“Both a remarkable achievement and a real treat . . . written with elegance. . . . American and British readers interested in genealogy and the world of social connections will enjoy this work immensely, and it is bound to become a classic among bibliographies. Highly recommended.” Gail Benjafield, Library Journal
The Titled Americans
Three American Sisters and the British Aristocratic World into Which They Married
978-0-8021-4219-1 • $15.00 • Paperback • Nov. 2005
The life and times of the fabulous Jerome SistersJennie, the star, was the mother of Winston Churchill, Britain’s most famous statesman
The unforgettable story of three glamorous, intensely close sisters and the extravagance of their privileged world, The Titled Americans tells the saga of Clara, Jennie, and Leonie Jerome, who captivated Victorian and Edwardian high society when they each married titled British husbands.
After arriving in New York City in 1850, their father, Leonard Jerome, settled in Brooklyn and became an immensely successful Wall Street speculator who subsequently made and lost several fortunes. In the 1860s his wife, Clarissa, took their daughters to Europe. They caused a sensation upon arrival, and wherever they went they became known as, simply, “the Good, the Witty, and the Beautiful.” Magnetic and charming, Jennie “the Beautiful,” married Lord Randolph Churchill, becoming not only mother to Sir Winston, but also the most famous of the three. One of the first of such trans-atlantic unions linking American heiresses with members of an increasingly impecunious aristocracy, Jennie’s brilliant marriage not only started a trend, it also launched her sisters into the highest circles of society. Even though he’d squandered his small fortune, the dashing Moreton Frewen won the heart of Clara “the Good,” while Leonie “the Witty” married into one of the largest landholding families in Ireland, the Leslies. Waves of grave financial hardship afflicted them all, but they rescued one another always, and this is the story’s heartthe lifelong, deeply supportive, laughter-filled relationship among them.
Like Mary Lovell’s The Mitford Sisters, Kehoe’s engrossing work is full of dash and heartbreak unearthed from family letters and memoirs. Spanning more than one hundred years of family history that encompasses nineteenth-century New York, the fall of the second republic in France, and both world wars in a Britain just past its days of empire, The Titled Americans is a compellingly readable portrait of society long gone.