Madeleine Albright to Speak at Wellesley College About ‘Read My Pins’

The former U.S. Secretary of State and Wellesley alumna will discuss her famous pin collection and foreign policy.

madeleine albright snake pin

Hillary Clinton won’t be the only former U.S. Secretary of State signing copies of her book in the area on Monday.

Madeleine Albright, who served as Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton, was the first female to hold the position, and she’ll be at Wellesley College on Monday night for a special talk called “Pins and Diplomacy” with the school’s president, H. Kim Bottomly.

Albright, a Wellesley alumna (class of ’59), penned Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box in 2009. The illustrated memoir recounts how Albright used her jewelry as part of her “personal diplomatic arsenal” and comes complete with a “Pindex.”

Albright explains in the book that her tactic “would never have happened if not for Saddam Hussein.” After criticizing the dictator when she was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Hussein’s poet-in-residence responded by calling her “an unparalleled serpent.”

Not long after, while preparing to meet with Iraqi officials, Albright wore a now-famed snake pin (above). The move made a splash in the media, and Albright began wearing other pins to express her mood or to make political statements at public events.

The collection that resulted, more than 200 jeweled pins, make up the traveling exhibit “Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection,” now on view at the Davis Museum in Wellesley. The collection includes hearts, flowers, birds, butterflies, and much more—and yes, there are a lot of stars and stripes in the collection too.


Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection” will be on view through July 20 at the Davis Museum, 106 Central St., Wellesley, 781-283-2051, $18 regular admission for timed tickets.

Madeleine Albright’s talk, “Pins and Diplomacy,” takes place Monday, June 16, at 7 p.m. and will be live-streamed on Wellesley’s website.