Louise Cromwell Brooks

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

Louise Cromwell Brooks (September 24, 1890 – May 30, 1965) was an American socialite whose four marriages included seven years as the first wife of General Douglas MacArthur. She was "considered one of Washington's most beautiful and attractive young women".[1]


She was born September 24, 1890 in Rye, New York to Eva Roberts Cromwell and Oliver Eaton Cromwell. Her brother was James H. R. Cromwell, the American diplomat and first husband of Doris Duke. After her father's death her mother married prominent investment banker Edward T. Stotesbury in 1912.

She made her debut in Washington, DC in 1910.

In 1911 she married Walter Booth Brooks, Jr.. They had two children, a son and a daughter. Brooks and Cromwell divorced in 1919.

She then married Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur in 1922. William Manchester, in his biography of MacArthur, stated that General John J. Pershing, then the Army Chief of Staff, summarily transferred MacArthur from his post as Superintendent of West Point to the Philippines because Pershing was himself interested in Mrs. Brooks.[2] She claimed that Pershing wanted to marry her and had threatened to send MacArthur to the Philippines if they married.[3][4] Pershing said the allegation was "all damn poppycock".[3][4] Her marriage to MacArthur ended in 1929.[5]

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.[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.
  2. ^ Manchester, William. American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880–1964. pp. 127, 129, 130.
  3. ^ a b c "Died". Time magazine. June 11, 1965. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  4. ^ a b Manchester, William. American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880–1964. p. 130.
  5. ^ Manchester, William. American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880–1964. pp. 140–141.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Gen. MacArthur Weds Mrs. Brooks", The New York Times, February 15, 1922
  • "Wife Divorces General MacArthur", The New York Times, June 18, 1929
  • "Louise Cromwell Brooks Dies; First Wife of Gen. MacArthur", The New York Times, June 1, 1965
  • Manchester, William (2008) [First published 1978]. American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880–1964. New York: Back Bay Books. pp. 127–141.