Eleanor Lansing Dulles was an American diplomat, educator, economist, and author. She was a United States Government employee. Her background in economics and her familiarity with European affairs enabled her to fill a number of important State Department positions.
Eleanor Lansing Dulles was born on June 1, 1895 in Watertown, New York, United States. Daughter of Allen Macy and Edith (Foster) Dulles. Her grandfather, John Watson Foster, served as United States Secretary of State under President Benjamin Harrison for eight months. Her mother's sister married Robert Lansing, Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson. Her oldest brother, John Foster Dulles, was Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Her brother Allen Dulles served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1953 to 1961. She had two sisters as well. Her nephew Avery Dulles was a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.
Dulles graduated from Wykeham Rise School in Washington, Connecticut, and attended Bryn Mawr College, graduating with a B.A. in 1917. When World War I ended, she continued her schooling in the U.S. and in Europe. Beginning in 1923, she studied at Radcliffe College and Harvard University, earning her M.A. from the former in 1924 and a doctorate in economics from the latter in 1926, writing her thesis on the French franc.
She began teaching economics at Simmons College in Boston during the 1924-1925 academic year. For the next ten years she taught economics at various colleges, including Simmons, Bryn Mawr, and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1933 she argued against the supposed benefits of inflationary government policies in "The Dollar, the Franc and Inflation". In 1936 she began work with the U.S. Government’s Social Security Board, leaving that position to join the U.S. State Department in 1942. During her first three years at the State Department, Dulles was involved in post-war economic planning. She helped determine the U.S. position on international financial cooperation and participated in the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944 at which the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development were established. After the end of World War II, in the spring of 1945 she went to Europe where she became involved in the reconstruction of the Austrian economy as the U.S. Financial Attaché in Austria. Her work as a diplomat included being an economic officer, financial attache in Austria, and special assistant in the Office of German Affairs. It was through her work with the German office that she helped revitalize the German economy after World War II. She also worked to secure funds for West Berlin’s Congress Hall, hospitals, and educational facilities. Later, she was hailed as "the Mother of Berlin" for helping to revitalize Berlin's economy and culture during the 1950s.
After twenty years, she was fired from the State Department and went on to hold positions such as professor at Georgetown University, visiting professor at Duke University, consultant for the U.S. Department of State, and organizer of the John Foster Dulles Centennial Program at Princeton University. She authored several books on U.S. foreign policy.
Dulles died on October 30, 1996, in a retirement home in Washington, D.C. and was buried in Rock Creek Cemetery there.
Eleanor Lansing Dulles married Professor David Simon Blondheim (1884-1934) on December 6, 1932. Blondheim committed suicide in 1934. Dulles and Blondheim had a son, David Dulles, born seven months after his father's death. She later adopted a girl, Ann Welsh Dulles (born 1937, married in 1962 to become Anne Welsh Joor).