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Women Who Rock: Julia Child
By Amy Brantley
March is National Women’s History Month, and we’re celebrating by sharing a lady we admire each weekday.
JULIA CHILD (1912-2004), Smith '34
Was there more to America’s first celebrity chef than what we read and saw? Most definitely. Julia Child had a past that most wouldn’t believe, and a number of accomplishments that chefs around the world would envy.
She was born Julia McWilliams on Aug. 15, 1912. After a childhood spent attending Katharine Branson School for Girls, Julia attended Smith College in Massachusetts.
Instead of marrying and settling down, she volunteered at the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to today’s CIA. While her title was research assistant, she was actually a spy during World War II. It was during this time that she met Paul Child, her future husband.
In 1948, the couple moved to France. It was there that Julia Child fell in love with cooking. She attended the acclaimed Cordon Bleu and, with fellow students, wrote “Mastering the Art of French Cuisine.” In 1962, the television program “The French Chef” premiered and changed the way Americans felt about French cuisine.
Julia Child would publish 12 cookbooks in all, and hosted several TV shows. France was also amazed with her accomplishments, awarding her with the Legion d’Honneur. Even one of her TV kitchens was featured in the Smithsonian. More importantly, Julia Child was the first woman inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame.
On August 13, 2004, two days before her 92nd birthday, Julia Child died, breaking the hearts of chefs and foodies around the world.