Edward Mandell House was an American diplomat, and an adviser to President Woodrow Wilson. He was known by the nickname Colonel House, although he had performed no military service. He was a highly influential back-stage politician in Texas before becoming a key supporter of the presidential bid of Wilson in 1912. Having a self-effacing manner, he did not hold office but was an "executive agent", Wilson's chief adviser on European politics and diplomacy during World War I. He became a government official as one of the five American commissioners to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. In 1919 Wilson broke with House and many other top advisers, believing they had deceived him at Paris.
He was born July 26, 1858, in Houston, Texas, the last of seven children of Mary Elizabeth and Thomas William House Sr. His father was an emigrant from England by way of New Orleans, who became a prominent Houston businessman, with a large role in developing the city and served a term as its mayor. His father sent ships laden with cotton to evade the Union blockade in the Gulf of Mexico during the American Civil War. He traded Texas cotton through Matamoros, Mexico, in exchange for equipment and ammunition.
As a young man, House and his companions harassed recently-freed slaves verbally and with slingshots. His diary entries "consistently reveal a deeply felt racism" and a belief in white supremacy.
House attended Houston Academy, a school in Bath, England, a prep school in Virginia, and Hopkins Grammar School, New Haven, Connecticut. He went on to study at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, in 1877 where he was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. He left at the beginning of his third year to care for his sick father, who died in 1880.
He married Loulie Hunter on August 4, 1881.
House died on March 28, 1938, in Manhattan, New York City, following a bout of pleurisy. As a novelist, House had much more influence with the book Philip Dru: Administrator than has been appreciated. Historian Maxwell Bloomfield notes the impact of the character Dru, as written by Wilson's Secretary of the Interior.
Books by Edward House
This book is about a thoughtful young soldier and writer who leads a civil war against a corrupt American government and institutes a series of reforms to root greed, corruption, and selfishness out of American public life.