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COLLECTION Identifier: 2007-M122

Papers of Elizabeth Ann Swift, 1979-1982


Papers of Elizabeth Ann Swift, Foreign Service officer and former hostage in Iran.


  • 1979-1982

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is closed while being processed. Written permission of Paul Cronin is required. Upon his death, written permission must be obtained from David R. Cronin. This restriction expires on March 1, 2030, after which time the collection is open.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Elizabeth Ann Swift 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. Written permission required until March 1, 2030.


7.17 linear feet (4 cartons, 1 file box, 2 folio+ boxes)
Collection consists of Elizabeth Ann Swift's correspondence with her mother, Helen Swift, and friends, 1979-1981; letters received after her release; Swift's reflections on the hostage crisis; an oral history, December 1982; photographs; clippings and articles; two scrapbooks, etc.


Foreign Service officer and former hostage in Iran, Elizabeth Ann Swift graduated from Radcliffe College in 1962. She joined the Foreign Service in 1963 and worked in Manila and Jakarta before being assigned in 1979 to Tehran as a deputy political counselor. By chance she was the ranking officer at the American embassy when it was taken by followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and one of two women held hostage for fourteen months. After being released in 1981, Swift served in a number of consular positions abroad and was credited with improving the State Department's services to victims of terrorism and with initiating major changes to its travel advisory program. She married Paul D. Cronin in 1994 and settled in Sweet Briar, Virginia. She died in 2004 in a horseback riding accident.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2007-M122

The papers of Elizabeth Ann Swift Cronin were given to the Schlesinger Library by her widower, Paul Cronin, in July 2007.

Processing Information

Container list: July 2007

By: Paul Cronin
Link to catalog
Swift, Elizabeth Ann. Papers of Elizabeth Ann Swift, 1979-1982: A Container List
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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