Paul Cushing Child

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Paul Cushing Child
Born (1902-01-15)January 15, 1902
Montclair, New Jersey, US
Died May 12, 1994(1994-05-12) (aged 92)
Lexington, Massachusetts, US
Occupation
Spouse(s) Julia Child
(1946–1994; his death)

Paul Cushing Child (January 15, 1902 – May 12, 1994) was an American civil servant and diplomat. He is best known as the husband of celebrity chef Julia Child.

Early life[edit]

Child was born in Montclair, New Jersey, on January 15, 1902 to Bertha Cushing and Charles Triplet Child. His twin brother was named Charles.[1] When he and his brother were six months old, their father died and the twins moved with their mother to her family's home in Boston, where Paul attended Boston Latin School. He took an extension course at Columbia College and later became a teacher in France, Italy, and the United States, giving instruction in various subjects including photography, English, and French. In 1941, while at Avon Old Farms School, he was a teacher and mentor to John Gillespie Magee, Jr., who later wrote the famous poem "High Flight." Child also taught judo and was a fourth degree black belt.[2][3][4]

Government service and marriage[edit]

During World War II, Child joined the OSS. While stationed in Ceylon, he met Julia McWilliams, who also worked for the OSS. They married on September 1, 1946, in Lumberville, Pennsylvania,[5] and later moved to Washington, D.C. Child was known for his sophisticated palate.[6] After he finished his work with the OSS, Child joined the United States Foreign Service and introduced his wife to fine cuisine. In 1948, the U.S. State Department assigned Child to be an exhibits officer with the United States Information Agency. While in Paris, his wife took up cooking and became a student at the famed Paris cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu.

After five years in Paris, Child was reassigned to Marseilles, Bonn, and Oslo.

In April 1955, he was summoned from Bonn to undergo interrogation in Washington, D.C. While there, he was questioned about his political beliefs and the political beliefs of his co-workers. Specifically, he was questioned about Jane Foster, a friend of the Childs during World War II. Feeling his privacy had been violated through the interrogation, Child and his wife's oppositions to the Senate investigations were reinforced.[7]

Child retired from government service in 1961.

Later years[edit]

Following his retirement, the Childs moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where his wife wrote cookbooks and he supplied photographs and illustrations for them. Child was also known as a poet who frequently wrote about his wife. His prose was later celebrated in an authorized biography of Julia. In Appetite for Life, portions of the letters he wrote to his twin brother, Charles, while the Childs lived abroad were included as illustration of his love and admiration for his wife and her cooking skills and talent.[8]

Paul Child died at a nursing home in Lexington, Massachusetts, on May 12, 1994, following a long illness. His widow died about ten years later, on August 13, 2004.

Paul Child was portrayed by Stanley Tucci in the 2009 comedy-drama film Julie & Julia, which was adapted in part from Julia Child's memoir My Life in France.

References[edit]

  1. ^ A Party for Paul Child, Los Angeles Times
  2. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (May 14, 1994). "Paul Child, Artist, Dies at 92". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ A Covert Affair, by Jennet Conant, page 14
  4. ^ Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child. By Bob Spitz. 2012, Dearie, Chapter 6: Paul
  5. ^ "Julia Child". 
  6. ^ Lindman, Sylvia (2004-08-13). "Julia Child: bon appétit: Celebrated cook taught America to relish life's bounty". MSNBC.com. Retrieved 2006-09-30. 
  7. ^ Jennet Conant, A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011), esp. 12-23
  8. ^ Editorial reviews of "Appetite for Life" at Amazon.com[1]

Sources[edit]

Conant, Jennet, A Covert ­Affair: Julia and Paul Child in the OSS (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011), ISBN 1-4391-6352-9