American Statesmen: Secretaries of State from John Jay to Colin Powell

By Edward S. Mihalkanin | Go to book overview
Save to active project


Served 1953-1959

Appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower


John Foster Dulles was born on February 25, 1888, the firstborn son of Reverend Allen Macy Dulles, Presbyterian pastor of the Trumbell Avenue Church in Detroit, Michigan, and Edith Foster Dulles. Foster, as his family called him, was, fittingly, born in the Washington, D.C., home of his maternal grandfather, John Watson Foster, a former secretary of state and lifelong mentor. Shortly after his birth, Dulles's parents relocated to Watertown, New York, where his father served as pastor at the First Presbyterian Church. It was there that Foster spent a remarkably happy though strictly regimented childhood with his diligent parents, precocious siblings—he had three younger sisters and a brother—and worldly grandparents. A frequent visitor was Robert Lansing, affectionately referred to by the Dulles children as “Uncle Bert.” Lansing was married to Edith Dulles's sister, Eleanor, and was a successful attorney and aspiring politician who would later serve as Woodrow Wilson's secretary of state. He, like Foster's grandfather, provided advice and opportunities throughout Dulles's long march to that esteemed office.

In late 1903, Edith Dulles took Foster and a daughter, Eleanor, to spend the year in France, prior to his entrance to Princeton in the fall of 1904. Dulles's tenure at Princeton was, for the most part, unremarkable. He majored in philosophy, with the intention of fulfilling his parents' wish that he join the ministry. But as he matured, his interest in politics, international relations, and ethics grew. His senior thesis, entitled “The Theory of Judgment, won him the Chancellor Green Mental Science Fellowship, providing a year's study at the Sorbonne under Nobel Prize- winning philosopher Henri Bergson. Dulles graduated Phi Beta Kappa, second in his class, and gave the valedictory speech at graduation.

Dulles had the rare opportunity to attend the Second Hague Peace Conference during the late spring and summer of 1907. Dulles's grandfather, John Watson Fos-ter, appealed to Princeton to allow his grandson to postpone his end-of-year junior exams to the fall. Grandfather Foster was attending as a delegate for the Imperial Government of China and assigned young Dulles, who was just a few months past


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
American Statesmen: Secretaries of State from John Jay to Colin Powell
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 572

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?