A Guide to the Edward Mandell House Papers, 1896-1938
Edward Mandell House (1858–1938) was a politician, land and oil speculator, and farmer who was born in Houston, Texas, and moved to Austin in 1885 to more closely monitor cotton plantations he held there. House served as campaign director for his friend James Stephen Hogg in the tough three-way gubernatorial race of 1892, which Hogg won. House went on to serve as a political counselor and fundraiser for other Texas governors, such as Charles Allen Culberson, Joseph D. Sayers, and Samuel W. T. Lanham.
Weary of Texas politics, House moved on to other prospects, including an attempt to make money from the discovery of oil at the Spindletop oilfield in 1901 and 1902, and the formation of the Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway Company. He also began to spend more and more time in New York, severing ties with Texas. The year 1904 marked the end of House’s participation in gubernatorial elections and campaigns.
With a deep-seated desire for national political prestige, House sought Democratic presidential candidates to back and in November of 1911 met and befriended Woodrow Wilson. House used his influence to gain the votes of the Texas delegation for Wilson's candidacy. Upon Wilson's victory House ensured the appointment of several Texans to positions in the cabinet, and became the president's foreign affairs advisor.
World War I began, and House began important European missions for the president, including gaining the approval of Wilson’s Fourteen Points agenda. He was appointed one of the five American commissioners at the Fourteen Points peace conference and served as Wilson's second in command. After Wilson’s 1919 stroke and the resurgence of the Republican Party in the early 1920s, House removed himself from political and public affairs. He died in 1938 in New York City and was buried in Houston.
Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "House, Edward M.," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/HH/fho66.html (accessed May 26, 2010).
The Edward Mandell House Papers, 1896-1911, 1913-1938, consist of political correspondence; personal correspondence including letters, telegrams, and cards of thanks; and a transcript of a radio talk by House. In addition, the papers include a 1931 autograph of House on his stationery and newspaper clippings of House's obituaries, 1938.
The collection is open for research.
Edward Mandell House Papers, 1896-1938, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers