Henry White

A historic black and white photograph of Henry White.
Henry White

NPS

Didy’s oldest son, Henry White (1850-1927), spent much of his early life at Hampton in the company of his widely-admired and gracious grandmother, Eliza Ridgely, and much of his adolescence in Europe being schooled by and traveling with his pious and rather formidable mother. This unconventional education in manners and morals prepared him for a distinguished career in diplomacy.

Often referred to as America’s ‘first career diplomat,’ Henry spent 30 years in the U.S. Diplomatic Service, serving as First Secretary at the U.S. Embassy in London, and as Ambassador to both Italy and France before retiring in 1909. Ten years later, he was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson as a member of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace in Paris to end the First World War in 1918-19. At the urging of his family, he wrote a Memoir in 1925 in which he described his early years at Hampton with his Ridgely relatives. Hampton’s archives now contain nearly seventy linear feet of his and his family’s private papers including voluminous correspondence, financial records, albums, and photographs.

Last updated: June 19, 2020

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