Princeton Meets the Near East: John Van Antwerp MacMurray’s Ambassadorship in Turkey

By Diana Dayoub ’21

The connections between Princeton and the Near East are not self-evident. My tentative effort to uncover some link between the North American university I consider home now and the part of the Orient where I was born and raised seemed almost futile until I discovered the John Van Antwerp MacMurray Papers (MC094). John Van Antwerp MacMurray, a member of Princeton’s class of 1902 and a career diplomat, served as the United States’ ambassador to Turkey from 1936 to 1942. He was previously appointed minister to China from 1925 to 1929 and minister to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania from 1933 to 1936. The part of this collection that concerns Turkey includes MacMurray’s family correspondence (notably with his two sisters Edna and Ethel, with whom he was very close), photographs that capture the breathtaking scenery of mountainous Turkey, and negatives that are yet to be digitized.

John Van Antwerp MacMurray in Turkey. John Van Antwerp MacMurray Papers (MC094), Box 151.

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