Facts about Edward M. House
Edward M. House Biography
Edward M. “Colonel” House was a wealthy Texan who advised President Woodrow Wilson during the peace treaty negotiations at the end of World War I.
He was the youngest of the seven children of one of the richest men in Texas, who died in 1880. Edward managed his inheritance wisely and became a behind-the-scenes power broker for Democrats in Texas. One of the four governors he helped elect, Jim Hogg, gave House the honorific “Colonel” (despite a lack of military experience), and House became a close advisor to Texas governors from 1892 through 1904.
He moved to New York in 1910 and got close to Woodrow Wilson, who was then the governor of New Jersey with an eye on the presidency. House managed Wilson’s campaign, and they became close friends — Wilson called House “my second personality.” When Wilson was elected president in 1912, House went with him to Washington, D.C.
House traveled with Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference in December of 1918 to negotiate a treaty after Germany’s defeat in World War I. Wilson left the negotiations in February of 1919, spent time in the U.S., then returned in March, leaving House in charge. In Wilson’s absence, House had agreed to compromises Wilson had previously fought. Wilson distanced himself from House after the Treaty of Versailles was signed, and the two never spoke again.
House lived another fourteen years after Wilson died, hobnobbing the the rich and powerful but never again reaching the stature he had when Wilson was president.