Mary (Pillsbury) Lord, 1904-1978

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Mary Pillsbury Lord was born on November 14, 1904, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the daughter of Charles Stinson and Nelle Pendleton (Winston) Pillsbury and a descendant of the founder of the Pillsbury Flour Mills Co. She attended St. Timothy's School in Catonsville, Maryland, before enrolling in Smith College, where she majored in French and was graduated cum laude in 1927. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and later received honorary degrees from twelve institutions. She married Oswald Bates Lord, a textile manufacturer, on December 7, 1929; they had two sons, Charles Pillsbury and Winston.

MPL began her career as a volunteer social worker in Minneapolis; after her marriage, she became a volunteer case worker in New York. She was a director of the East Side Settlement House, 1939-1943, and president of the Junior League of New York, 1936-1938. In 1940, MPL became chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Women's Participation in the World's Fair. During World War II, she served as Assistant Regional Director of the Office of Civilian Defense and in 1944 was appointed chairman of the National Civilian Advisory Committee of the Women's Army Corps, which enabled her to tour army installations in the United States, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. During one of these tours she met General Dwight D. Eisenhower, for whom she campaigned as co-chairman of Citizens for Eisenhower-Nixon in the 1952 Presidential campaign.

MPL also organized and chaired the U.S. Committee for UNICEF beginning in 1947. In 1953, she was appointed by President Eisenhower to succeed Eleanor Roosevelt as the U.S. representative to the U.N. Human Rights Commission. She served as an alternate U.S. representative to the General Assembly, 1953-1959, and was appointed a U.S. representative in 1960. In connection with her work for the U.N., MPL travelled at her own expense to almost all the countries of Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. During this time she also wrote numerous articles and delivered speeches both in the United States and abroad to advocate the work of the U.N. and the Human Rights Commission.

After her resignation from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in 1961, MPL continued to travel abroad, entertain foreigners visiting the U.S., and organize volunteers. Most notably she chaired the (New York) Governor's Committee on the Education and Employment of Women and worked with the Citizens for Peace with Freedom in Vietnam Committee. She was also president of the International Rescue Committee and a governor of the Atlantic Institute. She died at home on July 21, 1978.

From the guide to the Papers, 1927-1972, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Papers, 1927-1972 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adams, Sherman, 1899- person
associatedWith Citizens for Eisenhower-Nixon Committee corporateBody
associatedWith Committee for Peace with Freedom in Vietnam corporateBody
associatedWith Cooper, John Sherman, 1901- person
associatedWith Eisenhower, Dwight David, 1890-1969 person
associatedWith Forrestal, James, 1892-1949 person
associatedWith Hoffman, Anna (Rosenberg), 1902- person
associatedWith Hoffman, Paul Gray, 1891-1974 person
associatedWith Langlie, Arthur Bernard, 1900-1966 person
associatedWith Lodge, Henry Cabot, Jr., 1902- person
associatedWith Lovett, Robert Abercrombie, 1902- person
associatedWith New York (State) Governor's Committee on the Education and Employment of Women corporateBody
associatedWith New York World's Fair, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Oettinger, Katherine (Brownell), 1903- person
associatedWith Paul, Willard Stewart, 1894-1966 person
associatedWith Robbins, Mildred, 1922- person
associatedWith Rockefeller, Nelson Aldrich, 1908-1979 person
associatedWith Smith College corporateBody
associatedWith Stassen, Harold Edward, 1907- person
associatedWith Summerfield, Arthur Ellsworth, 1899-1972 person
associatedWith U.N. Human Rights Commission corporateBody
associatedWith United Nations corporateBody
associatedWith United States Committee for UNICEF corporateBody
associatedWith Vandenberg, Arthur Hendrick, Jr., 1884-1951 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Europe-Description and travel
United States. Civilian Advisory Committee for the Women's Army Corps
Africa-Description and travel
Asia-Description and travel
Civil rights


Birth 1904

Death 1978

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Ark ID: w6gc6gbh

SNAC ID: 335658