‘The Vacation Vagaries of the Diplomatic Folk’: Ambassador Hengelmüller’s Summers in Bar Harbor, ME
By Kristina Poznan
Austria-Hungary’s diplomatic seat in the United States stood, naturally, in Washington, D.C., but the capital city’s sweltering summer climate drove American politicians and foreign diplomats alike out of the city in the summer months. Among them were Ladislas Hengelmüller von Hengervár, head of Austria-Hungary’s delegation to the United States from 1894 to 1913, and his family. President Grover Cleveland established the precedent of summer escape from Washington, which continued under William McKinley. “The vacation vagaries of the diplomatic folk, including and headed by President McKinley and his cabinet, have been the principal matter of interest to the public relation to members of the corps,” opined the International monthly magazine. “These great people set the fashion for many watering places and resorts by mountain and sea, and the struggles of the proprietors to secure one or more of them are often keen.”[i] In essence, ambassadors’ comings and goings from Washington gave shape to the diplomatic year.