He then moved to Paris to study architecture, becoming known as the "beau of the Beaux-Arts". Returning to Boston, Atherton spent time working as a banker and as an architect. In 1917, Atherton joined the U.S. diplomatic service as a secretary of legation in Peking.
Constance didn't care what others thought about her. She loved anything risky and was addicted to gambling. Atherton also served on the Philippine Commission and at the United States Department of State in Washington, D.C. He was then posted to Athens and in 1923-24, served as ad interim United States Ambassador to Greece.
Atherton then moved to London and worked at the U.S. Embassy in London for twelve years, first as secretary, and then, from 1930 to 1937 as counselor. When Cordell Hull became United States Secretary of State in 1933, he was impressed by Atherton and came to rely on his judgment on European and Middle Eastern affairs. Atherton also was an adviser at the London Naval Conference of 1930 and 1935.
In 1937, President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Atherton Minister Plenipotentiary to Bulgaria. Atherton presented his credentials on October 21, 1937, and served there until July 5, 1939. He then became Minister Plenipotentiary to Denmark, serving there from September 8, 1939 until June 5, 1940.
As such, he was present in Denmark at the time of the German invasion of Denmark. Cordell Hull then recalled Atherton to Washington, D.C., where, as head of the European Division, he became one of Hull's closest advisers. In June 1943, the United States and Canada agreed to upgrade the state of their mutual diplomatic missions from legation to embassy.
Atherton thus became the first United States Ambassador to Canada, presenting his credentials to Alexander Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone, the Governor General of Canada, on August 3, 1943 and serving until August 30, 1948. He was also accredited as minister to the government in exile of Denmark, which was established in Canada during the German occupation of Denmark. Atherton was also named U.S. minister to the government in exile of Luxembourg, which was also under German occupation.
In August 1948, Atherton was accredited as an alternate U.S. delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, which was then meeting in Paris. Atherton was married to the former Maude Hunnewell. Atherton died in Washington, D.C. of a cerebral hemorrhage on March 14, 1960.
Born March 28, 1883