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17 February 2016

Celebrating Past Presidents and Their Immigrant Parents, Part III: Herbert Hoover

In this series of three blog posts celebrating Presidents Day, we honor three of our nation’s presidents who grew up with immigrant parents.

The mother of the United States’ 31st president, Herbert Hoover, was an immigrant.

Hulda Randall Minthorn was born in Norwich, Ontario, Canada, in 1848. Her family immigrated to the United States in 1859 and settled in West Branch, Iowa. After her father died, Hulda dropped out of the University of Iowa to help her mother cope with his death. In 1870 Hulda married Jesse Hoover. They had three children; Herbert was the middle child. When Jesse died in 1880, Hulda used the money from his insurance policy to pay for the children's schooling. She also traveled throughout the state as a Quaker minister. During one trip she fell ill with pneumonia and never recovered. Hulda passed away in 1884 at the age of 35.

After college, Herbert Hoover was a mining engineer and businessman, working with gold mines in Western Australia. When World War I began, he focused on humanitarian work. He helped 120,000 stranded American tourists return home from Europe. He also coordinated delivery of food and supplies to Belgians when Germany invaded their country.

Hoover served as secretary of commerce before winning the 1928 presidential election. Just seven months after he took office, the stock market crashed in October 1929. Amid the Great Depression, he led the nation from 1929 to 1933.

Learn more about our nation’s 31st president, Herbert Hoover.

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