In the 20th century the family achieved contemporary notoriety for their controversial and stylish lives as young people, and later for their very public political divisions between communist and fascist. The six daughters of the family were known collectively as the Mitford sisters. Nancy and Jessica became well-known writers and Deborah managed one of the most successful stately homes in England. Jessica and Deborah both married nephews-by-marriage of prime ministers, Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan respectively. Deborah and Diana married wealthy aristocrats. Unity and Diana were well known during the 1930s for being close to Adolf Hitler. In the early 1980s, Deborah also became politically active when she and her husband, the Duke of Devonshire, became leading lights in the newly formed political party, the SDP.
The sisters were the children of David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale, known to his children as "Farve" and various other nicknames. Their mother was Sydney Freeman-Mitford, Baroness Redesdale, known as "Muv", the daughter of Thomas Bowles, whom David married in 1904. The family homes changed from Batsford House to Asthall Manor beside the River Windrush in Oxfordshire and then Swinbrook Cottage nearby, with a house at Rutland Gate in London. The Mitford sisters (and their one brother) grew up in an aristocratic country house, not unusual for its time, with emotionally distant parents, a large household with numerous servants, and a disregard for formal education, at least where the girls of the family were concerned; they were expected to marry young and well. The parents were described as "nature's fascists"; at least two of their daughters followed in their footsteps, while one turned her back on her inherited privileges and ran away to become a Communist, a result of the excitements of European politics in the 1930s. Following on from the biographical sketches of many of the family characters in Nancy's books, Jessica's memoir Hons and Rebels describes their upbringing. The children had a private language called "Boudledidge", and each had a different nickname for the others.
On the outbreak of the Second World War, their political views came into sharper relief. "Farve" remained a conservative but "Muv" usually supported her fascist daughters and they separated in the late 1940s. Nancy, a moderate socialist, worked in London during The Blitz. Pamela remained non-political. Tom, a fascist, refused to fight Germany but volunteered to fight against Imperial Japan. He was killed in combat a short time after arriving in Asia. Diana (married to Oswald Mosley), a fascist, was interned in London for three years. Unity, distraught over the war declaration against Hitler, tried to commit suicide and suffered brain damage until her early death. Jessica, a communist supporter, had moved to the U.S., but her husband Esmond volunteered for the RAF and was killed during an air raid. The political rivalry between Jessica and Diana lasted until their deaths, with the other sisters in frequent contact.
The sisters are noted as prolific letter-writers. A substantial body of correspondence still exists, principally letters between the sisters.
VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION ISSUES DIRECTIVE ON IMPLEMENTATION OF CHANGES FOR CO-PAYMENTS FOR OUTPATIENT MEDICAL CARE PROVIDED TO VETERANS
Feb 06, 2006; The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Veterans Health Administration issued the following directive: 1. PURPOSE: This Veterans...