Sunday, October 24, 2010

Modern woman

With America's politics and economy in 19th century retrograde, we might as well look around for a few other supposedly modern notions that were actually established before anyone now living was born. For example, women who date or marry significantly younger men. Did the 19th century see any of these so-called cougars?

Jennie Jerome was born in Brooklyn, New York, 1854. She was raised there, too. At age 20, she married a man five years here senior. This photograph was taken before her marriage.
Jennie gave birth to a son eight months after her wedding and, six years later, to a second son. Her husband passed away in 1895. Five years later, at age 46, she married for the second time. Her new husband was 26 years old, the same age as her oldest son.

She married for a third and final time in 1918, to a man born in 1877. Her third husband was 41, while she was 64. He was three years younger than her oldest son.

Jennie would otherwise be a footnote to cultural history, were it not for her first marriage, by which she became known to us as Lady Randolph Churchill.

Her oldest son was named Winston.

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