Churchill, Jennie Jerome
- Amy G. Richter
Churchill, Jennie Jerome (09 January 1854–29 June 1921), society hostess, wife of Lord Randolph Churchill, and mother of Winston Churchill, was born Jeanette Jerome in Brooklyn, New York, the second daughter of Leonard Jerome, a financier, editor, and sportsman, and Clarissa (Clara) Hall. Called Jennie after the popular singer Jenny Lind, Jennie’s childhood was marked by the wealth and tastes of her ambitious parents. Leonard made his fortune speculating in stocks and built his reputation supporting progressive causes within the Whig Party and later the Republican Party, serving as consul in Trieste from 1852 to 1853. From an early age, Jennie shared her father’s love of music and horses and was an accomplished pianist and rider all her life. Her education included attendance at an elite private school and piano lessons with Stephen Heller, a friend of Chopin’s. Despite their wealth, the Jeromes were never accepted among New York’s elite families, a slight felt deeply by Jennie’s mother. In 1867, after Leonard suffered a significant loss in the stock market, Clarissa moved to Paris with her three daughters. Jennie would never live in the United States again....