Louise Cromwell Brooks

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Louise Cromwell Brooks, 1911
Mrs W.J. Brooks, Jr. and her children

Henrietta Louise Cromwell Brooks (ca. 1890 – May 30, 1965) was an American socialite and the first wife of General Douglas MacArthur. She was "considered one of Washington's most beautiful and attractive young women".[1]


She was born around 1890 to Eva Roberts Cromwell and Oliver Eaton Cromwell. Her brother was James H. R. Cromwell, the American diplomat and husband to Doris Duke. After her father's death her mother married Edward T. Stotesbury.

She made her debut in Washington, DC in 1910. Louise Cromwell married Walter J. Brooks, Jr. in 1911. They had two children, a son and a daughter. Brooks and Cromwell divorced in 1919. She married Douglas MacArthur in 1922 and she claimed that General John J. Pershing threatened to send MacArthur to the Philippines if they married.[2] That marriage ended in 1929. She next married the actor Lionel Atwill, whom she divorced in 1943.[1] In 1944 she married Alf Heiberg. That marriage also ended in divorce.

Brooks died of a heart attack in Washington, DC at the age of 75.[2]


  • William Manchester in his biography of Gen. Douglas MacArthur has stated that Gen. Pershing summarily transferred MacArthur from the US Military Academy where he was holding the Superintendent's post to the Philippines because he (Gen. Pershing) was himself interested in Mrs. Brooks.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Lionel Atwill Wed To Mrs. MacArthur. Actor Marries Daughter Of Mrs. E. T. Stotesbury at Her Home In Eccleston, MD. Wedding Trip On Yacht. Both Bride And Bridegroom Twice Divorced. Mrs. Atwill Former Wife Of Gen. MacArthur". New York Times. June 8, 1930. Retrieved 2010-03-27. "Lionel Atwill, the actor, and Mrs. Douglas MacArthur, daughter of Mrs. Edward T. Stotesbury of this city, were married this afternoon at Rainbow Hill, the MacArthur home in Eccleston, Md., a few hours after ..." 
  2. ^ a b "Died". Time magazine. June 11, 1965. Retrieved 2010-03-27. "Louise Cromwell Brooks MacArthur Atwill Heiberg, 75, first wife of the late General Douglas MacArthur, a Philadelphia banker's daughter who was the subject of a 1922 press report that widowed four-star General John J. Pershing threatened to exile one-star General MacArthur to the Philippines ("Poppycock," said Black Jack) if she married him, which she did, then divorced him on grounds of incompatibility seven years later; of a heart attack; in Washington." 
  3. ^ American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964

Further reading[edit]

  • "Gen. MacArthur Weds Mrs. Brooks", The New York Times, February 15, 1922
  • "Wife Divorces General M'Arthur", The New York Times, June 18, 1929
  • "Louise Cromwell Brooks Dies; First Wife of Gen. MacArthur", The New York Times, June 1, 1965