Paul Cushing Child (January 15, 1902 - May 12, 1994) is best known as the husband of American celebrity chef Julia Child.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Child was born in Montclair, NJ on January 15, 1902 to Bertha Cushing and Charles Triplet Child. His twin brother was named Charles.[1] When he and his brother were 6 months old, their father died and the twins moved with their mother to her family's home in Boston, where Paul Child attended Boston Latin School. He took an extension course at Columbia College and later became a teacher in France, Italy, and back in 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 class black belt.[2][3][4]

Government service and marriage[edit | edit source]

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. Child retired from the government services in 1961.

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]

Later years[edit | edit source]

Following his retirement, the Childs relocated 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 wife died approximately 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 | edit source]

  1. A Party for Paul Child [1]
  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". Retrieved 2006-09-30. 
  7. Jennet Conant, A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2011), esp. 12-23
  8. Editorial reviews of "Appetite for Life" at[2]

Sources[edit | edit source]

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

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