Extroverted by nature, Lou Hoover likely enjoyed the Latin American trip more than her husband Herbert. As the tour entered it final port of call in South America, Rio de Janeiro, Lou made time to visit with the Federacao des Bandeirantes, a Brazilian Girl Scout troop. Given Hoover’s deep and long involvement with the Girl Scouts of America, this visit must have given her great pleasure. The feeling was mutual.
The Bandeirantes newsletter later included a fulsome description of Lou’s visit and its impact. ‘Good! Mrs. Hoover has the good idea of arriving later so that we can finish our preparations, straightening a photograph on the wall and arranging a vase of flowers.’ When Lou Hoover arrived with the troop leader Jeronyma Mesquita and Padre Leovigildo Franca, she was served Brazilian coffee and tea. The troop sang the Brazilian national hymn and gave Mrs. Hoover mineral specimens and a photo album bound in pernambuco, the national wood of Brazil.
The gift of mineral specimens prompted Mrs. Hoover to remark: ‘I will keep it among my most precious mineral collections.’ She went on to reminisce about her days as a student at Stanford University, when she went on long scientific excursions to identify stratifications and mineral deposits. The Bandeirantes, upon hearing these memories, observed: ‘Young and beautiful Lou Henry lived again in her simple short speech; her graciousness and her friendliness were significantly manifested…. On all lips was heard the exclamations—How distinguished! How sympathetic!’
When Lou Hoover took her leave from the troop, Padre Franca closed the ceremony with a brief message on human fraternity. The Girl Scouts concluded: ‘North America is going to have, indeed, in Mrs. Hoover a most worthy representative of that which is most cultured, most worthy and most understanding among American women.’ Nicely judged. Aptly stated.
One thought on “Lou Hoover and the Bandeirantes of Brazil”
This is a woman I wish I could have known. Thanks for sharing the details of her life involving the presidency.