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COLLECTION Identifier: 82-M28

Papers of Avis Howard Thayer Bohlen, 1929-1981


Correspondence, travel diaries, photographs, etc., of Avis Howard Thayer Bohlen, member of the Association of American Foreign Service Women.


  • 1929-1981

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Avis Howard Thayer Bohlen is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


6 linear feet ((6 cartons) plus 2 folio folders)
This collection consists of Avis Howard Thayer Bohlen'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.


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. Bohlen 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.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 82-M28

This collection was given to the Schlesinger Library by Avis T. Bohlen daughter of Avis Thayer Bohlen, in March 1982.

Container List

  1. Carton 1: #1-29
  2. Carton 2: #30-60
  3. Carton 3: #61-87
  4. Carton 4: #88-111
  5. Carton 5: #112v-130v
  6. Carton 6: #131-154v

Processing Information

Preliminary inventory: June, 1982

By: Jane S. Knowles
Link to catalog
Bohlen, Avis Howard Thayer, 1912-1981. Papers of Avis Howard Thayer Bohlen, 1929-1981: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future.

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