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MacVeagh, Lincoln, 1890-1972
Lincoln MacVeagh Papers
Public Policy Papers
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3 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-3


The papers of Lincoln MacVeagh (1890-1972) relate to his diplomatic career as Minister to Greece (1933-1942) and Ambassador to the exiled Greek and Yugoslav Governments in Cairo (1943-1944) and his return to Athens as Ambassador to Greece (1944-1947). The papers contain typed transcripts of portions of diaries during much of the above described period (with the exclusion of personal and family matters found in the original diaries). The papers also contain copies of correspondence between Ambassador MacVeagh and President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1932-1945) from the National Archives and the Roosevelt Library as well as dispatches and telegrams from MacVeagh to the State Department (1933-1940) which relate primarily to political and diplomatic events in Greece and Yugoslavia.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of papers of MacVeagh relating to his diplomatic career as minister to Greece (1933-1942), ambassador to the exiled Greek and Yugoslav governments in Cairo (1943-1944), and returning ambassador to Greece (1944-1947). Included are typed transcripts of portions of diaries covering much of this diplomatic period (1939-1945); dispatches and telegrams to the State Department (1933-1940) concerning primarily political and diplomatic events in Greece, such as General John Metaxas's dictatorship, and Yugoslavia; and copies of his correspondence with President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) from the National Archives and the Roosevelt Library.

Collection Creator Biography:

MacVeagh, Lincoln, 1890-1972

Lincoln MacVeagh was born October 1, 1890, in Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island, the son of Charles and Fanny Davenport (Rogers) MacVeagh. The family name, MacVeagh, stands out in the history of American statecraft. His father, Charles, was President Calvin Coolidge's Ambassador to Japan; his grandfather, Wayne MacVeagh, was Attorney General in President James A. Garfield's Cabinet and his great-uncle, Franklin MacVeagh, was President William Howard Taft's Secretary of the Treasury. MacVeagh graduated from the Groton School in 1909 and Harvard, magna cum laude, in 1913. He studied languages at the Sorbonne in 1913-14 and was fluent in German, French, Spanish, Latin and Classical Greek.

MacVeagh married Margaret Charlton Lewis, the daughter of a distinguished linguist, on August 17, 1917. She was a serious student of classical languages. Their daughter, Margaret Ewen MacVeagh, accompanied her parents on various tours of duty. Mrs. MacVeagh died on September 9, 1947. In May 1955, MacVeagh remarried Mrs. Virginia Ferrante Coats, daughter of Marchese and Marchesa Ferrante di Ruffano of Naples, Italy.

A member of the American Expeditionary Force in World War I, Major MacVeagh served in the Artois, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne campaigns and was cited by General of the Armies John J. Pershing in 1919 for "exceptionally meritorious services." After World War I, he became a director of the Henry Holt Company, a publishing firm, which he left in 1923 to found the Dial Press.

In 1933, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed MacVeagh Minister to Greece, he followed presentation of his credentials with a speech in classical Greek. After leaving Athens in June 1941, several months after the German Army overran Greece, MacVeagh was appointed the first United States Minister to Iceland. In 1942, he became Minister to the Union of South Africa and successfully coordinated the American wartime agencies there. In 1943, he was sent to Cairo as Ambassador to the exiled Greek and Yugoslav Governments, then returned to liberated Athens as Ambassador in 1944. His secret testimony on the danger of Soviet-supported extreme leftist movements in the Balkans before Congress in 1947 was considered an important factor in formulating what became known as the Truman Doctrine, and he urged the post-war Greek Government to pursue a democratic policy. In 1948, he was named Ambassador to Portugal, and he helped to obtain its admittance into the Atlantic Pact groups of nations. In 1952, President Harry S. Truman named him Ambassador to Spain.

MacVeagh conducted excavations beneath the Acropolis and made archaeological contributions to the National Museum in Athens. With his first wife, he wrote Greek Journey, a book for children.

He retired in 1953 as envoy in Madrid after having conducted successful negotiations for military and economic agreements between the United States and Spain. MacVeagh died on January 15, 1972, at a nursing home in Adelphi, Maryland at the age of 81. He was survived by his wife and daughter, Margaret (Mrs. Samuel E. Torne) of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Collection History


The collection was a gift from Professor John O. Iatrides, Southern Connecticut State University, who published portions of the wartime diaries, diplomatic reports, and other official documents in a book which he edited. Princeton University Press published the book, entitled Ambassador MacVeagh Reports, Greece, 1933-1947 in 1980 .


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jean Holliday in 1992. Finding aid written by Jean Holliday in 1992.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Lincoln MacVeagh Papers; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-3