The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981 Page: 428
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the state capital. In Woodrow Wilson, House found "the man and the
opportunity" to acquire the backstairs power he coveted. The presi-
dent regarded House as "my second personality; my independent self:
his thoughts and mine are one." By early 1916, Wilson's second mar-
riage was imposing subtle strains on the friendship of the two men, but
House still enjoyed a special trust as he left for Europe.2
The basic source for information about House's activities in these
weeks is his own famous diary. First published in a heavily edited ver-
sion in the 1920s as The Intimate Papers of Colonel House, the diary
will soon appear in a scholarly, microfilmed edition that will offer stu-
dents both the document itself and the necessary explanatory docu-
mentation. Once regarded as an unusually valuable historical guide to
the Wilson years, the diary, like House himself, has come under skepti-
cal review in recent times. The neatly typed pages, the inside revela-
tions, the Colonel's high opinion of his own talents, lose credibility as
historians find discrepancies of fact in the author's recollections. A
carefully crafted document intended to enhance House's own reputa-
tion, the diary lacks the scrupulous accuracy that would make it an
authoritative historical source.3
It is useful in considering House's activities, then, to have access to
records of the people with whom he talked and dined during his diplo-
matic travels. In the course of his visits to England between January
5 and January 20, 1916, and February 9 and February 25, 1916, for
instance, House saw British politicians, civil servants, and journalists,
socially and on business. One, a man with whom he talked several
times, was John St. Loe Strachey, editor of The Spectator. Fifty-six
years old in 1916, Strachey had been a long-time friend of Theodore
Roosevelt and was a man with close connections to the British govern-
ment. He corresponded with the foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey,
about Roosevelt and American attitudes toward the war. In private
2Lewis L. Gould, Progressives and Prohibitionists: Texas Democrats in the Wilson Eta
(Austin, 1973), 11-13, 14 (first quotation), 15-16; Devlin, Too Proud to Fight, 99 (second
3Charles Seymour (ed.), The Intimate Papers of Colonel House (4 vols.; Boston and
New York, 1926-1928). The diary itself is located at Yale University. Professor Wilton B.
Fowler of the University of Washington is editing the microfilm edition of the House
diary, and the present essay gained from Fowler's talk on "The Diary of Colonel House
and the Historical Record," delivered at the University of Texas at Austin, February 5,
1979. An interesting appraisal of House and his diary in a later period emerges from
Inga Floto, Colonel House in Paris: A Study of American Policy at the Paris Peace Con-
ference, Igrg (Copenhagen, 1973).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981, periodical, 1980/1981; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101225/m1/488/: accessed November 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.