About Robert Helyer Thayer
Robert Helyer Thayer (22 September 1901 – 26 January 1984) was an American lawyer, naval officer and diplomat.
Thayer was born in Southborough, Massachusetts, the son of Rev. William Greenough Thayer (1863–1934), headmaster of St. Mark's School from 1894–1930, and Violet Otis Thayer (1871–1962). He attended St. Mark's School, then studied for degrees from Amherst College and Harvard University. His elder brother, Sigourney Thayer (1896–1944), was a theatrical producer, aviator and poet.
Thayer practiced law in New York City under Gen William Joseph Donovan.
Thayer assisted Charles Lindbergh's lead lawyer, Col. Henry S. Breckinridge on the famous Lindbergh kidnapping case in 1932, staying at the Charles A Lindbergh residence in Hopewell, NJ, until the body of the child was found on 12 May 1932. Bruno Richard Hauptmann was executed for this crime in 1936.
During World War II, Thayer was commissioned in the US Navy. He was an intelligence officer in the South Pacific early in the war and then went to Europe, where he took part in the invasions of Normandy and southern France. He returned to the Pacific in time for the invasion of the Philippines.
In 1945, he was an assistant to John Foster Dulles, who became secretary of state in the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration, at the organizing conference of the United Nations at San Francisco.
In 1950, he began his formal career in diplomacy, as an assistant to the US Ambassador to France. From 1955 – 1958, US minister to Romania and then went to the State Department as assistant secretary for educational and cultural affairs.
Thayer was appointed a trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation from 1966 and was vice-chairman from 1975 – 1977.
He died in Washington DC on 26 January 1984 of leukemia.
He married Virginia Pratt (1905–1979) in 1926. She was the daughter of lawyer, financier and philanthropist John Teele Pratt and Congresswoman Ruth Baker Pratt.
They had three children:
1.Robert H. Thayer, Jr.
2.Stephen Badger Thayer
3.Sally Sears Thayer