Cover image for The titled Americans : three American sisters and the British aristocratic world into which they married
The titled Americans : three American sisters and the British aristocratic world into which they married
Kehoe, Elisabeth.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 452 pages : illustrations, genealogical table, photographs ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CT274.J47 K44 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
CT274.J47 K44 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
CT274.J47 K44 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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Elisabeth Kehoe brings to life a sweeping, three-generational saga of the remarkable Jerome sisters-among the most glamorous women of their time-whose marriages to British aristocracy represented the first of such transatlantic unions. Although full of princely lovers, parties, and landed estates, the story's heart is the intensely supportive and beautifully affectionate lifelong relationship among the sisters. Waves of grave financial hardship afflicted them all, but they always rallied to rescue one another. Beginning in 1840s America and ending one hundred years later in the middle of World War II-when the British nation was fighting for survival under the leadership of Jennie's son, Winston Churchill-this biography presents an epic story of family and fortune that encompasses both the apogee and the twilight of the British Empire. Book jacket.

Author Notes

Elisabeth Kehoe received her Ph.D. in history from the University of London, and is currently a visiting fellow at its Institute of Historical Research

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Thanks to several previous biographies, most notably Ralph Martin's classic biography Jennie, Winston Churchill's irrepressible mother is fairly familiar. Less well known are her two sisters, Clara and Leonie. The three were daughters of dashing New Yorker Leonard Jerome, who made and lost several fortunes. Mother took them to Europe to look for suitable--that is, rich and aristocratic--husbands. Jennie's marriage to Lord Randolph Churchill catapulted her to the upper reaches of British society, although she and Randolph led mostly separate lives. Clara married charming, feckless Moreton Frewen, dubbed Mortal Ruin by his friends; and Leonie, the most down-to-earth sister, married into the Anglo-Irish landed gentry. Through all their ups and downs, the sisters' closest bonds were with each other. Kehoe provides much detail about the social trends and historical events that formed the backdrop for the sisters' lives. Her combination of meticulous research, good storytelling, and glimpses into the lifestyles of the rich (or at least living as though rich) and famous circa 1900 will satisfy a range of readers. --Mary Ellen Quinn Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Daughters of a wealthy Wall Street speculator and his heiress wife, all three Jerome sisters-Clara, Jennie and Leonie-married titled English husbands, setting a trend for upper-crust Anglo-American liaisons at a time when Britain's landed gentry were in dire need of cash. Jennie married first, in 1873, to Lord Randolph Churchill, in spite of opposition from his father, the Duke of Marlborough. Jennie became the best known of the sisters, not only as the mother of Sir Winston Churchill, but as a formidable personality in her own right. The more vapid Clara married the dashing Moreton Frewen, whose lack of business acumen brought him the nickname "Mortal Ruin." The youngest sister, Leonie, married Jack Leslie, son of one of the largest landowning families in Ireland. But neither Clara nor Leonie rivaled the beautiful and witty Jennie, who captivated Victorian and Edwardian high society. Although Kehoe devotes equal attention to all three sisters-their marriages, affairs and lifelong solidarity as outsiders in a world they didn't always understand-Jennie's magnetic charms dominate the narrative. Kehoe's readable book, her first, perfectly captures the decadence of the sisters' privileged world in its historical context of a British Empire just past its peak, the struggle for Irish Home Rule and the impact of WWI. 16 pages of color and b&w illus. not seen by PW. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

For her debut, Kehoe, a visiting scholar at the Institute of Historical Research, tracks the Jerome sisters, three beauties who left New York in the 1860s with the hopes of triumphing abroad. Middle sister Jennie snared Lord Randolph Churchill. With a 40,000-copy first printing. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xi
Family Treep. xiv
Introductionp. xvii
1 Mrs Astor's New Yorkp. 1
2 The Court of Emperor Louis Napoleonp. 24
3 'To Meet: Randolph'p. 41
4 The Prince of Wales and the Marlborough House Setp. 62
5 The Wild Westp. 92
6 Glasloughp. 121
7 The Churchills in Americap. 147
8 The Funeral Tourp. 176
9 Lower Jerome Terracep. 197
10 Mortal Ruinp. 221
11 The Last Duelp. 250
12 The Lamps Go Out in Europep. 290
13 After the Delugep. 319
14 Last Journeysp. 342
15 Four Roses from Four Sonsp. 367
Epilogue: A Beautiful Affectionp. 383
A Note on Purchasing Powerp. 387
A Note on Sourcesp. 389
Notesp. 393
Bibliographyp. 429