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