Churchill, Jennie Jerome


Churchill, Jennie Jerome

▪ British socialite and writer
née  Jeanette Jerome , formally  Lady Randolph Churchill 
born Jan. 9, 1854, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.
died June 29, 1921, London, Eng.

      American-born society figure, remembered chiefly as the wife of Lord Randolph Churchill (Churchill, Lord Randolph) and mother of Sir Winston Churchill (Churchill, Sir Winston), prime minister of Great Britain (1940–45, 1951–55).

      Jeanette Jerome was the daughter of a prosperous American financier and a socially ambitious mother. In 1867 she and her two sisters were taken to Paris by their mother following a scandalous escapade involving their father, and her education and introduction to society followed the manner of the European upper classes. In 1873 she met and charmed young Lord Randolph Churchill, son of the duke of Marlborough, and they were married in 1874. Her American vivacity, her wit, and her beauty assured her of social success in London. She took no active part in her husband's political career, and his death in 1895 left her for some time at loose ends.

      In 1899 Churchill founded and edited the few numbers of the lavish but short-lived Anglo-Saxon Review. During the Boer War she raised money for and staffed and equipped a hospital ship, the Maine, which did valuable work in South Africa. She also turned to writing, producing a volume of discreet Reminiscences of Lady Randolph Churchill (1908); Her Borrowed Plumes (1909), a play starring Mrs. Patrick Campbell; The Bill (1913), another play; and Short Talks on Big Subjects (1916), a collection of articles originally published in Pearson's Magazine. She married two more times and in her later years grew increasingly eccentric.

Additional Reading
Biographies include Anita Leslie, Lady Randolph Churchill (also published as Jennie, 1969); Ralph G. Martin, Jennie, 2 vol. (1969–71); and Peregrine Churchill and Julian Mitchell, Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill: A Portrait with Letters (1974).

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Universalium. 2010.

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