Kurt's Historic Sites

Herbert Hoover's Grave

Herbert Hoover

Interment Location Visited Sequence in Graves I Have Visited
West Branch, IA August 21, 2004 17th President visited

Herbert Hoover's Grave
Photographed August 21, 2004.

Born in a two-room cottage in rural Iowa. An orphan at age nine, and a millionaire by age 40. Championed as one of the greatest humanitarians of his generation, pilloried as president, and respected as an elder statesman. Died in one of the most luxurious residences in downtown Manhattan. Buried on a hilltop overlooking the two-room cottage where his life began… The poetic life of Herbert Clark Hoover.

The simplicity of the 31st president’s gravestone reflects the tenets of his Quaker upbringing, as is explained on a National Park Service wayside at the site. A matching marble slab sits over the resting place of Herbert’s wife, fellow Stanford University graduate Lou Henry Hoover.

Photographed August 21, 2004.
Photographed August 21, 2004.

“This cottage where I was born is physical proof of the unbounded opportunity of American life,” Herbert Hoover once declared. The Republican’s personal experiences that resembled aspects of a Horatio Alger novel colored his optimistic view of what was possible for anyone in the United States regardless of their initial social station. His climb up the proverbial ladder began when he was three or four years old, when the Hoover family left the small cottage and relocated to a more spacious dwelling a short walk south. Both residences were incredibly close to patriarch Jesse Hoover’s blacksmith shop, seen at right in this image. The president’s birthplace and his father’s shop are now part of the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. The second Hoover home in West Branch no longer exists.

Fast Facts

Born: August 10, 1874 in West Branch, Iowa

Spouse: Lou Henry Hoover (m. 1899-1944)

Political Affiliation: Republican Party

Served in Cabinets of: Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Cabinet Position: Secretary of Commerce (1921-1928)

Presidential Tenure: 1929-1933

Vice President: Charles Curtis

Died: October 20, 1964 in New York, New York

Cause of Death: Massive Internal Bleeding

Age: 90

Interment: Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, West Branch, Iowa

"This is not an issue as to whether people shall go hungry or cold in the United States. It is solely a question of the best method by which hunger and cold shall be prevented. It is a question as to whether the American people on one hand will maintain the spirit of charity and mutual self-help through voluntary giving and the responsibility of local government as distinguished on the other hand from appropriations out of the Federal Treasury for such purposes. My own conviction is strongly that if we break down this sense of responsibility of individual generosity to individual and mutual self-help in the country in times of national difficulty and if we start appropriations of this character we have not only impaired something infinitely valuable in the life of the American people but have struck at the roots of self-government. Once this has happened it is not the cost of a few score millions, but we are faced with the abyss of reliance in future upon Government charity in some form or other. The money involved is indeed the least of the costs to American ideals and American institutions."
- Herbert Hoover
February 3, 1931 in a statement released to the press, supporting the promotion of mutual-self help to alleviate the woes of the Great Depression instead of allocating funds from the Federal Treasury
Photographed February 3, 2024.

While he served as secretary of commerce, Herbert Hoover lived with Lou in this house at 2300 S Street NW in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood. They continued to own the property through their White House years and beyond, although they resided primarily in California and New York post-presidency. Mrs. Hoover died in January 1944, after which the former president sold the property. The building now functions as the embassy of Myanmar.

Sources Consulted and Further Reading

Hoover, Herbert. “Statement on Unemployment Relief,” February 3, 1931. Transcript. From University of Virginia, Miller Center. https://millercenter.org/the-presidency/presidential-speeches/february-3-1931-statement-unemployment-relief.

Kotlowski, Dean J. “Farewell to the Chief: Mourning and Memorializing Herbert Hoover.” In Mourning the Presidents: Loss and Legacy in American Culture, edited by Lindsay M. Chervinsky and Matthew R. Costello, 172-195. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2023.

National Park Service. “Birthplace Cottage.” Updated February 4, 2021. https://www.nps.gov/places/birthplace-cottage.htm.

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