of written record of it, they visited with various family members of the henry family and the hoover family along the way and seemed to really be an assistance in her father coping with the situation. >> the first tv residential campaign ads aired during the 1952 contest between eisenhower and stevenson. ads have been essential to every presidential campaign since. here's a look. --bush and dukakis on crime pushes supports the death penalty for first-degree murderers. dukakis not only this is the death penalty, he allowed orders to have weekend passes from prison. one was willie horton, who
murdered a boy, stabbing him 18 times. spidey life sentence, horton from prison.asses he stabbed a man and repeatedly raped his girlfriend. >> george bush talks a lot about prison furloughs. the massachusetts program was started by republican and stopped by mike dukakis. and bush won't talk about the thousands of drug kingpins furloughed. bush won't talk about this drug pusher, one of his furloughed heroin dealers, who raped and murdered patsy hedren. -- that story is a george bush has taken a furlough from the truth. >> if you like politics, you can find plenty of archival ads and campaign speeches on our website, c-span.org.
>> this fall, american history tv is airing archival coverage of residential campaigns. between billate clinton and bob dole from the 1996 presidential campaign. candidates discussed national security, government spending, medicare reform, and there political philosophies. president clinton defeated dole with 49% of the popular vote to mr. dole's fully 1%. ross perot finished third with 8.4%. this debate is from hartford, connecticut. mr. lehrer: good evening from the bushnell theatre in hartford, connecticut. i'm jim lehrer of the news hour on pbs. welcome to the first of the 1996 presidential debates between president bill clinton, the democratic nominee, and senator bob dole, the republican nominee. this event is sponsored by the commission on presidential debates. it will last 90 minutes following rm