First female U.S. ambassador, 87, dies

WASHINGTON (AP) —Eugenie Anderson, the nation’s first woman ambassador and an organizer of Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, died at her home in Red Wing, Minn. She was 87.
Anderson, who was ambassador to Denmark from 1949 to 1953, was popular with the Danish people and proved that women could be serious diplomats, historians say.
She later became the first woman to serve as chief of mission to an eastern European country when President Kennedy sent her to Bulgaria in 1962.
“She was an excellent role model for other women,” Ann Miller Morin, who wrote a history of U.S. women diplomats, said Tuesday. “She was a very professional woman, and she was a very serious woman.”
Anderson, who died Monday, had no diplomatic experience before becoming an ambassador. She helped Hubert Humphrey organize the merger of the Democratic and Farmer-Labor parties in the 1940s and served as the state’s Democratic national committeewoman.
“She was the one above anyone else (in the DFL) who knew and understood foreign affairs,” said Jane Freeman, wife of former Minnesota Gov. Orville Freeman.
While in Denmark, she became the first woman to sign a treaty on behalf of the United States when she completed a trade and navigation agreement with the Danish, according to a State Department history account of female diplomats.
Later, Anderson served in the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, and she was a special assistant to Secretary of State Dean Rusk in 1968.
A 1972 article in the Red Wing Republican Eagle provided her view on why women had not made greater strides to that point: “One of the big problems of women is that many lack self-confidence.”