Jessica Lucy Freeman-Mitford (11 September 1917 – 22 July 1996) was an English author, journalist, civil rights activist and political campaigner, who was one of the Mitford sisters. She became an American citizen in 1944.
Born at Asthall Manor, Mitford, the sixth of seven children, was the daughter of David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale, and his wife Sydney (daughter of politician and publisher Thomas Bowles), and grew up in a series of her father's country houses. She had little formal education, but nevertheless was widely read. Though her sisters Unity and Diana were well-known British supporters of Hitler and her father was described as being "one of nature's fascists", Jessica (always known as Decca) renounced her privileged background at an early age and became an adherent of communism. She was known as the "red sheep" of the family.
At the age of 19, Mitford met her second cousin, Esmond Romilly, who was recuperating from dysentery caught during a stint with the International Brigades defending Madrid during the Spanish Civil War. Romilly was a nephew (by marriage) of Winston Churchill. The cousins immediately fell in love and decided to elope to Spain, where Romilly picked up work as a reporter for the News Chronicle. After some legal difficulties caused by their relatives' opposition, they married. They moved to London and lived in the East End, then mostly a poor industrial area. Mitford gave birth at home to a daughter, Julia Decca Romilly, on 20 December 1937. The baby died in a measles epidemic the following May. Jessica Mitford rarely spoke of Julia in later life and she is not referred to by name in Mitford's 1960 autobiography, Hons and Rebels...
Quotes by Jessica Mitford
More Quotes by Jessica Mitford