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Bohlen, Avis Howard Thayer, 1912-1981. Papers, 1929-1981: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America


Radcliffe College
June, 1982

© 1982 Radcliffe College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: 82-M28
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Creator: Avis Howard (Thayer) Bohlen
Title: Papers, 1929-1981
Quantity: 6 cartons, 2 folio folders
Abstract: Correspondence, travel diaries, photographs, etc., of Avis Howard Thayer Bohlen, member of the Association of American Foreign Service Women.

Processing Information:

Preliminary inventory: June, 1982
By: Jane S. Knowles

Acquisition Information:

Accession number: 82-M28
This collection was given to the Schlesinger Library by Avis T. Bohlen daughter of ATB, in March 1982.

Preferred citation for publication:

Avis Howard Thayer Bohlen Papers, 1929-1981; item description, dates. 82-M28, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.


Avis (Thayer) Bohlen was born in Philadelphia, September 18, 1912, the daughter of George and Gertrude (Wheeler) Thayer, the eldest of six children. She attended Bryn Mawr, but did not graduate, spent a year studying abroad, 1932-1933, and on a visit to her brother in the U.S. embassy in Moscow, 1934, met Charles Eustis Bohlen, whom she married in 1935. They had three children: Avis Thayer (born April 20, 1940), Charles Eustis (April 11, 1947), and Celestine Ellen (December 17, 1950). Their tours of duty included the Soviet Union, 1938, Japan, Soviet Union 1953-1958, the Philippines, and France 1962-1967. Charles Bohlen was ambassador to the Soviet Union, the Philippines, and France. He died in 1974. ATB was active in the American Association of Foreign Service Wives and, after her return to Washington, in the 1970s, she was a freelance landscape designer. The Avis Bohlen award administered by the American Foreign Service Association, was established in her honor in 1982 to give credit to the wives of Foreign Service officers.


This collection consists of ATB's correspondence with family (brothers, sisters and children) and friends, business papers pertaining to her work in the embassies (such as menus, guest lists, correspondence and accounts), speeches, travel diaries and photographs.


Additional catalog entries

Alsop, Susan Mary
American Association of Foreign Service Wives
Association of American Wives in Europe
Berenson, Bernard, 1865-1959
Berlin, Isaiah
Bundy, McGeorge, 1919-
Sulzberger, Marina
Thayer family
Ustinov, Peter
Bohlen, Charles Eustis, 1904-1974
France--Social life and customs
U.S. Foreign Service
U.S.S.R.--Social life and customs
Address books