Herbert Hoover was born on this day, August 10, 1874. His father, Jesse Hoover, was a blacksmith; his mother, Hulda Minthorn Hoover, a seamstress and recorded minister in the Society of Friends (Quakers).
The Hoover children spent their early years growing up in West Branch, Iowa. They could hike, explore, and swim as well as hunt for fossils and agate in the glacial gravel along the railroad tracks.
Their Quaker upbringing forbade the Hoover boys from carrying a gun, so they learned to hunt for rabbit and prairie chickens with bow and arrow. They learned these skills from young American Indian boys who were attending a local government training school. Willow poles, butcher string lines and hooks that cost a penny apiece provided Herbert Hoover with sunfish and catfish.
It’s time to play Hooverball! Hooverball was played each morning on the White House lawn during President Hoover’s administration.
The game was created by Hoover’s doctor to help the President slim down and keep fit.
“It is more strenuous than either boxing, wrestling or football,” wrote Will Irwin, a friend of Hoover’s, in a 1931 article “The President Watches His Waistline” in Physical Culture magazine. “It has the virtue of getting at nearly every muscle in the body.”
Every year, eager Hooverball enthusiasts compete in a tournament during Hoover’s Hometown Days. This year is the 25th Annual National Hoover-Ball Championships.
Learn more about the history of Hooverball on the Hoover Presidential Library web page.
Who wants to start a Hooverball league?
Now explained by Iowa Public Radio:
“It was 80 years ago when a New York Times reporter coined the name for a new sport that was played almost every day at the White House. It was called ‘Hoover-ball,’ and while the game has been played off and on over the years, its popularity may be growing.”
P.S. The Hooverball National Championships are going down this weekend in West Branch, Iowa.