M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy) Fisher, 1908-

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M.F.K. Fisher, author and food writer, was born Mary Frances Kennedy in Albion, Michigan, on July 3, 1908. She was the oldest of Rex Breton Kennedy and Edith Oliver (Holbrook) Kennedy's four children: Mary Frances, Anne (1910-ca.1965), Norah (born 1917), and David (1919-ca.1942). In 1912, the family moved to Whittier, California, where Rex became the owner and editor of the Whittier News .

Kennedy met Alfred Young Fisher while she was attending the University of California, Los Angeles. They were married September 5, 1929, and spent three years in France while he completed his doctorate and she studied at the University of Dijon and in Strasbourg. The Fishers returned to California in 1932 and were divorced in 1939.

Fisher married Dillwyn (Timmy) Parrish on May 12, 1939. Encouraged by Parrish, Fisher published her first book, Serve It Forth, in 1937, and a second, Consider the Oyster, in 1941. Afflicted with Buerger's disease, Parrish committed suicide on August 6, 1941.

While working as a screenwriter for Paramount Studios, Fisher had an affair and became pregnant. She secretly spent the final months of her pregnancy in Altadena, California. Anne Kennedy Parrish, who later changed her name to Anna, was born August 15, 1943, and was introduced to Fisher's family and friends as her adopted daughter.

Fisher's last marriage was to publisher Donald Friede on May 19, 1945. Their daughter, Mary Kennedy Friede, was born March 12, 1946; they divorced in 1951.

Anna Kennedy Parrish had a son, Jean Christopher Parrish (born ca.1965) with Michel Chanderli. She later married Stephen Metz. Their son, Matthew (born 1970), was raised by Stephen when they divorced. Anna also had a daughter, Sylvie Elizabeth Parrish, who was born in 1974. Mary Kennedy Friede, known as "Kennedy," married Jim Wright; in 1968, they had a son, Sybren Alexis "Alex" Wright.

Fisher was a prolific writer. She wrote more than twenty books, including A Cordiall Water (1961), With Bold Knife and Fork (1969), As They Were (1982), and Sister Age (1983). For more than 45 years she wrote essays and short stories for numerous publications, including The Atlantic Monthly, House Beautiful, and The Saturday Review . Her column "Gastronomy Recalled" appeared in The New Yorker regularly from 1968 to 1969.

In the last years of her life, Fisher lived at "Last House" on David Pleydell-Bouvarie's ranch in Glen Ellen, California. She died on June 22, 1992, of Parkinson's disease.

From the guide to the Papers, 1860-1995 (inclusive) 1929-1992 (bulk), (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Papers of M.F.K. Fisher, 1860-1995 (inclusive) 1929-1992 (bulk) Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
Role Title Holding Repository
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Place Name Admin Code Country
Whittier (Calif.)
Aging--Social aspects


Birth 1908

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