Jessica Mitford

Jessica Lucy 'Decca' Freeman-Mitford (11 September 1917 – 22 July 1996) was an English author, one of the six aristocratic Mitford sisters noted for their sharply conflicting politics.

Jessica, who represented the far left, married her second cousin Esmond Romilly, killed in World War II, and then American civil rights lawyer Robert Treuhaft, with whom she joined the American Communist Party and worked closely in the Civil Rights Congress. Both refused to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, but later resigned from the party out of disillusion with Stalinism.

Her memoirs Hons and Rebels, and a social commentary The American Way of Death, both became classics.

Jessica Mitford
Jessica Mitford, by William Acton
Mitford by William Acton, 1937
Jessica Lucy Freeman-Mitford

11 September 1917
Died22 July 1996 (aged 78)
American (naturalised)
OccupationInvestigative journalist
Known forMitford sister, Communist, Hons and Rebels, The American Way of Death
Esmond Romilly
(m. 1937; went MIA 1941)

Robert Treuhaft
(m. 1943)
Parent(s)David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale
Sydney Bowles

Early life and ancestry

Born at Asthall Manor, Oxfordshire,[1] the sixth of seven children, Jessica Mitford 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 did a great deal of reading. Her sisters Unity and Diana were well-known members of the British Union of Fascists and ultimately became close friends of Adolf Hitler. Diana even married the British Union of Fascists' Leader, Sir Oswald Mosley. Upon the outbreak of war between Great Britain and Nazi Germany, Unity tried to commit suicide in Munich and Diana and her husband were interned without trial for the duration of the war.

Jessica (always known as Decca) later described her father as "one of nature's fascists", renounced her privileged background at an early age and became an adherent of Stalinism.[2] She was known as the "red sheep" of the family.[3]


Marriages and family

Life with Esmond Romilly

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.[4] 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.[2]

In 1939, Romilly and Mitford emigrated to the United States. They travelled around, working odd jobs, perpetually short of money.[2] At the outset of World War II, Romilly enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force; Mitford was living in Washington D.C., and considered joining him once he was posted to England. While living in D.C, with contemporaries Virginia Foster Durr and Clifford Durr, she gave birth to another daughter, Constancia Romilly ("the Donk" or "Dinky") on 9 February 1941.[5] Her husband went missing in action on 30 November 1941, on his way back from a bombing raid over Nazi Germany.

Life with Robert Treuhaft

Mitford threw herself into war work. Through this, she met and married the American civil rights lawyer Robert Treuhaft in 1943 and eventually settled in Oakland, California.[6] She became an American citizen in 1944.[7]

There, the couple had two sons; Nicholas, born in 1944 (who was killed in 1955 when hit by a bus), and Benjamin, born in 1947.[1] Mitford approached her motherhood in a spirit of "benign neglect", described by her children as "matter-of-fact" and "not touchy-feely".[8] She became closer to her own mother by letter over the decades but remained estranged from her sister Diana for the rest of her life.

Career and politics

Stalinism and left-wing politics

Mitford spent much of the early 1950s working as executive secretary of the local Civil Rights Congress chapter. Through this and her husband's legal practice, she was involved in a number of civil rights campaigns, notably the failed attempt to stop the execution of Willie McGee, an African-American convicted of raping a white woman. Mitford and Treuhaft became active members of the Communist Party. In 1953, at the height of McCarthyism and the 'Red Scare', they were summoned to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Both refused to testify about their participation in Stalinist organizations.[9]

In 1956, Mitford published a pamphlet, "Lifeitselfmanship or How to Become a Precisely-Because Man". In response to Noblesse Oblige, the book her sister Nancy co-wrote and edited on the class distinctions in British English, popularizing the phrases "U and non-U English" (upper class and non-upper class), Jessica described L and non-L (Left and non-Left) English, mocking the clichés used by her comrades in the all-out class struggle.[10][11] (The title alludes to Stephen Potter's satirical series of books that included Lifemanship.)

Disillusioned by the revelations of Joseph Stalin's crimes against humanity in Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 Secret Speech, Mitford and Treuhaft resigned from the American Communist Party in 1958.[12]

In 1960 Mitford published her first book Hons and Rebels (US title: Daughters and Rebels), a memoir covering her youth in the Mitford household.

Investigative journalism

In May 1961 she traveled to Montgomery, Alabama, while working on an article about Southern attitudes for Esquire. While there, she and a friend went to meet the arrival of the Freedom Riders and became caught up in a riot when a mob led by the Ku Klux Klan attacked the civil rights activists. After the riot, Mitford proceeded to a rally led by Martin Luther King, Jr. The church at which this was held was also attacked by the Klan, and Mitford and the group spent the night barricaded inside until the siege was ended by the arrival of Alabama National Guard troops.

Through his work with unions and death benefits, Treuhaft became interested in the funeral industry and persuaded Mitford to write an investigative article on the subject. Though the article, "Saint Peter Don't You Call Me" published in Frontier magazine, was not widely disseminated, it caught considerable attention when Mitford appeared on a local television broadcast with two industry representatives. Convinced of public interest, she wrote The American Way of Death, which was published in 1963. In the book Mitford harshly criticized the industry for using unscrupulous business practices to take advantage of grieving families. The book became a major bestseller and led to Congressional hearings on the funeral industry. The book was one of the inspirations for filmmaker Tony Richardson's 1965 film The Loved One, which was based on Evelyn Waugh's short satirical 1948 novel of the same name,[13] tellingly subtitled "An Anglo-American Tragedy".

After The American Way of Death Mitford continued with her investigative journalism. In 1970, she published an article in the Atlantic Monthly, "Let Us Now Appraise Famous Writers", an exposé of the Famous Writers School, a correspondence course of questionable business practices founded by Bennett Cerf. She published The Trial of Dr. Spock, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr., Michael Ferber, Mitchell Goodman and Marcus Raskin, an account of the five men's 1970 trial on charges of conspiracy to violate the draft laws, followed by a harsh critique of the American prison system entitled Kind and Usual Punishment: The Prison Business (1973), an allusion to the phrase "cruel and unusual punishment".

Mitford was a distinguished professor for the fall semester 1973 at San Jose State University, where she taught a course called "The American Way" that covered the Watergate scandal and the McCarthy era. Because of disagreements with the dean over her taking a loyalty oath and submitting to fingerprinting, the campus was thrown into protests and she was forced to go to court to remain able to teach.[14]

Books and music

Jessica Mitford appearing on "After Dark, 20 August 1988
Mitford appearing on British TV show After Dark in 1988

Mitford's second memoir, A Fine Old Conflict (1977), comically describes her experiences joining and eventually leaving the Communist Party USA. Mitford titled the book after what, in her youth, she thought were the lyrics to the Communist anthem, "The Internationale", which actually are "Tis the final conflict". Mitford recounts how she was invited to join the Communist Party by her co-worker Dobby, to whom she responded "We thought you'd never ask!" She bristled against the conservative structure in the CP, at one point upsetting the women's caucus by printing a poster with "Girls! Girls! Girls!" to draw people to an event. She mercilessly teased an elder Communist about what she perceived as his paranoia when he wrote out the name of a town where she could get chickens donated from "loyal party members" for a fund raiser. When he wrote Petaluma on a scrap of paper to avoid being overheard by possible bugs, she asked in jest how the chickens should be prepared, and wrote, "Fried or broiled".

In addition to writing and activism, Mitford tried her hand at music as singer for "Decca and the Dectones," a cowbell and kazoo orchestra. She performed at numerous benefits and opened for Cyndi Lauper on the roof of the Virgin Records store in San Francisco. She recorded two short albums: one[15] contains her rendition of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" and "Grace Darling",[16] and the other, two duets with friend and poet Maya Angelou.[17] Her last work was an update entitled The American Way of Death Revisited.


Mitford died of lung cancer aged 78. In keeping with her wishes, she had an inexpensive funeral, costing $533.31 – she was cremated without a ceremony, her ashes scattered at sea, the cremation itself costing $475.[3][18] At the time of her death, the San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen wrote "In this strangely flat era of 'diversity,' she was the rarest of birds, an exotic creature who rose each morning to become the sun around whom thousands of lives revolved." [19]

Her widower survived her by five years.


Two of her four children pre-deceased her.

Her surviving daughter, Constantia Romilly, continued the activist tradition, working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which campaigned for African-American civil rights; she eventually became an emergency room nurse. Romilly had two children with Committee director James Forman: James Forman Jr., a Yale professor, and Chaka Forman, an actor.

Legacy and influence

The author Christopher Hitchens expressed his admiration for Jessica Mitford and praised Hons and Rebels.[20]

J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, stated in 2002:

My most influential writer, without a doubt, is Jessica Mitford. When my grand-aunt gave me Hons and Rebels when I was 14, she instantly became my heroine. She ran away from home to fight in the Spanish Civil War, taking with her a camera that she had charged to her father's account. I wished I'd had the nerve to do something like that. I love the way she never outgrew some of her adolescent traits, remaining true to her politics — she was a self-taught socialist — throughout her life. I think I've read everything she wrote. I even called my daughter Jessica Rowling Arantes after her.[21]

Rowling reviewed Mitford's book of letters, Decca, in the Sunday Telegraph in 2006.[22]

In 2013 the singer David Bowie named The American Way of Death as one of his favorite books.[23]


  • "Objectivity? I've always had an objective."
  • "You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty."
  • "Gracious dying is a huge, macabre and expensive joke on the American public."
  • At a museum exhibit on Egyptian embalming: "Now THERE is a culture where the funeral directors REALLY got out of hand!" (Said to Molly Ivins at the Houston Funeral Service Museum in 1995. Reported in Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford, p. 691)
  • When Evelyn Waugh wrote in a review of The American Way of Death that Mitford did not have "a plainly stated attitude to death", Mitford asked her sister Deborah to tell Waugh: "Of course I'm against it."

The Mitford siblings


Jessica Mitford, by William Acton

Jessica Mitford


  • Hons and Rebels aka Daughters and Rebels, 1960
  • The American Way of Death, 1963
  • The Trial of Dr. Spock, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr., Michael Ferber, Mitchel Goodman, and Marcus Raskin, Macdonald, 1969
  • Kind and Usual Punishment: The Prison Business, Alfred A. Knopf, 1973
  • A Fine Old Conflict, London: Michael Joseph, 1977
  • The Making of a Muckraker, London: Michael Joseph, 1979
  • Poison Penmanship: The Gentle Art of Muckraking, 1979
  • Grace Had an English Heart: The Story of Grace Darling, Heroine and Victorian Superstar, E. P. Dutton & Co, 1988. ISBN 0-525-24672-X
  • The American Way of Birth, 1992
  • The American Way of Death Revisited, 1998
  • Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford, edited by journalist Peter Y. Sussman. Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. ISBN 0-375-41032-5


  • Extracts from Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford were dramatized for Book of the Week, BBC Radio 4, five 15-minute programmes broadcast in November 2006. The readers were Rosamund Pike and Tom Chadbon; the producer was Chris Wallis.

See also


  1. ^ a b Anne Chisholm, "Obituary: Jessica Mitford", The Independent, 25 July 1996.
  2. ^ a b c Mitford, Jessica (1960). Hons and Rebels. Isis. ISBN 978-1-85089-441-4.
  3. ^ a b Thomas Mallon, "Red Sheep: How Jessica Mitford found her voice", New Yorker, 16 October 2006.
  4. ^ Romilly, Esmond (1938). Boadilla. London: Hamish Hamilton.
  5. ^ Salmond, John A. (1990). The Conscience of a Lawyer: Clifford J. Durr and American Civil Liberties, 1899-1975. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. p. 264. ISBN 978-0-8173-0453-9.
  6. ^ "Communist on The Hit Parade" (PDF). Tocsin. 5 (9). Oakland, CA. 4 March 1964. p. 1 Col A. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  7. ^ Lovell, Mary S. (2008). The Mitford Girls: The Biography of an Extraordinary Family. Little, Brown. p. 403. ISBN 978-0-7481-0921-0.
  8. ^ Guthmann, Edward (17 November 2006). "Great writer. But as a mother? Jessica Mitford's children recall the woman they called Decca". The San Francisco Chronicle.
  9. ^ Vangen, A. D. (2011). Honoring God to the Very, Very, Very End!. Xulon Press. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-61379-893-5.
  10. ^ Severo, Richard (23 July 1996). "Jessica Mitford, Mordant Critic of American Ways, and a British Upbringing, Dies at 78". The New York Times. Jessica Mitford Memorial Site. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  11. ^ Cohen, Nick (20 August 2001). "Do you speak New Labour?". New Statesman. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  12. ^ Mitford, Jessica (1977). A Fine Old Conflict. M. Joseph. p. 279. ISBN 978-0-7181-1617-0.
  13. ^ Hill, Lee (2010). A Grand Guy: The Art And Life of Terry Southern. HarperCollins. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-06-201283-8.
  14. ^ Mitford, Jessica (1 October 1974). "My Short and Happy Life As a Distinguished Professor". The Atlantic. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  15. ^ CD Baby: JESSICA MITFORD: Decca and the Dectones
  16. ^ Patricia Holt, "Jessica Mitford Does the Beatles", SF Gate, 2 February 1995.
  17. ^ "Maya Angelou & Jessica Mitford: 'There Is a Moral to It All'" Archived 2 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine, "Don't Quit Your Day Job" Records.
  18. ^ An expensive way to go. (The Business of Bereavement), The Economist (US edition), 4 January 1997.
  19. ^ Herb Caen, "The Mourning Fog", SF Gate, 26 July 1996
  20. ^ "Christopher Hitchens interviews Jessica Mitford (1988)" on YouTube
  21. ^ Fraser, Lindsay, "Harry Potter - Harry and me" Archived 5 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine, The Scotsman, November 2002.
  22. ^ J. K. Rowling, "The first It Girl", Daily Telegraph, 26 November 2006.
  23. ^ Sherwin, Adam (1 October 2013). "From Homer to Orwell: David Bowie's 100 favourite books revealed". The Independent. London.

External links

A Life of Contrasts

A Life of Contrasts is the autobiography of Diana Mitford (sister of novelist Nancy Mitford, Nazi-sympathiser Unity Mitford, journalist Jessica Mitford, and memoirist Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire) that was first published by in 1977. In 2002 she released a revised edition of the book.

Black sheep

In the English language, black sheep is an idiom used to describe an odd or disreputable member of a group, especially within a family. The term stems from the genetic effect in sheep whereby a recessive gene occasionally manifests in the birth of a sheep with black rather than white coloring; these sheep stand out in the flock and their wool was traditionally considered less valuable.

The term has typically been given negative implications, implying waywardness.In psychology, the black sheep effect refers to the tendency of group members to judge likeable ingroup members more positively and deviant ingroup member more negatively than comparable outgroup members.

Esmond Romilly

Esmond Marcus David Romilly (10 June 1918 – 30 November 1941) was a British socialist, anti-fascist and journalist, who was in turn a schoolboy rebel, a veteran with the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War and, following the outbreak of the Second World War, an observer with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He is perhaps best remembered for his teenage elopement with his distant cousin Jessica Mitford, the youngest-but-one of the Mitford sisters.

Born into an aristocratic family – he was a nephew of Clementine Churchill – he emerged in the 1930s as a precocious rebel against his background, openly espousing communist views at the age of fifteen. He ran away from Wellington College, and campaigned vociferously against the British public school system, by publishing a critical left wing magazine, Out of Bounds: Public Schools' Journal Against Fascism, Militarism and Reaction, and (jointly with his brother) a memoir analysing his school experiences. At the age of eighteen he joined the International Brigades and fought on the Madrid front during the Spanish Civil War, of which he wrote and published a vivid account.

Before departing for Spain, Romilly had largely abandoned communism (he never formally joined the party) in favour of democratic socialism. Unable to settle in London, he and his wife relocated to America in 1939. When the Second World War broke out Romilly enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and began training as a pilot, but was discharged on medical grounds. He re-enlisted, and retrained as an observer. Posted back to England, he lost his life when his plane failed to return from a bombing raid in November 1941.

Famous Writers School

The Famous Writers School was an educational institution that ran a correspondence course for writers in the 1960s and 1970s. Founded in 1961 by Bennett Cerf, Gordon Carroll, and Albert Dorne, it became the subject of a scandal after a 1970 exposé by Jessica Mitford, who noted the school's questionable academic and business practices.

Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)

Forest Lawn Memorial Park – Hollywood Hills is one of the six Forest Lawn cemeteries in Southern California. It is located at 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, California 90068, in the Hollywood Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. It is on the lower north slope at the east end of the Santa Monica Mountains range that overlooks North Hollywood, Universal City, and Burbank, and the overall San Fernando Valley area of north view Los Angeles.

Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills is a park dedicated to the preservation of American history and hosts high-profile events such as an annual Veterans Day ceremony attended by dignitaries and other VIPs. Los Angeles Magazine described it as a "theme-park necropolis", paraphrasing Jessica Mitford, indicating "Forest Lawn’s kitsch was just a sophisticated strategy for lubricating the checkbooks of the grieved."


"Frenemy" (less commonly spelled "frienemy") is an oxymoron and a portmanteau of "friend" and "enemy" that refers to "a person with whom one is friendly, despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry" or "a person who combines the characteristics of a friend and an enemy". The term is used to describe personal, geopolitical and commercial relationships both among individuals and groups or institutions. This term also describes a competitive friendship.

The word originates from the aristocratic Mitford sisters, of literary and social fame. The American-based author and activist Jessica Mitford who circulated it, stated it was: "an incredibly useful word…coined by one of my sisters when she was a small child to describe a rather dull little girl who lived near us. My sister and the Frenemy played together constantly…all the time disliking each other heartily.

Harry Potter influences and analogues

Writer J. K. Rowling cites several writers as influences in her creation of her bestselling Harry Potter series. Writers, journalists and critics have noted that the books also have a number of analogues; a wide range of literature, both classical and modern, which Rowling has not openly cited as influences.

This article is divided into three sections. The first section lists those authors and books which Rowling has suggested as possible influences on Harry Potter. The second section deals with those books which Rowling has cited as favourites without mentioning possible influences. The third section deals with those analogues which Rowling has not cited either as influences or as favourites but which others have claimed bear comparison with Harry Potter.

Hons and Rebels

Hons and Rebels is an autobiography by political activist Jessica Mitford, which describes her aristocratic childhood and the conflicts between her and her sisters Unity and Diana, who were ardent supporters of Nazism. Jessica was a supporter of Communism and eloped with her cousin, Esmond Romilly to fight with the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War, and Diana grew up to marry Sir Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists. Unity befriended Nazi leader Hitler, who praised her as an ideal of Aryan beauty.

Mitford recalls:

"In the windows, still to be seen, are swastikas carved into the glass with a diamond ring, and for every swastika a carefully delineated hammer and sickle. They were put there by my sister Unity and myself when we were children. Hanging on the walls are framed pictures and poems done by Unity when she was quite small—queer, imaginative, interesting work, some on a tiny scale of microscopic detail, some huge and magnificent. The Hons' Cupboard, where Debo and I spent much of our time, still has the same distinctive, stuffy smell and enchanting promise of complete privacy from the Grown-ups."

Hons and Rebels was originally published in the United States under the title Daughters and Rebels.Mitford and Hons and Rebels are cited by J.K. Rowling and Christopher Hitchens as great influences.

Leslie Brody

Leslie Brody (born 1952) is an American author. Born in the Bronx, New York and brought up on Long Island, Brody went to grade school in Riverhead and high school in Massapequa. At 17 years old she left home to become an underground press reporter for the Berkeley Tribe. A year later, she set off to travel around Europe. From 1971 to 1976, Brody lived in London and Amsterdam, sampling various hippie occupations. She returned to California in the late '70s and worked as a librarian both at the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science, and for the Sierra Club, while attending college at San Francisco State University.

While in San Francisco, Brody became involved in theatre and playwriting, and became a resident playwright of the One-Act Theatre Company of San Francisco. She was offered a fellowship at The Playwrights' Center and moved to Minneapolis. While there, she worked for the Hungry Mind Review as a columnist and contributing editor.In 1993, she returned to college, this time at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, earning her PhD in English. Brody undertook various fellowships and assistantships and became part of UCONN’s English department from 1994 to 1998. Ever since, Brody has been a professor of English and Creative Writing at The University of Redlands, primarily teaching non-fiction writing workshops in addition to seminars in documentary film, literary journalism and monologue writing for the stage.

Leslie Brody has been married to the writer Gary Amdahl since 1989.

Mitchell Goodman

Mitchell Goodman (1923–1997) was an American writer, teacher, and activist. He is best known for his role in the Vietnam draft resistance movement, which drew the high-profile 1968 federal prosecution of the "Boston Five." Mitchell Goodman was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1923. His parents, Irving and Adele, were first and second generation Jewish immigrants and were well off until Irving lost his clothing store in the Great Depression. Goodman was given a scholarship to Harvard and was at college when the U.S. entered World War II. He was trained as a Second Lieutenant forward observer in an artillery battalion, but was not deployed overseas. He traveled to Europe following the war, where he met the poet Denise Levertov. The two were married in 1947 and continued lived briefly in France and Italy before moving to the U.S. to Greenwich Village in 1948. A son was born in 1949. These experiences informed his vivid 1961 anti-war novel The End of It, which focuses on an American soldier's experience in the Italian campaign. The book received a positive reception from critics and prominent literary figures such as William Carlos Williams, and Norman Mailer.

In the mid 1960s Goodman and Levertov both became prominent in the anti-war movement.The two began by running paid advertisements in national publications with statements of protest signed by writers, artists and others. In March 1966, he was involved in organizing the Fifth Avenue Peace parade in New York City, in which an estimated 30,000 people took part. In March 1967 Goodman led a walkout during Vice President Hubert Humphrey's address at the National Book Awards, in which he shouted, "Vice President, we are burning women and children in Vietnam, and you and we are responsible!" The quote was carried in newspapers nationwide. Later that year, as described in the opening of Norman Mailer's book The Armies of the Night, Goodman helped organize the anti-Vietnam war demonstration at the Pentagon in October 1967, the first national protest against the war. As part of the planning for this event, he circulated a pamphlet stating: We are planning an act of direct creative resistance to the war and the draft in Washington on Friday, October 20... . We will appear at the Justice Department together with 30 or 40 young men brought by us to Washington to represent the 24 Resistance groups from all over the country. There we will present to the Attorney General the draft cards turned in locally by these groups on October 16... . We will, in a clear, simple ceremony, make concrete our affirmation of support for these young men who are the spearhead of direct resistance to the war and all of its machinery... . [Signed] Mitchell Goodman, Henry Braun, Denise Levertov, Noam Chomsky, William Sloane Coffin, Dwight Macdonald. Prior to the protest, Goodman was one among the writers of "A Call To Resist Illegitimate Authority"; he became a member of the steering committee of the anti-war group Resist, which emerged from that Call. |RESIST]],. The "Call to Resist" expressed moral and religious outrage against the war in Vietnam, its unconstitutionality, war crimes, and the forced military service of conscientious objectors. It concluded by committing its signers to continue to provide material and moral support to draft resisters. The "Call" was published in the New Republic and the New York Review of Books with over three hundred signatures of prominent writers, activists and clergy on October 12, 1967.These documents and his protest actions led to his indictment for conspiring to council, aid and abet violations of the Selective Service law and to hinder administration of the draft. He was indicted for conspiracy alongside Benjamin Spock, a famous doctor and author, Marcus Raskin, leader of a Washington think tank, Rev. William Sloane Coffin, chaplain at Yale, and Michael Ferber, a graduate student at Harvard, in what became known as the "Boston Five" conspiracy trial. The defendants stood by their support of draft resisters, but denied the conspiracy charges. The defendants and others in the resistance movement had hoped to put the morality and legitimacy of the war on trial, but were largely precluded by Judge Ford, who was widely seen to favor the prosecution. Nevertheless, the defendants' principled stand and stature as professionals was seen by many as lending mainstream legitimacy to the actions of youthful draft resisters. The trial and its appeals were covered extensively in the media, and in a book by Jessica Mitford, published in 1969.All the defendants were convicted and sentenced to two years in prison, except for Raskin, who did not advocate civil disobedience, but merely an inquest into the legality of the war. The conviction was appealed, and the appellate court ruled that Judge Ford had overstepped in his instructions to the jury by giving a list of ten yes or no questions to be answered as part of their deliberation, a list which had possibly been drawn up in collaboration with the prosecution. Spock and Ferber were acquitted by the appeals court, which ruled that their actions were covered by the right to free speech in the First Amendment. However, Goodman and Rev. Coffin were ruled to have been more closely involved with the illegal acts in the draft card protests, and so were to be retried in the Federal District Court. The Justice Department declined to pursue the case, stating that a conviction for conspiracy would be too hard to win given that three of the original conspirators had been acquitted. Others believed that the Justice Department did not want to give further publicity to the case. Jessica Mitford and Alan Dershowitz have argured that the prosecution for conspiracy rather than for specific crimes was an attempt to repress organized public opposition to the war. Evidence for this view includes the indictment, which cited "diverse other persons, some known and others unknown" belonging to the conspiracy, implying they could also be prosecuted. Also, the prosecutor John Wall went as far as pursuing the "applause theory," that those who expressed public support for the defendants statements could be considered part of the conspiracy.In a letter published in the New York Review of Books April 10, 1969, the day after the dismissal of his case, Goodman stated that student-run draft resistance groups, such as The Resistance, were the cutting edge of the anti-war movement, and by risking and serving jail time, were the "bravest guys in America." He did not accept the charge of "inciting" draft resistance because he felt that did not account for the strength of the individual moral decisions taken by the draft resistors in the face of severe personal consequences. He also gave credit to tens of thousands of people who stood up to what he considered government intimidation by taking part in similar public protests, or by signing letters of solidarity requesting to be indicted on the same conspiracy charges as the "Boston Five."From 1968 to 1970 Goodman, along with collaborators Robbie Kahn Pfeufer and Kathy Mulherin, assembled a compendium of source material from the political movements of the preceding decade and a half entitled The Movement Toward a New America: The Beginnings of a Long Revolution. Described in a New York Times review as a "telephone-book thick proceedings" of 750 pages, it includes essays, manifestos, journalism, and reflections from mainstream publications, radical magazines and student newspapers. Self-declared as, "1. A Comprehension, 2. A Compendium, 3. A Handbook, 4. A Guide, 5. A History, 6. A Revolution Kit, 7. A Work-in-Progress," the book captured the ferment at the height of The Movement through sheer force of inclusiveness. Although out of print today, it remains a monumental assemblage of first hand cultural references from the radical movements of the 1960s.In his later years, Goodman resided in Temple, Maine where he wrote poetry and took part in local politics, including standing in solidarity with the workers in the International Paper strike in Jay, Maine. He and Denise Levertov divorced in 1975. He died in 1997, months before Levertov.

Mitford family

The Mitford family is an Aristocratic English family whose main family line had seats at Mitford, Northumberland. Several heads of the family served as High Sheriff of Northumberland. A junior line, with seats at Newton Park, Northumberland, and Exbury House, Hampshire, descends via the historian William Mitford (1744–1827) and were twice elevated to the British peerage, in 1802 and 1902, under the title Baron Redesdale. The Mitford sisters were William Mitford's great-great-great-granddaughters.

The sisters, six daughters of David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale, and Sydney Bowles, became celebrated, and at times scandalous, figures. They were caricatured by The Times journalist Ben Macintyre as "Diana the Fascist, Jessica the Communist, Unity the Hitler-lover; Nancy the Novelist; Deborah the Duchess and Pamela the unobtrusive poultry connoisseur".

Raising Hell (book)

Raising Hell: How the Center for Investigative Reporting Gets the Story is a nonfiction work by David Weir and Dan Noyes, with a foreword by Mike Wallace. It was published in 1983 by Addison-Wesley Publishing Company and contains reprints of investigative journalism articles from the time period, with analysis and background on how the journalists investigated the issues and prepared for the articles. An article by Kate Coleman and Paul Avery called "The Party's Over", which discussed the Black Panthers, was analyzed.Jessica Mitford and Mike Wallace both wrote positively of the book. It was also reviewed in Newspaper Research Journal.Raising Hell is used as a college textbook, and is referenced in Pearson's The Shadow of the Panther, and in John Lofland's Social Movement Organizations: Guide to Research on Insurgent Realities.

Robert Treuhaft

Robert Edward "Bob" Treuhaft (August 8, 1912 – November 11, 2001) was an American lawyer and the second husband of Jessica Mitford.

The American Way of Death

The American Way of Death is an exposé of abuses in the funeral home industry in the United States, written by Jessica Mitford and published in 1963. An updated revision, The American Way of Death Revisited, completed by Mitford just before her death in 1996, appeared in 1998.

The Week (1933)

The Week was a radical British newspaper from 1933 until 1941.

Marxist journalist Claud Cockburn launched the first British publication known as The Week as a newsletter in the spring of 1933, after he had returned from reporting on Germany. It focused on the rise of fascism, in a style that anticipated Private Eye and won a wide readership, according to Cockburn's son. Jessica Mitford attributed the journal's influence to its use of undercover sources. It ceased publication in 1941.In the late 1930s, The Week was highly critical of Neville Chamberlain and his policy of appeasement. Cockburn maintained in the 1960s that much of the information in The Week was leaked to him by Sir Robert Vansittart, the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign Office.At the same time, Cockburn claimed that MI5 was spying on him because of The Week; but the British historian D.C. Watt argued that it was more likely that, if anyone was spying on Cockburn, it was the Special Branch of Scotland Yard who were less experienced in this work than MI5. Cockburn was an opponent of appeasement before the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. In a 1937 article in The Week, Cockburn coined the term Cliveden set to describe what he alleged to be an upper-class pro-German group that exercised influence behind the scenes. The Week ceased publication shortly after the war began.

Watt alleges that the information printed in The Week included rumours, some of which suited Moscow's interests. Watt used as an example the claim The Week made in February–March 1939 that German troops were concentrating in Klagenfurt for an invasion of Yugoslavia, which Watt says had no basis in reality.

Ancestors of Jessica Mitford
Henry Reveley Mitford, son of William Mitford
Henry Reveley Mitford
Mary Anstruther
Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale
George Ashburnham, 3rd Earl of Ashburnham
Georgiana Jemima Ashburnham
Lady Charlotte Percy
David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale
David Ogilvy, 9th Earl of Airlie
David Ogilvy, 10th Earl of Airlie
Clementina Drummond
Lady Clementine Gertrude Helen Ogilvy
Edward Stanley, 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley
Henrietta Blanche Stanley
Henrietta Dillon
Jessica Mitford
Thomas Milner Gibson
Thomas Milner Gibson
Isabella Glover
Thomas Gibson Bowles
William Bowles
Susannah Bowles
Mary-Ann Dawes
Sydney Bowles
George Evans
General Charles Evans-Gordon
Frances Spalding
Jessica Evans-Gordon
Rev. Dr. Alexander Rose
Catherine (Kate) Rose
Janet McIntosh

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