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Paul Child
Birth: Jan. 15, 1902
Montclair
Essex County
New Jersey, USA
Death: May 12, 1994
Lexington
Middlesex County
Massachusetts, USA

Intelligence Officer and gourmand. Served with Office of Strategic Services during WWII, later with U.S. Information Service. Husband of popular television chef, Julia McWillians Child. Paul Child was a worldly, artistic, largely self-educated man with a bleak traumatic childhood with no father and a struggling mother. He was said to have the "precise, almost effete, speech of an aesthete." He was also known as an urbane artist and epicurean; turned OSS mapmaker for the Office of Strategic Services which was setting up bases around the world. In July 1944, Paul met Julia McWilliams; he was a "one-man art factory," as she called him, who was 10 years her senior and quite sophisticated. He worked closely with the generals to set up the various war rooms, creating maps, drawings, and photography for the OSS's Presentation Department. She was enamored of Paul, but he was looking for a princess. It would be a while before Paul recognized that he preferred a lion. By March 1945, the OSS had moved to China wehre the base of operations was first Kunming, then Chongqing (Chungking), which was the free capital. Both Julia and Paul spent time in Kunming and Chongqing. In Kunming Julia set up a file system, employing her now well-regarded efficiency and tact. There were difficulties coordinating and directing the complex machinations of the rival Chinese leaders, the Nationalist Chiang Kai-shek and the Communist leaders Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai. According to Paul, "Julia was privy to all messages, both incoming from the field, or Washington, etcetera, and outgoing to our agents and operatives all over China-Burma-India." Back in the states, Paul and Julia wanted to solidify their commitment by getting married. Nothing could stop them, not Julia’s father who was at odds with the liberal-minded Paul nor the head-on collison the day before the wedding. Julia and Paul married in 1946 and then moved to Paris in 1948, where Paul worked for the U.S. Information Service, in charge of exhibits and photography. His assigment in Paris was finished in 1954; he was subsequently assigned to Marseilles, Bonn, Oslo and Washington DC while with the US State Department. As research began on Julia's first cookbook, Paul was the assistant, proofing drafts of Julia's cookbooks and giving endless feedback on hundreds of dishes. When he retired in 1961 and the couple returned to the United States, he devoted himself fulltime to Julia's TV shows and publicity tours, making travel arrangements, washing dishes and accompanying Julia on trips to the market. They laughed and held hands throughout all of it, and never, ever, did Paul want the spotlight to be anywhere but on Julia. He often referred to himself as “part of the iceberg that doesn't show.” If Paul supported Julia in practical matters, he always made sure to express his admiration and affection in romantic ways as well, often writing verse for his beloved that was full of humor and lighthearted lust. In 1961, Paul Child retired from the Foreign Service and gradually became his wife's road manager, agent, traveling companion and general factotum, washing dishes at her demonstrations if no one else was available. In 1965, the Childs settled in the Cambridge house in which Julia lived until 2001. Late in life Paul became moody and was occasionally disagreeable and near the end of his life he became very grumpy and distant. After several strokes, the linguist lost his ability to recall a word. After years of waning health, Paul Child left his wife alone at the table in 1994.  
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Julia Child (1912 - 2004)
 
Burial:
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
 
Created by: Fred Beisser
Record added: Aug 16, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 9326609
Paul Child
Added by: Fred Beisser
 
 
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 Added: Aug. 17, 2014

- elaine bailey
 Added: Aug. 16, 2014

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