Papers of Julia Child, 1925-1993
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
60.18 linear feet ((112 file boxes, 3 folio boxes, 8 folio+ boxes) plus 3 oversize folders, 4 supersize folders, 1 folio photograph folder, 1 oversize photograph folder, 8 objects)
The collection includes the personal and professional papers of Julia Child and her husband Paul Child; it is arranged in six series.
Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL, 1925-1993 (#1-44), contains Julia Child's curricula vitae, awards, and tributes, as well as Paul Child's poetry, journals, and autobiographical notes. The series is arranged in two subseries.
Suberies A, Julia Child, 1929-1993 (#1-24), includes Julia Child's curricula vitae and other biographical clippings and notes, as well as many awards and tributes. Award folders may include congratulatory correspondence, clippings, etc. Two high school literary magazines include verse by Child; a folder on Les Cercle des Gourmettes (#3) includes an article on the group written by Child. Several folders contain Child's itineraries for foreign trips. An address book seemingly belonging to both Julia and Paul Child is included; photographs of friends are pasted inside.
Subseries B, Paul Child, 1925-1989 (#25-44), includes journals, autobiographical notes, and collected verse of Paul Child. Also included are his tax returns, applications for government service, and OSS documents (#25). Several folders contain drawings, one contains postcards of classical statues in erotic poses.
Series II, CORRESPONDENCE, 1925-1992 (#45-513, 1377-1382), contains both personal and professional correspondence of Julia and Paul Child. The series is arranged in six subseries.
Subseries A, Personal, 1925-1989 (#45-118, 1377-1381, 1398m), contains correspondence between the Childs; Paul's life-long correspondence with his twin brother Charles that chronicles the lives of Paul and Julia in OSS, USIA, and the international world of cookery; and Paul's correspondence with friends. Paul's letters to Charles Child and his wife Freddie (#48-95), are often in journal form with occasional notes from Julia. Julia often wrote separate letters to Freddie; these can be found throughout. Letters written during World War II discuss Paul's work in India (1944), Sri Lanka (1944), and China (1945). Letters from the early 1950s, when Paul and Julia were living in Paris, include descriptions of art exhibits, politics, USIA inter-office dynamics, food, travel to Italy and England, etc. Letters written after 1952 also often contain verse by Paul, including several poems written to Julia. Many of the letters to Charles Child have Paul's later (post-1969) notes giving a brief summary of the letter, as well as explaining other related contemporaneous events in the lives of the Childs. These letters were a main source for Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme's book My Life in France (2006).
Subseries B, Cookery, 1951-1992 (#119-352, 1382), contains Julia Child's correspondence with culinary friends and colleagues, including Simone Beck, James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Madeleine Kammen, Anne Willan, etc.; and with and about cooking schools. Child has included her own cross-references among the correspondence: some of these notes are written at the top of letters, some are on separate sheets of paper. Most folders include incoming as well as Child's outgoing letters. Many include clippings, menus, etc. Most of Simone Beck's letters to Child are in French. Correspondence with Anne Willan and Mark Cherniavsky is about their establishment of La Varenne, a cooking school in Paris. More correspondence with Avis DeVoto is in her Papers (A-167) and unprocessed additional papers. The arrangement of alphabetical files follows Julia Child's original order. Correspondence with cooking schools and chefs follows a general alphabetical order.
Subseries C, Fans, 1962-1992 (#353-420, 1398m), contains responses of television viewers and readers to Julia Child's television shows and specials, cookbooks, articles, and magazine columns. Most mail is in response to The French Chef and/or Mastering the Art of French Cooking; other programs or articles mentioned in significant groups of letters are listed. Letters to Child were sent by fans of all ages, from around the country, and sometimes internationally. Letters sometimes include recipes, questions about Child's recipes, photographs of fans holding dishes they made from Child's recipes, and requests for appearances. Some letters comment on food allergies, animal cruelty, vegetarianism, etc. Many folders also include Child's (or her secretary's) responses; typed copies of generic responses are filed at the end of the subseries. The arrangement is chronological, with incoming letters to Child filed first, followed by folders of Child's form letters in reply.
Subseries D, Publishers, 1952-1989 (#421-472), includes correspondence with publishers Houghton Mifflin, Alfred E. Knopf, and with magazine editors. Some correspondence about contracts is with Paul Sheeline, Julia Child's nephew and an attorney. Much of the correspondence is with Judith Jones, Child's editor at Knopf. Folders may include contracts, galleys, or drafts. The subseries is arranged chronologically, with all folders for a project grouped together.
Subseries E, Attorneys and finances, 1952-1989 (#473-485), includes correspondence with Child's attorneys from the firm of Hill & Barlow, financial summaries, and correspondence about book royalties and various lawsuits. Correspondence with attorneys is arranged chronologically, followed by another chronological arrangement of correspondence about financial matters.
Subseries F, Television companies, 1962-1986 (#486-513), includes correspondence about the promotion and distribution of Child's television programs. Correspondents include WGBH, ABC, Child's producer Ruth Lockwood, and Child's lawyers at Hill & Barlow. Some correspondence (e.g., #507) includes an analysis of Child's fan mail. The subseries is arranged chronologically.
Series III, TEACHING, 1951-1993 (#514-742, 1383), documents Julia Child's activities as a teacher and is arranged in three subseries.
Subseries A, Cooking classes, 1951-1963, 1985 (#514-521), includes material from L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes, Child's cooking school in Paris, as well as from more informal courses of lessons held in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. Most folders include Child's notes on dishes taught, recipes, menus, etc. The subseries is arranged chronologically.
Subseries B, Television programs, 1962-1983 (#522-661, 1383), includes production scripts and notes, recipes, transcripts, and some correspondence for three series of The French Chef (1962, 1970, 1972), Julia Child & Company (1978), Julia Child & More Company (1979), Dinner at Julia's (1982), and other television appearances. Some of The French Chef material is Child's own notebooks for each show, which include recipes, lists, production schedules, production notes, spatial drawings, transcripts, etc., arranged by show number. The first several years of The French Chef were filmed in black and white, and known as Series 1. Shows were sequentially (#1-134) numbered based on their air date, but were not necessarily filmed in sequence; generally film dates, not air dates, are given in the inventory. Series 2, filmed in color after a break of several years, was comprised of shows #201-265; Series 3 contained shows #301-316. Lists of The French Chef show titles and numbers are in #607, 611, 612, and 614. Production scripts (#569-590) include lists of ingredients, spatial drawings and lists of props, as well as draft and final scripts. Some may have belonged to Ruth Lockwood. Extra recipes for shows seem to have been kept both for reference and also for mailing to interested fans. Some have Child's notations and changes. The folders of all the recipes from the 200 series (#602-604) seem to have been used in the making of a subject index). Some recipe variants for The French Chef and Julia Child & Company were added during reprocessing from accession number 2001-M217: these were the same recipes printed in a different format. Other television appearances include a special on a White House state dinner, and material on Queen Elizabeth's Bicentennial visit to the White House (see also #362, 375). The subseries is organized with Child's own shows arranged chronologically, followed by other appearances arranged chronologically. See also MC 660 for more material on The French Chef.
Subseries C, Demonstrations, etc., 1961-1993 (#662-742), includes correspondence, recipes, and production notes for cooking demonstrations, other promotions, and special appearances by Child. The majority of the events are cooking demonstrations, a few are public television fundraising promotions Child attended in person or recorded for broadcast. Folders on large demonstrations or other large events are often are comprised of a small (dismantled) binder with sections for recipes, equipment, schedule, names, correspondence, etc. The subseries is arranged chronologically.
Series IV, WRITINGS, 1952-1989 (#743-967, 1384), includes drafts, typescripts, some galleys, and page proofs for Julia Child's cookbooks and articles. This series contains material on the following books: Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Vol. 1, 1961 and Vol. 2, 1970); The French Chef Cookbook (1968); From Julia Child's Kitchen (1975); Julia Child & Company (1978); Julia Child & More Company (1979), and The Way to Cook (1989). It also includes an early manuscript by Simone Beck and Louisette Remion Bertholle. Folders with book drafts and notes may contain some correspondence; most related correspondence can be found in Series II, Subseries D. Other book material (promotional material and tour information) may duplicate that found in Series III, Subseries C. Folders of "corrections" for revised or later editions usually include letters from readers complaining about recipes. Folders of Parade typescripts also may include correspondence, background research, etc. The series is arranged in general chronological order, with all material from each project grouped together. See also MC 660 for more material on all the books represented in this series.
Series V, PUBLICITY, 1961-1993 (#968-1014bo, 1385), includes published articles about Julia Child, her cookbooks, and her television shows. Clippings include articles about Child, reviews of and advertisements for her books, features on her appearances, television shows, etc. Scrapbooks contain many of the same clippings as found in the folders of loose clippings; some scrapbooks also include television listings for The French Chef. One volume of publicity and fan mail was compiled for Child by WGBH (#1008vf+). This series also contains several original cartoons or caricatures of Child. Material is arranged with loose clippings filed chronologically, with scrapbooks filed at the end.
Series VI, PHOTOGRAPHS AND OVERSIZED, 1948-1993 (#1015-1273, 1306-1376, 1386f-1397+) contains photographs, slides, negatives, and oversized material removed from previously listed series. It is arranged into two subseries by format. During reprocessing in 2011, all audio- and videotapes (formerly listed as #1274at-1305vt) were removed from the collection and have been processed separately. See Julia Child Videotape Collection (Vt-23) and T-139.
Subseries A, Photographs and slides, 1948-ca.1993 (#1015-1273, 1306-1376) consist of black and white still photographs, many taken on the set of Child's television shows by Paul Child; color slides intended to illustrate books and articles; and personal photographs of Julia and Paul Child and their friends. There was sometimes a several month time difference between the taping and airing of The French Chef television shows; the taping dates are listed here as the date of the photographs. If no taping date was recorded, only the year has been given. During reprocessing in 2011, some photographs of The French Chef were added from accession number 2001-M217; file units numbered #1306 and above are newly listed. Most of the slides in #1188-1243, images of food used to illustrate Child's Parade magazine column, were discarded during reprocessing; any folders with images including Child were retained. The subseries is arranged with professional photographs and slides in a loose chronological order by project, followed by personal photographs.
Many of the photographs taken on the set of The French Chef (#1015-1172) have been digitized and cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. More photographs will be cataloged and digitized in the future. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].
Subseries B, Oversized, 1961-1992 (#1386f-1397+) contains magazine articles, book publicity posters, and other oversized material removed from previously listed series.
In 1946, she married Paul Cushing Child (1902-1994). After the war, Paul worked for the U.S. Information Agency (USIA), and, while the Childs were stationed in Paris, Julia studied at the Cordon Bleu and soon opened a cooking school, L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes, with Simone Beck and Louisette Remion Bertholle. Her first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, written with Beck and Bertholle, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1961; the second volume, by Child and Beck, appeared in 1970. These books gathered together the methods and recipes of classic French cooking and introduced Americans to French cooking that worked.
In 1962 Child launched a television cooking show, The French Chef, on WGBH-TV, the Public Broadcasting System channel in Boston. This was followed by two other series of The French Chef in color (1970, 1972). She resolutely refused all offers to appear on commercial television, preferring the freedom to run the program without interference from sponsors. Two cookbooks based on the series were published: The French Chef Cookbook (Knopf, 1968; Bantam, 1972) and From Julia Child's Kitchen (Knopf, 1975; Jonathan Cape, 1978). In the television programs and the books that accompanied them, Child was able to communicate, with gusto and enthusiasm, classic techniques for cooking, showing the importance of fresh produce and ingredients and of correct kitchen equipment and cooking procedures. She won a national following and launched a revolution in cooking and eating in the United States.
Three more television series followed: Julia Child & Company (1978), Julia Child & More Company (1980), and Dinner with Julia (1982). Knopf brought out companion cookbooks for the first two of these shows. Child's next book, The Way to Cook (Knopf, 1989), was accompanied by a "how-to" video. In addition to cookbooks, she wrote regular columns for the Boston Globe, McCall's, Parade, and many articles on food or cookery in other magazines.
As a star popular entertainer, Child was much in demand for cooking demonstrations, lectures, and promotions for countless non-profit organizations. She appeared with the Boston Pops Orchestra, took part in television specials (as compère of programs about White House banquets), and appeared on talk shows and as a guest on ABC's Good Morning America.
Child always worked with a team of colleagues. First and foremost was her husband Paul, accomplished photographer, artist, and chronicler of their life together. After his retirement, he was "resident manager" for her TV shows, was responsible for black and white still photography, and contributed some of the line drawings illustrating Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Other colleagues included Ruth Lockwood, producer of her TV series; Avis DeVoto, the friend who, when Houghton Mifflin rejected the manuscript for Mastering the Art of French Cooking, sent it to Knopf, which published it; Peggy Yntema, co-author of Julia Child & Company and Julia Child & More Company; Gladys Christopherson and Stephanie Hersch, secretaries; and a host of others who answered fan letters or helped backstage with the production of her television programs.
Child's many awards include the Peabody (1965) and Emmy (1966) for The French Chef (the first to be given to a PBS program), l'Ordre du Mérite Agricole (1967), l'Ordre National du Mérite (1976), and honorary degrees from Boston College, Bates College, Smith College, and Harvard University, among others. She received the French Legion of Honor in 2000 and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003.
The Childs maintained three homes: in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Santa Barbara, California; and in the south of France, where they built a summer home on the property of Child's colleague, Simone Beck. Paul died in 1994. Julia moved permanently to a retirement community in Santa Barbara, California in 2001; she died of kidney failure in Montecito, California, on August 13, 2004.
- Series I. Biographical, 1925-1993 (#1-44)
- ___Subseries A. Julia Child, 1929-1993 (#1-24)
- ___Subseries B. Paul Child, 1925-1989 (#25-44)
- Series II. Correspondence, 1925-1992 (#45-513, 1377-1382, 1398m)
- ___Subseries A. Personal, 1925-1989 (#45-118, 1377-1381)
- ___Subseries B. Cookery, 1951-1992 (#119-352, 1382)
- ___Subseries C. Fans, 1962-1992 (#353-420, 1398m)
- ___Subseries D. Publishers, 1952-1989 (#421-472)
- ___Subseries E. Attorneys and finances, 1952-1989 (#473-485)
- ___Subseries F. Television companies, 1962-1986 (#486-513)
- Series III. Teaching, 1951-1993 (#514-742, 1383)
- ___Subseries A. Cooking classes, 1951-1963, 1985 (#514-521)
- ___Subseries B. Television programs, 1962-1983 (#522-661, 1383)
- ___Subseries C. Demonstrations, etc., 1961-1993 (#662-742)
- Series IV. Writings, 1952-1989 (#743-967, 1384)
- Series V. Publicity, 1961-1993 (#968-1014bo, 1385)
- Series VI. Photographs and oversized, 1948-1993 (#1015-1273, 1306-1376, 1386f-1397+)
- ___Subseries A. Photographs and slides, 1948-ca.1993 (#1015-1273, 1306-1376)
- ___Subseries B. Oversized, 1961-1992 (#1386f-1397+)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These papers of Julia Child were given to the Schlesinger Library by Julia Child between May 1976 and August 1993.
- Box 1: 1-6, 7b-11, 13-15, 18-20v
- Box 2: 21v-31
- Box 3: 32-35, 37-40, 42-46, 48
- Box 4: 49-53, 55-58
- Box 5: 59-63, 65-66
- Box 6: 67-73
- Box 7: 74-75, 77-83
- Box 8: 84-95
- Box 9: 96-118
- Box 10: 119-130
- Box 11: 131-139
- Box 12: 140-148
- Box 13: 149-156
- Box 14: 157-163, 165-170, 172
- Box 15: 173-184
- Box 16: 185-200
- Box 17: 201-218
- Box 18: 219-235
- Box 19: 236-251
- Box 20: 252-267
- Box 21: 268-281
- Box 22: 282-303
- Box 23: 304-325
- Box 24: 326-340
- Box 25: 341-348
- Box 26: 349-351, 353-358
- Box 27: 359-369
- Box 28: 370-379
- Box 29: 380-387
- Box 30: 388-396
- Box 31: 397-405
- Box 32: 406-407, 410-414
- Box 33: 415-427
- Box 34: 428-437
- Box 35: 438-447
- Box 36: 448-460
- Box 37: 461-476
- Box 38:477-488
- Box 39: 489-503
- Box 40: 504-512
- Box 41: 513-523
- Box 42: 524-529
- Box 43: 530-535
- Box 44: 536-542
- Box 45: 543-547
- Box 46 548-554
- Box 47: 555-567
- Box 48: 568-577
- Box 49: 578-582
- Box 50: 583-588
- Box 51: 589-600
- Box 52: 601-609
- Box 53: 610-625
- Box 54: 626-636
- Box 55: 637-646
- Box 56: 647-654
- Box 57: 655-662
- Box 58: 663-673
- Box 59: 674-683
- Box 60: 684-697
- Box 61: 698-710
- Box 62: 711-719
- Box 63: 720-729
- Box 64: 730-741
- Box 65: 743-754
- Box 66: 755-762
- Box 67: 763a-767
- Box 68: 768-776
- Box 69: 777-784
- Box 70: 785-795
- Box 71: 796-805
- Box 72: 806v
- Box 73: 807-812, 814
- Box 74: 815-830
- Box 75: 831-844
- Box 76: 845-852
- Box 77: 853-861
- Box 78: 862v-871
- Box 79: 872-882
- Box 80: 883-890
- Box 81: 891-897a
- Box 82: 897b-910
- Box 83: 911-938
- Box 84: 939-951, 957-958
- Box 85: 959-964
- Box 86: 965-971
- Box 87: 972a-978, 980
- Box 88: 981-988
- Box 89: 989-997
- Box 90: 998-1002, 1377-1385
- Folio Box 91: Galleys of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, v. 2
- Folio+ Box 92: 1003vf+-1004vf+
- Folio+ Box 93: 1005vf+
- Folio+ Box 94: 1006vf+
- Folio+ Box 95: 1007vf+-1008vf+
- Folio+ Box 96: 1009vf+
- Folio+ Box 97: 1010vf+
- Folio+ Box 98: 1011vf+-1012vf+
- Folio Box 99: 1013vf
- Folio Box 100: 16f, 133bf, 813f, 952f-956f, 1386f-1391f
- Folio+ Box 101: 36f+, 47f+, 408f+, 979f+, 1014af+, 1392f+-1395f+
- Box 102: 54, 64, 164, 171, 352, 742, 1015-1021
- Box 103: 1022-1032
- Box 104: 1033-1042
- Box 105: 1043-1050
- Box 106: 1051-1060
- Box 107: 1061-1071
- Box 108: 1072-1082
- Box 109: 1083-1093
- Box 110: 1094-1103
- Box 111: 1104-1111
- Box 112: 1112-1124
- Box 113: 1125-1137
- Box 114: 1138-1151
- Box 115: 1152-1165
- Box 116: 1166-1174, 1178-1187, 1220a, 1224a, 1225a, 1227, 1239, 1244-1245
- Box 117: 1246-1263, 1266-1273
- Box 118: 1306-1326
- Box 119: 1327-1341
- Box 120: 1342-1351, 1353-1356
- Box 121: 1357-1359, 1175-1177, 1190-1191, 1194, 1198-1206
- Box 122: 1209, 1211, 1217-1218, 1220b, 1222, 1224b, 1226, 1228, 1231-1235, 1360-1376
- Box 123: 7am, 12m, 17m, 409am, 409bm, 1398m
By: Jane S. Knowles
Updated: April 2011
By: Jenny Gotwals, with assistance from Camille Owens.
- Authors, American
- Color slides
- Cooking schools
- Cooking, American
- Cooking, French
- Cooking--Study and teaching
- Cooking--United States
- Cooks--United States
- Fan mail
- Manuscripts for publication
- Phonograph records
- Scripts (documents)
- Television cooking shows
- Women authors
- Women cooks--United States
- Women in television broadcasting--United States
- Child, Julia. Papers of Julia Child, 1925-1993: A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Radcliffe College Class of 1950 and the Radcliffe College Class of 1968.
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
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