Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Bird, Eugene and Bird, Jerine
Eugene and Jerine Bird Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
1932-2012 (mostly 1962-1984)
15 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-15


Eugene Bird (1925-) is a retired Foreign Service Officer who served primarily in the Middle East. During Eugene Bird's tenure with the State Department, he and his family lived in Jerusalem, Beirut, Cairo, Bombay, New Delhi, and the Saudi Arabian cities of Jeddah and Dhahran. His wife, Jerine "Jerri" Bird (1926-2012), was an activist who started the nonprofit organization Partners for Peace, which sponsored speaking tours by Israeli and Palestinian women throughout the United States. The collection contains Eugene and Jerine Bird's personal and professional correspondence, subject files on the Middle East, and writings, especially pertaining to Jerine Bird's unpublished manuscript on Saudi Arabian women.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Eugene and Jerine Bird Papers primarily document the Birds' lives during Eugene's tenure with the U.S. Foreign Service, though Jerine's activities post-dating Eugene's overseas assignments are also well documented. The collection contains the Birds' incoming and outgoing correspondence with family and friends, along with some professional correspondence. It also includes their subject files, mostly pertaining to social and economic conditions in the Middle East in the 1970s (especially in Saudi Arabia), and articles, poetry, speeches, and other writings on the Middle East and various topics. Of particular note are the drafts and research materials related to Jerine's unpublished book on the changing roles of Saudi Arabian women in the late twentieth century.

Please see the series descriptions in the contents list for additional information about individual series.


The collection has been arranged into four series:

Collection Creator Biography:

Bird, Eugene

Biography of Eugene Bird

Eugene Bird (1925-2019) worked for the U.S. State Department for nearly twenty-five years. Born in Spokane, Washington, Bird enlisted in the Navy at age 18 in 1943. After serving in the Navy for two years following World War II, Bird studied journalism at the University of Oregon in Eugene. His first positions were with the United Press and a small local newspaper. Eugene Bird's wife, Jerine "Jerri" Bird (1926-2012), traveled with her husband on his Foreign Service assignments. She was born in Portland but primarily grew up in Eugene, Oregon.

Eugene and Jerine Bird were married in 1948, a few months after Jerine graduated from the University of Oregon. They traveled to Stockholm in the fall of 1950 so both could attend the University of Sweden. Upon their return from Stockholm, Eugene enrolled in graduate school in the United States, specializing in the economic history of Europe.

In 1952, Eugene Bird became an intern in the U.S. State Department, where he first worked in the public affairs and personnel offices. He was transferred to the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in 1953. Bird entered the Foreign Service in 1955 and was assigned to the political desk covering Israel and Jordan.

Eugene Bird received his first international position in May 1956, serving as a vice-consul in the American Consulate General in Jerusalem. Though Jerine and their children left at the outbreak of the Suez Crisis, Eugene remained in Jerusalem until June 1958. From 1958-1961, Eugene Bird was assigned to the Foreign Service Institute, and spent much of his time there studying Arabic. His language studies continued with his next assignment in Beirut, Lebanon, where he studied at the Lebanese University.

From 1962-1965, Eugene Bird was assigned to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, serving as the economic officer for the Consulate General. In 1965, he was transferred to Cairo, Egypt, where he continued to work in economics as the commercial attaché. He and his family were evacuated from Cairo at the outbreak of the Six-Day War in 1967.

Eugene and Jerine Bird spent the remainder of 1967-1972 in India. Eugene was first the economic officer in Bombay, and later served as the commercial attaché in New Delhi. They returned to Saudi Arabia in 1972, where Eugene was the political and economic counselor in Jeddah until his retirement in 1975.

Eugene Bird was president of the Council for the National Interest (CNI) for 17 years after his retirement from the Foreign Service. The Council for the National Interest, along with its associated organization, the Council for the National Interest Foundation (CNIF), provides information and analysis on the Middle East and its relationship to the United States while promoting U.S. foreign policies that protect national interests.

Bird, Jerine

Biography of Jerrine "Jerri" Bird

Jerine "Jerri" Bird (1926-2012) was born in Portland but primarily grew up in Eugene, Oregon. A few months after graduating from the University of Oregon in 1948, she married Eugene Bird (1925-).

From 1956 to 1975, Jerine Bird traveled with her husband and their children on his Foreign Service assignments in Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and India.

In 1989, Jerine Bird founded the nonprofit organization Partners for Peace. The group promoted the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and advocated for human rights in both Israel and Palestine. Partners for Peace was known for its U.S. speaking tours featuring Israeli and Palestinian women. The organization disbanded in 2011.

Jerine Bird was also an administrator at Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. from 1989-1996. She authored a book chapter, titled "Revolution for Children in Saudi Arabia," that was published in Children in the Muslim Middle East (University of Texas Press, 1995). Beginning in the 1980s, she researched and wrote drafts of a book about Saudi Arabian women.

Jerine Bird died in Washington, D.C. at age 86. She and Eugene had four children, Christina, Kai, Nancy, and Shelly.

Collection History


This collection was donated by Kai Bird in December 2015. The accession number associated with this donation is ML.2015.040.


Approximately 1.5 linear feet of personal materials or materials otherwise outside of the scope of the collection were returned to the donor.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Rachel Van Unen in January 2016 at the time of accessioning. A folder list was created and all materials were described in a finding aid. Some materials were reboxed or refoldered, but no physical rearrangement was done at this time.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, any copyright vested in the donor has passed to Princeton University and researchers are free to move forward with use of materials without anything further from Mudd Library. For materials not created by the donor, where the copyright is not held by the University, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. In these instances, researchers do not need anything further from the Mudd Library to move forward with their use. If you have a question about who owns the copyright for an item, you may request clarification by contacting 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:

Eugene and Jerine Bird 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 1-15