Mitford, Jessica

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Portrait of Jessica Mitford (click to view image source)
Jessica Mitford
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Mitford, Jessica Gender: F
Jessica Lucy Freeman-Mitford
born on 11 September 1917 at 04:30 (= 04:30 AM )
Place Gloucester, England, 51n53, 2w14
Timezone GDT h1e (is daylight saving time)
Data source
From memory
Rodden Rating A
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_vircol.18.gif 17°49' s_mo.18.gif s_cancol.18.gif 20°11 Asc.s_leocol.18.gif 24°58'


British writer, sometimes referred to as "Queen of the Muckrakers," and best known for skewering in print businesses ranging from funeral homes to fat farms. She is perhaps best known for her 1963 book "The American Way of Death."

Born to a titled English family, Mitford was sixth of seven children born to the second baron of Redesdale and Sydney Bowles Mitford. The family included a sister, Nancy, a novelist; Diana, wife of the leading British fascist; and Unity, who moved to Germany to become one of Hitler’s followers. Mitford began writing at the age of 38. Her first major success came in August 1963 with "The American Way of Death," which targeted funeral directors for overly pompous and expensive funeral rites. She had been inspired to write the book when she saw the excessive burial costs of her husband’s poor legal clients.

She targeted other industries and institutions as well. "Kind and Unusual Punishment" was aimed at the prison system; "The American Way of Birth," 1992, focused on the obstetrical establishment; and the supporters of the Vietnam War were skewered in "The Trial of Dr. Spock." Mitford’s other books included two autobiographies: "Daughters and Rebels," 1960, and "A Fine Old Conflict," 1977.

She was involved with the American Communist Party after she moved to the United States in 1939. Her first husband was Esmond Romilly, a Communist sympathizer killed during World War II. She had a daughter, Constancia. She later married a labor lawyer, Robert E. Treuhaft.

She received the Emil Freed Award from the Southern California Library for social Studies and Research, a group that collects and preserves historical materials on 20th century progressive movements.

Mitford died 7/23/1996 of lung cancer.

Link to Wikipedia biography



  • Family : Change residence 1939 (Emigrated to the U.S. from Spain)
  • Relationship : Marriage 1943 (To a lawyer)
  • Social : Joined group 1943 (Member of Communist Party)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1963 ("The American Way of Death")
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1977 ("A Fine Old Conflict")

Source Notes

Joan McEvers quotes Peggy Storey who met Mitford at a lecture 1981

Biography: Mary S. Lovell, "The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family," Norton, 2002.


  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Cancer (Lung)
  • Family : Childhood : Advantaged (Parents titled)
  • Family : Childhood : Sibling circumstances (Five sisters)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (Two)
  • Family : Relationship : Widowed
  • Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (Two)
  • Lifestyle : Home : Expatriate (Moved to U.S.)
  • Vocation : Politics : Party Affiliation (Communist)
  • Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer
  • Vocation : Writers : Columnist/ journalist (Investigative Reporter)
  • Vocation : Writers : Fiction
  • Notable : Book Collection : Occult/ Misc. Collection