November 3, 2014

Randolph Churchill and Jennie Churchill Repard Speak in Tennessee

Randolph__Jennie_at_Hyde_ParkRandolph Churchill and his sister Jennie Churchill Repard visited Knoxville, Tennessee and delivered a joint presentation called “From Brooklyn to Blenheim and Beyond.” The siblings read letters exchanged between their American-born great-great-grandmother Jennie Jerome and her husband Lord Randolph Churchill written by the couple during their brief courtship. Anecdotes were told about the Jerome family and rare photographs were shown of Jennie with her two sons, Winston and Jack.

The presentation was inspired by Jennie’s story, which goes beyond that of a Brooklyn-born, Victorian socialite who married into the British aristocracy. Forward-thinking and determined, Jennie Jerome “wasn’t a person who sat around.” She opted instead to raise money for both British and American charities, bring awareness to important causes such as reform of prison conditions and contribute to war-relief efforts throughout her life even going so far as to sponsor and serve on a hospital ship during the Boer War.

Winston Churchill was very proud of his American heritage and was inspired by his headstrong mother, who served as his literary agent while he worked as a war correspondent.  Young Winston used what influence his mother could provide to advance his military and political careers. Jennie “believed in him passionately,” and her determination regarding the success of her sons is mirrored in Sir Winston’s own dedication to the achievements of his children.

“From Brooklyn to Blenheim and Beyond” was presented by the East Tennessee Historical Society. The Churchills came to speak at the bequest of longtime friend and Knoxville businessman Monroe Trout.

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