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Dean, Vera Micheles, 1903-1972. Papers, 1929-1973: A Finding Aid

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


The collection was processed with help from the donors.
Radcliffe College
July 1983

© 1983 Radcliffe College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: A-17
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Creator: Vera (Micheles) Dean
Title: Papers, 1929-ca.1971
Quantity: 5 file boxes
Abstract: Correspondence, manuscripts, speeches, etc., of Vera Micheles Dean, international affairs specialist, author, and editor.

Processing Information:

Reprocessed: July 1983
By: David Nathan

Acquisition Information:

Accession numbers: 53-6, 54-1, 400, 960, 73-52
The papers of Vera (Micheles) Dean were given to the Schlesinger Library by Vera Micheles Dean and her children, William J. Dean and Elinor (Dean) Wilder, between 1953 and 1973.

Preferred citation for publication:

Vera Micheles Dean. Papers, 1929-1973; item description, dates. A-17, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


VMD was born in Russia to parents who later fled from the Bolshevik revolution. Educated at Radcliffe College (AB '25, Ph.D. '28), she joined the staff of the Foreign Policy Association, where she spent most of her professional life. The Association, founded in 1918, provided unbiased, factual information on foreign affairs to the American public. In 1933 she became Editor of Research Publications; from 1938 to 1961 she was Research Director and, from 1951 to 1961, she also served as Editor of Foreign Policy Bulletin.
VMD's reputation as an author, editor, and specialist in international relations enabled her to find additional work as a consultant and teacher. In 1943 and 1945 she served on the U.S. delegations to the founding conferences of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and the United Nations. In 1954-1962, VMD directed the Non-Western Civilization Program at the University of Rochester. After her retirement from the Foreign Policy Association she served as Professor of International Development at New York University's Graduate School of Public Administration from 1962 to 1971. For further biographical information, see Notable American Women: The Modern Period, the Schlesinger Library's Biography File, and the card catalogue of the Radcliffe College Archives.


The papers of VMD consist of biographical material, articles, travel and research notes. speeches, and typescript drafts of books and articles. The papers provide a comprehensive account of her public career beginning in 1929; some information on her early years and family life are found in the autobiographical notes and an unpublished, typescript autobiography by her mother, Nadine Micheles. Most of the collection's correspondence concerns VMD's projected articles and books or with speaking engagements. The general correspondence (see #8) includes one letter from Ada Louise Comstock regarding the Radcliffe presidency.
The subjects of VMD's writings and speeches reflect her concern, in the 30s and 40s, with European fascism and Soviet foreign policy, and, from the 50s onward, with the developmental problems of non-Western nations. Much of the latter writings deal with India as an example of the developing nations' problems. In at least one instance (see #24), the collection also documents how the commitment of VMD and the Foreign Policy Association to the disseminating of non-ideological information, at the height of the Cold War, provoked charges by conservative groups that its literature was leftwing and subversive.
Most of VMD's published work for the Foreign Policy Association, 1928-1961, can be found in Foreign Policy Reports and Foreign Policy Bulletin. Some of it is also available in the pamphlet collection of the Radcliffe College Archives.



Additional catalog entries

Comstock, Ada Louise, 1876-1973
Foreign Policy Association
Micheles, Nadine
Foreign Policy Bulletin
India--History, 1947-
Radcliffe College
United Nations
United States--Foreign relations
Soviet Union--History, 1919-