42. Spirit of Adventure

At a time when most women stayed home, Lou Henry Hoover was exploring the world. A tomboy during her youth, Lou embraced Bert's life of travel to exotic and remote locations in Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe.

During the Chinese Boxer Rebellion, Lou did not huddle in basements but scrounged up food and medicine for the wounded, unafraid of the danger. She even wrote a friend, "You missed one of the opportunities of your life by not coming to China in the summer of 1900 ... the most interesting siege of the age."

Lou cheerfully played the part of "single mom" when her husband's mining and relief work separated the family. In 1914, Bert wanted more details on their activities so Lou cabled, "Herbert, Allan, mummy, white rabbits, white baby chickens, toads, frogs, lizards, salamanders, silk worms and horned toad all well and send love."

Never happier than when she was outdoors, Lou would travel by pack mule through the Sierra Mountains or drive cross-country from California to Washington D.C. In addition to her work with the Girl Scouts, in 1923 she helped found the National Amateur Athletic Federation and remained active in the Women's Division. A truly remarkable woman, Lou Henry Hoover once described her life as "much more exciting than anything she could find in fiction."

Lou Henry Hoover helps Santa Claus deliver presents. Washington DC, 1930