Mitford, Jessica, 1917-1996

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Anglo-American memoirist, social commentator, journalist and author.

From the description of Papers, 1949-1973 (bulk 1961-1973). (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122452906

Jessica Mitford, a.k.a. Decca, was a writer and one of the famous Mitford sisters, daughters of the 2nd Baron Redesdale. Her books include two autobiographies: Daughters and rebels and A fine old conflict. Her many investigative works include: The American way of death, The trial of Dr. Spock, Kind and usual punishment: the prison business, Poison penmanship, and The American way of birth.

From the description of Jessica Mitford collection, ca. 1934-1996. (Ohio State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 61400068

Born September 11, 1917, in Batsford, Gloucestershire, England, Jessica Mitford is one of the six daughters of the Baron of Redesdale. The Mitfords are a well-known English family with a reputation for eccentricity. Of the Mitford sisters, Nancy achieved notoriety as a novelist and biographer. Diana married Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British fascists before World War II. Unity, also a fascist sympathizer, attempted suicide when Britain and Germany went to war. Deborah became the Duchess of Devonshire. Jessica, whose political bent ran opposite to that of her sisters, ran away to Loyalist Spain with her cousin, Esmond Romilly, during the Spanish Civil War. Jessica eventually married Romilly, who was killed during World War II. In 1943, Mitford married a labor lawyer, Robert Treuhaft, while working for the Office of Price Administration in Washington, D.C. The couple soon moved to Oakland, California, where they joined the Communist Party. In California, Mitford worked as executive secretary for the Civil Rights Congress and taught sociology at San Jose State University. After resigning from the Communist Party in 1958, Mitford devoted her time to writing.

Mitford's first book, Lifeitselfmanship, was privately published in 1956. Her autobiography, Daughters and Rebels (1960), recounts her childhood and first marriage. The American Way of Death (1963), Mitford's first investigative study, exposes the avarice and commercialism of the American funeral industry. Although bitterly denounced by the industry itself, the book was Mitford's most successful and was used as the basis for a CBS television documentary, The Great American Funeral. Mitford's second investigative study, The Trial of Dr. Spock (1969), concludes with the observation that American conspiracy laws threaten citizens' civil rights. Kind and Usual Punishment: The Prison Business (1973) launches a diatribe against the American penal system. Mitford condemns sentencing procedures, the parole system, and the use of prisoners in psychological and physiological research.

In 1977, Mitford published A Fine Old Conflict, a sequel to her autobiography, which traces her involvement with the Communist Party in America. Her latest work, Poison Penmanship: The Gentle Art of Muckraking (1979), is an anthology of her investigative articles as they have appeared over the years in such magazines as Life, Esquire, Nation, and the San Francisco Chronicle . These articles have earned Mitford the title Queen of Muckrakers.

From the guide to the Jessica Mitford Papers TXRC91-A11., 1949-73, (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center University of Texas at Austin)

daughter of 2nd Baron Redesdale

Epithet: afterwards Romilly afterw Treuhaft

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000265.0x0002b3

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Atlantic (Firm : Boston, Mass.). Records, 1969-1974. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992. Typed letter signed with initials : Last House [Glen Ellen, California], to David Pleydell-Bouverie, 1979 Aug. 27. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Curtis Brown Ltd. Curtis Brown Ltd. records, 1914-1992. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Harper's magazine records, 1847-1983 (bulk 1940-1983). Library of Congress
creatorOf Tilden, Gladys, 1900-. Gladys Tilden papers, 1875-1982. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Monterey Public Library. California History Room. Authors clippings : "GROUP" folder 1942-1991. Monterey Public Library
creatorOf Mitford, Jessica, 1917-1996. Jessica Mitford collection, ca. 1934-1996. Ohio State University Libraries
referencedIn Robert Manning papers, 1938-1993. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992. Typed letter signed with initials : Last House [Glen Ellen, California], to David Pleydell-Bouverie, 1977 Aug. 13. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Mitford, Jessica, 1917-1996. Papers, 1949-1973 (bulk 1961-1973). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992. Autograph note signed with initials : [Glen Ellen, California], to David Pleydell-Bouverie, [197-]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf DeLappe, Pele, 1916-. Pele deLappe oral history and supporting materials, 1991-2001. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn James O. Brown Associates Records, 1927-1992. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
creatorOf Edward Upward: Decca Treuhaft [Jessica Mitford], Lifeitselfmanship, 1956 British Library
creatorOf Rosenshine, Annette, 1880-1971. Annette Rosenshine papers, 1885-1998 (bulk 1907-1971). UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf HARROD PAPERS. Vol. VI (ff. 144). 1. ff. 1-99. Letters of and concerning Nancy Mitford; 1930-1990. 2. ff. 100-144. Letters of and concerning Diana, Pamela, Deborah and Unity Mitford, and Sir Oswald Mosley and Max Mosley; 1930-1984, n.d.includes:ff. 1..., 1930-1990 British Library
creatorOf MARGARET GARDINER PAPERS. Vol. V (ff. 140). Special correspondence; 1904-1988, n.d. 1. ff. 1-5. Noam Chomsky; 1967, 1969, n.d. 2. ff. 6-10. David Cornwell, al. 'John le Carré'; 1966-1973. 3. ff. 11-18. E.R. Dodds; 1972-1978. 4. ff. 19-33. Peggy Duff;..., 1904-1988 British Library
referencedIn Durr, Virginia Foster,. [Lecture and interview] [sound recording]. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Treuhaft, Robert E., 1912-. Left-wing political activist and progressive leaders in the Berkeley Co-op : oral history transcript / an interview conducted by Robert G. Larsen of Moraga, California in 1988-1989. Transcribed by Berkeley Oral History Project of the Berkeley Historical Society, 1990. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Papers, 1919-1991 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn James O. Brown Associates. James O. Brown Associates records, 1927-1992. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Belfrage, Sally, 1936-. Papers, 1903-1994 (bulk 1960-1990). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Durr family. Papers, 1868-1968. Alabama Department of Archives and History
creatorOf SUPPLEMENTARY HARROD PAPERS. Vol. III (ff. 191). 1. ff. 1-18v. R. H. Dundas; 1921-1959. 2. ff. 19-32. Keith Feiling; 1922-1959, n.d. 3. ff. 33-53. Jonathan Bryan Guinness, 3rd Baron Moyne; 1939-1976, n.d. 4. ff. 54-65v. Maurice Hastings; 1922-1940. 5..., 1921-1979 British Library
referencedIn Durr, Virginia Foster. Papers: Series II, 1929-1991 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn David Gascoyne papers, 1822-2010, n.d. British Library: Western Manuscripts
creatorOf Jessica Mitford Papers TXRC91-A11., 1949-73 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Mitford, Jessica, 1917-1996. Correspondence with Doris Walker and associate materials, 1951-1996. Ohio State University Libraries
referencedIn Curtis Brown, Ltd. Records, 1914-2006. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Harper's Magazine Records, 1847-1983, (bulk 1940-1983) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company correspondence, 1881-1981 (inclusive), 1940-1979 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf MARGARET GARDINER PAPERS. Vol. III (ff. 129). 'Vietnam: an American View'; 1967.includes:ff. 2, 34 Harrison Evans Salisbury, Associate Editor, 'The New York Times': Letters to Margaret Gardiner of Harrison Evans Salisbury: 1967: Signed.ff. 3, 40 ..., 1967 British Library
creatorOf Mitford, Jessica, 1917-1996. Papers, 1949-1973 (bulk 1961-1973). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Sally Belfrage Papers, Bulk, 1960-1990, 1903-1994, (Bulk 1960-1990) Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Gladys Tilden Papers, 1875-1982 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Edward Upward: Supplementary Papers, 1920-2009 British Library: Western Manuscripts
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Place Name Admin Code Country
Vietnam, South East Asia
United States
California
Subject
Prisons--California
Corrections--United States
Prisoners--Legal status, laws, etc
Trials (Conspiracy)
Undertakers and undertaking--United States
Funeral rites and ceremonies
Prisons
Corrections
Vietnam Conflict--1961-1975--Draft resisters
Chicago Seven Trial, Chicago, Ill., 1969-1970
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Draft resisters
Undertakers and undertaking
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1917-09-11

Death 1996-07-23

English

Information

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