On Wednesday, the 143rd anniversary of the birth of former First Lady Lou Henry Hoover, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library released home-movie footage that she shot — which, in addition to showing a slice of intimate presidential life, appears to contain the first home movies filmed in color at the White House.
The library’s audiovisual specialist Lynn Smith discovered the film when she realized that the Kodacolor film (which was first released to the public in August 1928) appears as black and white, “but when projected through special filtered lenses, the color embedded in the film is restored,” according to a press release.
The First Lady loved using photo and film cameras, and even turned the second floor West Hall into a home theater of sorts where she showed her movies to family and friends.
The reels, which can be seen on the library’s YouTube channel, offer a glimpse into a Florida fishing trip in late January 1929 that would be the Hoover family’s last family vacation before inauguration on Mar. 4, 1929; their grandchildren and vacations taken by the Hoovers’ sons; the First Lady’s gardens; as well as Washington, D.C. landmarks.
The clip below depicts President Hoover’s morning routine of tossing a medicine ball with others as part of a game that would become known as “Hooverball.”
The movies will also be screened at the Hoover Museum in West Branch, Iowa.