Professor Dulles Dies at Age 95
Posted: June 27, 2008
John W. F. Dulles, who taught at the University of Texas for more than forty-five years, died June 23, 2008, in San Antonio at the age of 95. His wife of sixty-eight years, Eleanor Ritter Dulles, preceded him in death four days earlier, on June 19.
Born in Auburn, New York, in 1913, Professor Dulles was the eldest son of former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. His early career was in mining, beginning at the Duquesne mine in Patagonia, Arizona, followed by work as assistant general manager at Cia. Minera de Peñoles in Monterrey, Mexico. His interest in Mexico led to his first book, Yesterday in Mexico: A Chronicle of the Revolution 1919–1936. Following his job at Peñoles, he became executive vice president of Cia. Mineracão Novalimense in Belo Horizonte, which in turn led to his lifelong interest in Brazil and more than twelve books on its history.
Upon his return to the U.S. in 1962, he became Professor of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas, and from 1966–91, also at the University of Arizona. In spring 2008, Professor Dulles had just finished his forty-fifth year of teaching at UT; he was preparing his fall course material at the time of his death. Among his numerous publications was his most recent book, the second of a two-volume biography, Resisting Brazil's Military Regime: An Account of the Battles of Sobral Pinto, published by the University of Texas Press in 2007.
Jonathan Brown, Professor of History and LLILAS Associate Director, was a former student of Professor Dulles. He recalls an amusing anecdote from the 1960s: “Beginning in the ‘60s, Jack would teach at UT in the fall and at Arizona in the spring. I was in the History M.A. program at Arizona, and in spring 1968 I took his ‘Communism in Brazil’ course. Because Jack had interviewed most of the politicians he studied for his books, he always spiced up his lectures with wonderful anecdotes. His famous uncle, Allen Dulles, dropped by the classroom one day and sat in the back row. As Jack was telling an interesting story about Getúlio Vargas, I glanced back at the former Director of the CIA to see how he was enjoying his nephew’s humorous sidebars. Uncle Allen was fast asleep.” Uncle Allen notwithstanding, Professor Dulles will be remembered as a dedicated scholar and stimulating teacher who will be greatly missed by his many friends, students, and colleagues at the University of Texas.
For Professor Dulles’s complete obituary, visit jwfdulles.blogspot.com.