House, (Edward Mandell) “Colonel”(1858–1938) diplomat; born in Houston, Texas. Born into wealth and successful in business, he devoted himself to Democratic politics, refusing all public offices. A close adviser to Texas governors (1892–1904), he became President Woodrow Wilson's closest adviser, first attempting mediation during World War I (1914–17), then handling all important dealings with the Allies (1917–18). He helped formulate Wilson's Fourteen Points and assisted Wilson in the postwar peace negotiations, but their relationship was severely strained when Wilson proved far less willing to compromise than was House. After Wilson returned to the U.S.A. (1919) and became ill, he never again met with House. Although House maintained his personal contacts with many prominent people at home and abroad, he never again exercised much influence on public affairs.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.