This article examines the career of the United States’ first female chief of mission, Ruth Bryan Owen, Minister to Denmark (1933–36). After briefly tracing Owen’s background, it explores President Franklin Roosevelt’s pathbreaking appointment; the highlights of Owen’s Ministry, notably her practice of “people’s diplomacy”; the circumstances of her resignation; and her strengths and weaknesses as an envoy. It concludes that although Owen was not a brilliant diplomat, she was extremely popular and sufficiently effective to establish firmly the precedent of female appointments, and thus deserves recognition as an important pioneer in eroding the male domination of American diplomacy. The author gratefully acknowledges the comments of Soo Chun Lu, the support of Pennsylvania State University, and the research assistance of Michelle Terzigni.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Plant Science