James Henry Roberts Cromwell

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James Henry Roberts Cromwell

Birthplace: New York, New York, New York, United States
Death: Died in Mill Valley, Marin, California, United States
Cause of death: pulmonary ailment
Immediate Family:

Son of Oliver Eaton Cromwell, Sr. and Lucretia Bishop Stotesbury
Husband of Maxine Cromwell and Germaine Adeleide Gossler Christie Benjamin Cromwell
Ex-husband of Delphine Ione Cromwell Baker Godde and Doris Duke
Father of Christine Cromwell and Private User
Brother of Henrietta Louise Cromwell and Oliver Eaton Cromwell, Jr.

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About James Henry Roberts Cromwell

American diplomat, candidate for the United States Senate, and one-time husband of Doris Duke, "the richest girl in the world". Cromwell married Doris Duke in 1935 and was divorced from her in 1943.

Cromwell's first wife was Automotive heiress Delphine Dodge, the only daughter of Horace Dodge of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, one of the two co-founders of the Dodge Motor Company, predecessor of the Chrysler Company. Cromwell and Delphine were the parents of one daughter, Christine, born in 1923. They were divorced in 1928.

In 1940, for 142 days, he was the United States Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Canada. He resigned to run for Senator of New Jersey in the 1940 elections, where he was defeated.

Cromwell’s sister Louise Cromwell Brooks (c. 1885 – c. Aug 1973) was the first wife of Douglas MacArthur and the third wife of Lionel Atwill.


James Henry Roberts Cromwell (1896-1990) — also known as James H. R. Cromwell — of Somerville, Somerset County, N.J.; Weehawken, Hudson County, N.J. Born in New York, New York County, N.Y., June 4, 1896. Son of Oliver Eaton Cromwell and Lucretia (Roberts) Cromwell; married, June 20, 1920, to Delphine Dodge (divorced, 1928) (sister of Horace Elgin Dodge, Jr.); married, February 13, 1935, to Doris Duke (divorced, 1943) (daughter of James Buchanan Duke); married 1948 to Maxine McFetridge; brother of Louise Cromwell (aunt by marriage of Douglas MacArthur II). Democrat. Served in the U.S. Navy during World War I; vice-president, Peerless Motor Car Company; U.S. Minister to Canada, 1940; delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Jersey, 1940; candidate for U.S. Senator from New Jersey, 1940; president, Chemwood Corporation, pulp and paper manufacturers. Member, American Legion; Veterans of Foreign Wars; Military Order of the World Wars; Marine Corps League; American Academy of Political and Social Science. Died in 1990.

Life magazine article about their Hawaiian residence: https://books.google.com/books?id=j00EAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA11&pg=PA74#v=onepage&q&f=false


James Cromwell/Doris Duke home movies


Whitemarsh Hall Party - Wednesday, June 24, 1936?

This film clip, apparently shot by James H.R. Cromwell, possibly at the reception that the Stotesburys gave for politicians gathered to attend the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, is a part of a longer work in the Doris Duke archives held by Duke University. I have edited this clip out of the longer film for size and ease of access; we will post other clips in separate posts.

This party takes place on the Upper Terrace, outside the Ballroom, at Whitemarsh Hall. A bar was set up just outside the central door to the Ballroom, and footmen are seen bringing food out to guests through the open doors of the Dining Room, the shortest path to the main Pantry.

This appears to have been shot in Kodachrome 16mm, less than one year after its introduction to the public in 1935. This was the first successful color film product introduced by Kodak, and was tested as color movie film (like this) well prior to its release for still photography. The film speeds were very slow (ASA 10), hence the inability to take any indoor images; indeed, the color seems best when bright sunlight is available.

This was a silent film (no audio), but noise will be heard during playback from the film-to-digital conversion. You may wish to mute the audio when playing this clip.

Thanks are due to group member Charlie Currin, who was able to travel to Duke to confirm the contents of the film, work with the librarians there to source a digital copy, and most importantly, secure the approval of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to post it online


Tour of Whitemarsh Hall Estate Grounds, 1936

This clip is an excerpt from a film from the Doris Duke archives, shared here (on this Facebook group only) with permission of the owner. The film was made in 1936, and it is likely that the photographer was James H.R. Cromwell. Jimmy and his wife Doris Duke Cromwell visited Whitemarsh Hall mid-year - we know that they attended the June 24, 1936 party that is the subject of another movie clip - so this was likely filmed before or after June 24, but not during that event. We believe that this was shot in Kodachrome 16mm, only one year after color film first became commercially available to the public, but due to the age and type of film, it has faded significantly. We have made a subtle color adjustment but cannot resolve the fading without extensive detail work on the entire file. Thanks are due to group member Charlie Currin, who was able to travel to Duke to confirm the contents of the film, work with the librarians there to source a digital copy,


Eva Stotesbury's son, James H. R. Cromwell (1896-1990) and Helen Susan Tower (1896-1964). Many of us are familiar with Jimmy Cromwell's four marriages but few know that Jimmy was engaged when he was only 19 years old, to Helen Susan Tower.

The Towers were an interesting family. Helen's father, Charlemagne Tower, Jr., taught history and archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania and had a long diplomatic career. He served as Ambassador to Russia from 1899-1902, and Ambassador to Germany from 1902-1908. When in Russia, his children played with the children of Tsar Nicholas. During the time of Helen's engagement to Jimmy, the Towers were living at 1315 Locust Street in Philadelphia and were prominent members of Philadelphia's social scene and friends of the Stotesburys. The engagement of James H. R. Cromwell and Helen Susan Tower was announced in the fall of 1915. In the spring of 1916, tragedy visited the Tower household when Helen's younger sister, Gertrude, was killed when an automobile she was riding in overturned in Fairmount Park. See the attached link for a description of the accident and its aftermath, which sheds light on why the engagement between Jimmy and Helen was so brief. After Gertrude's death the Tower family departed Philadelphia and the engagement between Jimmy Cromwell and Helen Tower was over. Helen would go on to marry Major William Abbott Robertson in December, 1918. By all reports the marriage was a very happy one and lasted until Helen's death in 1964. Her husband followed her in death one year later. Helen had two children, Robert and Gertrude (named after her sister). Jimmy Cromwell would go on to marry Delphine Dodge, Doris Duke, Maxine MacFetridge and Germaine Benjamin. How might the Tower and Cromwell family histories been altered if Jimmy and Helen married and raised a family together? No one will ever know ~

Biographical information on the Tower family from: Nellie and Charlie: A Family Memoir of the Gilded Age by Helen Tower Brunet.

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James Henry Roberts Cromwell's Timeline

June 4, 1896
New York, New York, New York, United States
September 10, 1922
Age 26
Pennsylvania, United States
March 19, 1990
Age 93
Mill Valley, Marin, California, United States