David Campion Acheson


David Campion Acheson
Born(1921-11-04)November 4, 1921
DiedAugust 16, 2018(2018-08-16) (aged 96)
Washington, D.C.
EducationGroton School
Alma materYale University
Harvard Law School
Spouse(s)Patricia Castles (m. 1943–2000; her death)
ChildrenEleanor D. Acheson
David C. Acheson Jr.
Peter W. Acheson
Parent(s)Dean Gooderham Acheson
Alice Stanley
RelativesEdward Campion Acheson (grandfather)
William Gooderham (2x great grandfather)
William Bundy (brother-in-law)
Emily C. Hewitt (daughter-in-law)

David Campion Acheson (November 4, 1921 – August 16, 2018) was an American attorney. Son of onetime United States Secretary of State Dean Acheson, he worked for the United States Atomic Energy Commission and served as an assistant to former Treasury Secretary Henry H. Fowler.

Early life and education

David Campion Acheson was born in Washington, D.C. on November 4, 1921 to Dean Acheson (1893–1971) and Alice Caroline Stanley (1895–1996). At the time of his birth, Acheson's father was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis.[1] His parents had three children: (1) Jane Acheson (1919–2003), who married Dudley Brown (?-1975),[2] (2) David Campion Acheson, and (3) Mary Eleanor Acheson (born 1924), who married William Bundy (1917–2000), an attorney, analyst with the CIA, and foreign affairs adviser to presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson[3][4]

Acheson attended the Groton School, graduating in 1939.[5] In the fall of '39, Acheson entered Yale University and joined the Naval ROTC. While he was at Yale, he was inducted in the honor society of Skull and Bones,[6] ultimately graduating in 1942. In 1948, Acheson received a law degree (LL.B.) from Harvard.[7]


Acheson's paternal grandfather was Edward Campion Acheson (1858–1934), an English-born Church of England priest who, after several years in Canada, moved to the U.S. to become Episcopal Bishop of Connecticut. Acheson's paternal grandmother was Eleanor Gertrude Gooderham, the Canadian-born granddaughter of prominent Canadian distiller William Gooderham (1790–1881), who was a founder of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery.[8]

Acheson's mother Alice was a painter, and his maternal grandparents were Louis Stanley, a railroad lawyer and Jane C. Stanley, was a watercolorist. His great-grandfather was John Mix Stanley (1814–1872), a renowned painter of American Indian life in the Wild West.[9] His mother graduated from Wellesley College and over the years exhibited her oil paintings and watercolors at New York's Wildenstein and Washington's Franz Bader Gallery, and in such museums as the Corcoran and the Phillips Collection.[10] Her subjects included scenes of Washington, portraits and landscapes of exotic lands she visited over the years.[9]


Military service

In 1942, he was commissioned in the Navy and served until 1946 in the Pacific theater. He saw action in the Solomon Islands, New Guinea and the Philippines. He was ensign to Lieutenant and served on destroyer escorts from 1943 through 1945. For his service he was awarded 4 battle stars.[7]

Government service

From 1948 until 1950, worked as an attorney for the United States Atomic Energy Commission. From 1961 until 1965, he was the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.[11] In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that Acheson was resigning from the U.S. Attorneys office to become a special assistant in the United States Secretary of the Treasury, under Henry H. Fowler.[11] From 1965, until he left the Treasury in 1967, Acheson was responsible for coordinating the Treasury's law enforcement activity.[12] The job included overseeing the Secret Service and the Bureau of Narcotics as well as providing technical guidance for enforcement activities of the Bureau of Customs, Coast Guard and Internal Revenue Service.

Post-government service

After he left the Treasury Department, he served as senior vice president of Communications Satellite Corporation, until he left for the law firm of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in 1974.[12] From 1989 until 1991, he was a director of the Institute for Technology and Strategic Research with George Washington University.[7] From 1991 until 1992, Acheson was a consultant to the Atlantic Council and in 1993, through 1999, he served as its president and chief executive officer, as well as serving its board of directors.[7]

Acheson practiced law for many years at various firms in Washington, DC.[7]

Personal life

In 1943, Acheson married Patricia James Castles who was from New York and a graduate of Bryn Mawr College.[13] Together they had 3 children:[13]

Patricia taught at the Cathedral School from 1959 until the mid-1960s and had earlier taught at the Potomac and Madeira Schools. She wrote books for students of American history including America's Colonial Heritage, Our Federal Government, and The Supreme Court.[13] She died of emphysema on March 7, 2000.[13]

Acheson resided in the Foggy Bottom section of Washington, D.C., and served on many government committees including the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle "Challenger" Accident.[7]

Acheson died at home in Washington, D.C. on August 16, 2018 at the age of 96.[18]

Published works


  1. ^ Beisner (2006)
  2. ^ Cohen, Stephen J. (December 1, 1985). "Acheson's Daughter Lives Life Out Of The Limelight". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  3. ^ William P. Bundy. A Tangled Web: The Making of Foreign Policy in the Nixon presidency. pp. xiv.
  4. ^ Martin, Douglas (October 7, 2000). "William P. Bundy, 83, Dies; Advised 3 Presidents on American Policy in Vietnam". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Distinguished Grotonians". groton.org. Groton School. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  6. ^ Samuelson, J.D., Eric. "YALE'S SKULL & BONES SOCIETY MEMBERS TO 2006". biblebelievers.org. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "David C. Acheson Resume" (PDF). dcchs.org. Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  8. ^ David S. McClellan, Dean Acheson: The State Department Years (1976) pp 8–12
  9. ^ a b Weil, Martin (January 22, 1996). "ALICE STANLEY ACHESON DIES AT 100". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  10. ^ Miall, Leonard (January 24, 1996). "OBITUARY:Alice Acheson". The Independent. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  11. ^ a b Staff (August 12, 1965). "Acheson's Son Gets Treasury Post". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  12. ^ a b Staff (February 8, 1967). "David Acheson Resigning". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  13. ^ a b c d e Staff (March 9, 2000). "Patricia C. Acheson". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Eleanor Dean Acheson" (PDF). americanbar.org. American Bar Association. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  15. ^ Staff (January 21, 2010). "Six New Members Join Westover's Board of Trustees" (ALUMNAE/SCHOOL NEWS). Westover School. Archived from the original on 2016-03-19. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  16. ^ Staff (July 6, 1986). "Susan D. Sturges To Wed Sept. 28". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  17. ^ Staff (December 29, 1983). "Mary Vaux Weds Peter W. Acheson". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  18. ^ David Campion Acheson Obituary
  • Beisner, Robert L. Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War. (New York: OUP USA, 2006), 800 pp.

External links

  • Acheson's Resume
  • Distinguished Grotonians
  • David Campion Acheson at Find a Grave
  • Appearances on C-SPAN