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An Unsung Female Hero in History

by Angelique Platas

Jan 17, 2020

Photo: Leszek Wrona | Dreamstime.com

Age Specific / Adult Children

History may be written by the winners, but there are plenty of names missing from textbooks that are worth knowing — especially women’s history. Here’s one noteworthy women your family will appreciate knowing a little more about.


We may know the name Herbert Hoover quite well as he was the 31st president of the United States, but his wife, Lou Henry Hoover, was an impressive figure in countless ways — especially considering her time. Although far less known than her husband, Lou Hoover is an unsung hero of our nation’s history and showed incredible determination, strength and humanitarianism — some of her accomplishments may even be a part of your family’s day to day.


Being a strong political figure during World War I and the Great Depression, Lou Hoover overcame immense adversity and fought for all women to do the same. When war broke out in Europe, stranding thousands of American citizens, including women and children in London, Lou Hoover got to work. While U.S. citizens were turned away from ships leaving for America, having money rejected and credit denied, Lou set up the Society of American Women in London.


The newly formed society focused on providing clothes, housing, food and even entertainment and tours around town for the stranded citizens, attempting to normalize their situation while they awaited safe transport back home. This seemingly small gesture saved thousands of American lives and is just a footnote in Lou’s story.


She became her husband right-hand women and partner in so many aspects, from protecting Belgians left without food, shelter, money and clothing after the German invasion to mobilizing life-saving strategies to get them back on their feet. Lou organized a Commission for Relief in Belgium branch in California in order to bring food and supplies to Belgium and even enlisted the help of the London Society of American Women in selling Belgian lace to provide work, funds and support for displaced citizens during the war.


She reportedly even defended a hospital with just her shotgun — quite the modern woman.


Once back in the States, Lou continued her humanitarian work and helped women focus on strength by encouraging physical fitness, independence and even advocating for women to compete in the Olympics. Lou played a large role in leading Girl Scout troops to national recognition and was ahead of her time. She drove her own car, spoke publicly and earned a degree from Stanford in geology.


Next time you’re getting your Girl Scouts ready for camp, remember how much one (and many other) unsung hero accomplished to get them there.


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