Lou Henry Hoover was born in Iowa in 1874 but spent much of her youth in California. She was the first woman to graduate with a degree in geology from Stanford University. She twice served as President of the Girl Scouts and founded a racially integrated troop in Washington, D.C.
Early in their marriage, the Hoovers lived in China. They both loved China and spoke Mandarin Chinese. Mrs. Hoover designed Camp Rapidan, the Hoovers' presidential retreat in Virginia, which later became Camp David.
As 31st First Lady, Lou Hoover once invited the wife of an African-American Congressman to tea along with other Congressional wives. Some people criticized Mrs. Hoover for this move, but others praised her. The two women were famously photographed shaking hands.
Mrs. Hoover personally helped hundreds if not thousands of needy people who asked her for help during the Great Depression. She hired secretaries to help her answer the requests. In her answers, she both used her own funds and passed some requests on to wealthy friends and charities. After her death, her husband found many uncashed checks in her desk from people who wanted to repay her generosity.
The design features a late 1920s radio. This represents Mrs. Hoover's first radio speech as First Lady. She was the first president's wife who ever made such a speech. The radio is captioned "First Public Address" and "April 19, 1929," the date of the speech.