The sitter was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1873, and was the daughter of Dr. Gustav[e] C. E. Weber (or Webber) MD (born Bonn, Germany, 26 May 1828, where he first studied medicine; he died 21 March 1912), who became the First Surgeon of the St Vincent Charity Hospital, which was founded in 1863 during the Civil War by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Cleveland, Amadeus Rappe. Weber married Ruth Elizabeth Chaney in 1854 and had two children, Carl, who also became a doctor, and Ida. He was buried in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland. Ida Weber married financier Leib Harrison Dulles who was born in Pennsylvania on 17 September 1861 to William Dulles (1825-1906) and Frances C. Harrison Dulles (1835-1884), and he died at the Lenox Hill Hospital in New York on 25 July 1921.
Mrs Ida Harrison Dulles hit the headlines in 1902 on returning from Paris on the ocean liner the Kronprinz Wilhelm according to the New York Evening World, Friday 21 November 1902. She was required to appear in court for having failed to declare a $26,000 (65,000 French francs) rope of pearls she had acquired at Tiffany in Paris and which were seized by a government agent from around her neck as she left the ship for the pier where her husband, who had returned on an earlier vessel, was waiting for his wife. She denied that she had intended to evade paying the government the duty, and had declared them as “wearing apparel” but the judge ruled in favour of the government. The New York Sun the same day stated that the necklace contained 246 pearls. She won the right to appeal according to the New York Sun, Thursday, 11 June 1903 and the second trial was reported in the New York Sun, Thursday 2 June 1904 which she subsequently won. The New York Sun, 12 May 1905, reported that the pearls were only returned to her the previous day.
Mrs Dulles was described during the first hearing in The New York Evening World, 20 November 1902, as having “large gray eyes, with sweeping lashes, and a peach like complexion. Her features are small and regular, her form petite and graceful.”
The bust-length portrait by Muller-Ury was reproduced in an anonymous cutting in the artist’s papers in February 1903. She is seen prominently wearing a long string of pearls!
The sitter had a son called L. Harrison Dulles Jr. (born in Philadelphia in 1899) who was married to Grace Thorne Crossman on 19 August 1921, shortly after the death of his father, but applied to divorce in 1922. L. Harrison Dulles Jr. was reported in the New York Tribune on March 7, 1920 as the guest of honour of the Rainy Day Club at the Hotel Astor in New York the previous Wednesday, playing the violin, accompanied by Mrs James. N. Burt. He was also apparently a passionate collector of watches and a regular client of Breguet of Paris. He died in 1971 in Montreux, Switzerland, where he is buried.