Letters of a Diplomat’s Wife, 1883-1900: Mission to London and Moscow

by Mary King Waddingto

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Mary Alsop King Waddington was born on April 28, 1833 in New York City. The daughter of a prominent academic and politician, Charles King, Mary enjoyed a life of great privilege. It helped that her grandfather, Rufus King, was a US Senator, and a one-time presidential candidate, running as a Federalist.

Her family had many ties to Europe, as her father had studied at Harrow, School in England, alongside such figures as Lord Byron. Mary’s brother became an American Minister to European missions, operating out of Rome.

In 1871, Mary traveled abroad with her family, moving to France and eventually meeting her husband, William Henry Waddington in Paris. Mary wrote extensively, often about her life as the wife of a diplomat. Her husband became the Prime Minister of France in 1879, and served in several other diplomatic positions afterwards. In addition to this work, Letters of a Diplomat’s Wife, Mary also penned Italian Letters of a Diplomat’s Wife (1905), Chateau and Country Life in France (1909) and My First Years as a Frenchwoman (1914). She also had several articles published in popular magazines, such as Scibner’s Magazine. During World War I, she raised funds to helped displaced refugees and soldiers. She passed away in Paris on June 30, 1923.