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Former First Lady’s Visit


North Dakota has had more than a few visits from presidents over the years, but first ladies have come here, too. Laura Bush visited Sims Scandinavian Lutheran Church in Morton County in 2008. Michelle Obama accompanied President Obama to Cannon Ball in 2014. And Edith Roosevelt, years before she became first lady, visited Theodore’s Elkhorn Ranch north of Medora during one of his last substantial visits to the Badlands.

On this date in 1937, former First Lady Lou Henry Hoover was in Bismarck to speak at a three-day regional conference of the Girls Scouts of America. Hoover was the national president of the organization. She spent two days in Bismarck for the event. Delegates from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota attended the conference.

Hoover gave a keynote speech on the first day about the “Frontiers of Girl Scouting.” Her second speech, on this date, was on citizenship, and the Associated Press reported that she charged delegates“with the duty of aiding national headquartersto solve problems confronting the movement and working toward a greater frontier for the nation-wide organization.”That same night, Girl Scouts from Bismarck presented the story of Sacagawea helping Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery on their expedition to the West Coast and back.

Hoover left that night for Great Falls, Montana, where she was the guest of honor at another regional Girl Scouts conference. She bestowed Golden Eaglet awards to three Montana girls.

Hoover had been first lady from 1929 to 1933, and became active with the Girl Scouts in the 1920s. She was its president twice, and she also was a vice president of the National Amateur Athletic Federation,and was an advocate for girls’ and women’s physical fitness.


First Lady Lou Henry Hoover died in 1944 in New York City following a heart attack. She was 69.

Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura

The Bismarck Tribune. 1937, May 17. Page 1
Star Tribune. 1937, May 18. Page 11
Star Tribune. 1937, May 19. Page 14
Great Falls Tribune. 1937, May 20. Page 1

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