The Iowan Responsible for Girl Scout Cookies as We Know Them

Mar 8, 2016

Lou Henry Hoover, first lady of President Herbert Hoover, was born in Waterloo, Iowa in 1874. While she moved around a lot as a youth and considered herself a Westerner, her birth here and eventually marriage to Herbert Hoover, born in West Branch, means many Iowans claim her as their own.

She got involved with the Girl Scouts in 1917 and after serving as a part of the leadership of the organization, and as it's first president, she realized the group needed money. 

"Lou had her own troop in Washington D.C., but she also had several positions with the national organization as president or on the board. And in the 20s when she was the president of the organization, local chapters had made the cookies and had sold them," explains Tom Schwartz, Director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum.

"There were recipes sent to chapters about how to make them. Lou was credited with having a national bakery bake them and box them."

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Schwartz about Lou Henry Hoover's legacy and life. Elizabeth Dinschel, Education Specialist for the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Museum, and Stewart McClaurin, President of the White House History Association, also join the conversation. 

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch will be hosting a birthday party for Lou Henry Hoover's birthday on March 29 at 11:00 a.m. There are also opportunities for teachers to travel to Washington D.C. and learn more about the White House and Lou Henry Hoover herself. Find more information here.