Louise Cromwell Brooks

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

Henrietta Louise Cromwell Brooks (September 14, 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 around 1890 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 Edward T. Stotesbury.

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 General Douglas MacArthur in 1922 and she claimed that General John J. Pershing wanted to marry her and had threatened to send MacArthur to the Philippines if they married.[2] Pershing said the allegation was "all damn poppycock".[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 General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, entitled American Caesar, stated General Pershing summarily transferred MacArthur from the United States Military Academy where he was holding the Superintendent's post to the Philippines because he (Gen. Pershing) was himself interested in Mrs. Brooks.[3]


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