Child, Julia, 1912-2004

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Julia Child, cookbook writer, cookery teacher, and TV personality, was born Julia Carolyn McWilliams, in Pasadena, California, on August 15, 1912. She attended the Katharine Branson School in Ross, California (1927-1930), and graduated from Smith College in 1934. She worked in public relations in New York City (1934-1941) and served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, 1941-1946). She was stationed in Ceylon, where she met her future husband, and in China.

In 1946, she married Paul Cushing Child (1902-1994). After the war, Paul worked for the U.S. Information Agency (USIA), and, while the Childs were stationed in Paris, Julia studied at the Cordon Bleu and soon opened a cooking school, L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes, with Simone Beck and Louisette Remion Bertholle. Her first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, written with Beck and Bertholle, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1961; the second volume, by Child and Beck, appeared in 1970. These books gathered together the methods and recipes of classic French cooking and introduced Americans to French cooking that worked.

In 1962 Child launched a television cooking show, The French Chef, on WGBH-TV, the Public Broadcasting System channel in Boston. This was followed by two other series of The French Chef in color (1970, 1972). She resolutely refused all offers to appear on commercial television, preferring the freedom to run the program without interference from sponsors. Two cookbooks based on the series were published: The French Chef Cookbook (Knopf, 1968; Bantam, 1972) and From Julia Child's Kitchen (Knopf, 1975; Jonathan Cape, 1978). In the television programs and the books that accompanied them, Child was able to communicate, with gusto and enthusiasm, classic techniques for cooking, showing the importance of fresh produce and ingredients and of correct kitchen equipment and cooking procedures. She won a national following and launched a revolution in cooking and eating in the United States.

Three more television series followed: Julia Child & Company (1978), Julia Child & More Company (1980), and Dinner with Julia (1982). Knopf brought out companion cookbooks for the first two of these shows. Child's next book, The Way to Cook (Knopf, 1989), was accompanied by a "how-to" video. In addition to cookbooks, she wrote regular columns for the Boston Globe, McCall's, Parade, and many articles on food or cookery in other magazines.

As a star popular entertainer, Child was much in demand for cooking demonstrations, lectures, and promotions for countless non-profit organizations. She appeared with the Boston Pops Orchestra, took part in television specials (as compère of programs about White House banquets), and appeared on talk shows and as a guest on ABC's Good Morning America .

Child always worked with a team of colleagues. First and foremost was her husband Paul, accomplished photographer, artist, and chronicler of their life together. After his retirement, he was "resident manager" for her TV shows, was responsible for black and white still photography, and contributed some of the line drawings illustrating Mastering the Art of French Cooking . Other colleagues included Ruth Lockwood, producer of her TV series; Avis DeVoto, the friend who, when Houghton Mifflin rejected the manuscript for Mastering the Art of French Cooking, sent it to Knopf, which published it; Peggy Yntema, co-author of Julia Child & Company and Julia Child & More Company ; Gladys Christopherson and Stephanie Hersch, secretaries; and a host of others who answered fan letters or helped backstage with the production of her television programs.

Child's many awards include the Peabody (1965) and Emmy (1966) for The French Chef (the first to be given to a PBS program), l'Ordre du Mérite Agricole (1967), l'Ordre National du Mérite (1976), and honorary degrees from Boston College, Bates College, Smith College, and Harvard University, among others. She received the French Legion of Honor in 2000 and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003.

The Childs maintained three homes: in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Santa Barbara, California; and in the south of France, where they built a summer home on the property of Child's colleague, Simone Beck. Paul died in 1994. Julia moved permanently to a retirement community in Santa Barbara, California in 2001; she died of kidney failure in Montecito, California, on August 13, 2004.

From the guide to the Papers of Julia Child, 1925-1993, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Records of the Office of Strategic Services. 1919 - 2002. Personnel Files. 1942 - 1945. McWilliams, Julia C.
referencedIn Papers, 1920-1993 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Records of The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, 1942-2011 Radcliffe College Archives, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Transcripts of oral history interviews, 1972-1974 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. William A. Koshland Files None., 1921-1996 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Voices from the Food Revolution: People Who Changed The Way Americans Eat, An oral history project conducted by Judith Weinraub, 2009-2011 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Carolyn Wilson Letter, 1978. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Arthur Unger collection of recorded interviews [sound recording] The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
referencedIn Avis De Voto Papers, 1929-1990 Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Monterey Public Library. California History Room. Distinguished visitors clippings 1903-2007. Monterey Public Library
referencedIn Papers, 1860-1995 (inclusive) 1929-1992 (bulk) Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Papers of Julia Child, 1925-1993 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Records, 1940-1980 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn De Voto, Avis. Letter, 1964. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Ives, David. [Interview with David Ives] [sound recording] / David Ives ; [interviewed by] David Marc, Boston, June 2, 1998. Syracuse university. 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, 1975 Oct. 8. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992. Typed letter signed : St. Helena, California, to David Pleydell-Bouverie, 1968 Sept. 1. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992. Autograph letter signed with initials : Aix-en-Provence, to David Pleydell-Bouverie, 1976 June 17. Pierpont Morgan 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, 1975 Dec. 5. Pierpont Morgan 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, 1976 Dec. 28. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Child, Julia. Papers, 1920-1993 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992. Autograph letter signed with initials : Aix-en-Provence, to David Pleydell-Bouverie, 1976 May 14. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Beck, Simone, 1904-1991. Papers, 1920-1993 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Bertholle, Louisette. Papers, 1953-1992 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Records of the Boston Young Women's Christian Association, 1858-1988 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Papers, 1795, 1837-1992 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University
referencedIn Samuel V. Chamberlain Papers 1895-1989. Peabody Essex Museum
referencedIn Chez Panisse. Chez Panisse, Inc. pictorial collection [graphic]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Les Dames d'Escoffier New York Archive, 1976-2008 Fales Library & Special Collections
creatorOf Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992. Typed letter signed with initials : Glen Ellen, California, to David Pleydell-Bouverie, 1980 Nov. 15. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Papers of Nan Robertson, 1920-2004 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Papers of the Rombauer-Becker family, 1795-1992 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Child, Julia. Audio collection of Julia Child, 1961-1995 [sound recording]. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Claiborne, Craig. Craig Claiborne collection, 1964-1979. Boston University, School of Medical
referencedIn Papers, 1952-1968 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
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 July 14. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Records of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 1928 - 2008. Moving Images Relating to Severe Storms and Recreational Activities. 1965 - 1992. The Great American Fish Story
creatorOf Child, Julia. Letter, 1975 March 28, Cambridge, Mass., to Richard Trenner, Cambridge, Mass. New England Historic Genealogical Society, NEHGS
referencedIn Jan Weimer Papers, 1974-2004 Mandeville Special Collections Library
creatorOf Bedford, Sybille, 1911-2006. Sybille Bedford Papers, 1914-2001 (bulk 1940s-1980s). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn James Beard Papers, 1903-1985 Fales Library
referencedIn Sybille Bedford Papers TXRC03-A5., 1914-2001 (bulk 1940s-1980s) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Foreign Service Spouse Oral History, Inc. Transcripts of oral history project, 1986-1993 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Additional records of the Women's Educational and Industrial Union (Boston, Mass.), 1877-2004 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Cox, Basil. [Memo, 1977 Jan. 26 : to David Newell]. Saint Vincent College, Saint Vincent Library
creatorOf Child, Julia. Collection of letters from Julia Child, 1978. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Gypsy Rose Lee papers, 1910-1970 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Additional papers of Julia Child, (inclusive), (bulk), 1890-2004, 1950-2001 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Kauffman, Mark. Papers, 1966-1992 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger 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, 1978 Feb. 1. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Records of the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, 1942-2003 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-. Papers, 1860-1995 (inclusive) 1929-1992 (bulk). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Child, Julia. Additional papers of Julia Child, 1890-2004 (inclusive) 1950-2001 (bulk). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Child, Julia. [Videotape collection] [videorecording]. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn James Beard Papers, ca. 1950-1980 Fales Library & Special Collections
creatorOf Records of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 1928 - 2008. Moving Images Relating to Severe Storms and Recreational Activities. 1965 - 1992. The Great American Fish Story
creatorOf Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992. Typed letter signed with initials : Last House [Glen Ellen, California], to David Pleydell-Bouverie, 1975 Nov. 14. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Monterey Public Library. California History Room. Biography clippings : "C" [surname] folder 1872-1989. Monterey Public 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, 1979 Nov. 13. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992. Autograph letter signed with initials : [Aix-en-Provence], to David Pleydell-Bouverie, 1976 July 19. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Noël Riley Fitch Julia Child Papers, 1912-2012 Fales Library & Special Collections
creatorOf Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992. Typed letter signed : Last House [Glen Ellen, California], to David Pleydell-Bouverie, 1980 Dec. 1. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Brownstone, Cecily. Cecily Brownstone Papers ca. 1940-2002. New York University, Fales Collection
creatorOf Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992. Typed letter signed : St. Helena, California, to David Pleydell-Bouverie, 1970 Aug. 14. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Painter, Charlotte. Charlotte Painter papers, 1955-2004. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992. Typed letter signed with initials : Last House [Glen Ellen, California], to David Pleydell-Bouverie, 1978 Nov. 9. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Charlotte Painter Papers, 1955-1992 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
creatorOf Videotape collection of Julia Child, 1979-1997 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Ferrone, John. Letters to John Ferrone, 1970-1994 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger 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, 1975 Nov. 20. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Corner Book Shop (New York, N. Y.) records, 1940-1980 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992. Typed letter signed : Bouverie Ranch [Glen Ellen, California], to David Pleydell-Bouverie, 1975 Dec. 3. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Papers of Dione Lucas, ca.1930-1995 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Typed letter signed with initials : Last House [Glen Ellen, California], to David Pleydell-Bouverie, 1979 Nov. 1. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Weimer, Jan. Jan Weimer papers, 1974-2004. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf Audio collection of Julia Child, 1961-1995 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Cecily Brownstone Papers, ca. 1940-2002 Fales Library & Special Collections
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Fitch, Noel Riley. Appetite for Life : files, 1973-1998. University of California, San Diego. University Library
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. person
associatedWith Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America. corporateBody
correspondedWith Beard, James, 1903-1985. person
associatedWith Beck, Simone, 1904-1991. person
associatedWith Bedford, Sybille, 1911-2006 person
associatedWith Bertholle, Louisette. person
associatedWith Bocuse, Paul, 1926- person
associatedWith Bohannon, Jim, person
associatedWith Boston Young Women's Christian Association (Massachusetts) corporateBody
associatedWith Brody, Lora, 1945- person
associatedWith Brownstone, Cecily. person
associatedWith Calvel, Raymond. person
associatedWith Cavett, Dick. person
associatedWith Chamberlain, Samuel V., 1895-1975. person
associatedWith Chamberlin, Narcisse. person
associatedWith Chez Panisse. corporateBody
associatedWith Child, Charles, 1902- person
spouseOf Child, Paul, 1902-1994. person
correspondedWith Claiborne, Craig. person
associatedWith Corner Book Shop (New York, N. Y.) person
associatedWith Cox, Basil. person
associatedWith David, Elizabeth, 1913-1992. person
associatedWith Deane, Martha, person
associatedWith De Voto, Avis MacVicar, 1904- person
correspondedWith Dione Lucas, 1909-1971 person
associatedWith Donahue, Phil. person
associatedWith Drummond, Geoffrey. person
associatedWith Ferrone, John. person
associatedWith Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992. person
associatedWith Fitch, Noel Riley. person
associatedWith Foreign Service Spouse Oral History, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Greenspan, Dorie. person
associatedWith Ives, David. person
associatedWith Jones, Judith. person
associatedWith Jones, Judith, 1924- person
associatedWith Kamman, Madeleine. person
associatedWith Kauffman, Mark. person
associatedWith Lee, Gypsy Rose, 1914-1970 person
associatedWith M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy) Fisher, 1908- person
associatedWith Mondavi, Robert, 1913-2008. person
associatedWith Monterey Public Library. California History Room. corporateBody
associatedWith Monterey Public Library. California History Room. corporateBody
correspondedWith Nan Robertson person
correspondedWith Nan Robertson person
associatedWith Painter, Charlotte. person
associatedWith Rehm, Diane, person
correspondedWith ROMBAUER-BECKER FAMILY person
associatedWith ROMBAUER-BECKER FAMILY person
associatedWith Rombauer family. family
associatedWith Rombauer, Irma von Starkloff, 1877-1962. person
associatedWith Simone Simca Beck, 1904-1992 person
associatedWith Smith Centennial Study. corporateBody
associatedWith Stapleton, Katie, person
associatedWith Stewart, Martha. person
associatedWith The Avis DeVoto Collection person
correspondedWith Trenner, Richard person
associatedWith Unger, Arthur person
associatedWith United States Information Service. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Office of Strategic Services. corporateBody
associatedWith Weimer, Jan. person
associatedWith Willan, Anne. person
associatedWith Wilson, Carolyn. person
associatedWith Women's Educational and Industrial Union (Boston, Mass.) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Cambridge MA US
Montecito CA US
Pasadena CA US
Paris A8 FR
Subject
Food writing
Cooking
Television cooking shows
Authors, American
Cooking, French
Women authors
Cooking--Study and teaching
Cooking schools
Television programs
Women cooks
Women in television broadcasting
Cooking, American
Cooks
Occupation
Television personalities
Authors
Cooks
Function

Person

Birth 1912-08-15

Death 2004-08-13

Female

Americans

English,

French

Information

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