Astor, Lady Nancy
US-born 1st woman to sit in British Parliament 1919-45, notable for verbal jousts with Churchill
Type: Signed Card
Description: (1879-1964) Virginia-born 1st seated woman Member of Parliament (MP), wife of Waldorf, 2nd Viscount Astor. To England 1905, moved into Cliveden, lavish estate in Buckinghamshire on the Thames after she married in 1906, became prominent hostess for the social elite. Became a Christian Scientist and during WW I Cliveden was a hospital for Canadian soldiers. Although she did not believe in use of medical practices, she justified her position as helping those who needed non-medical assistance. This work built a public image of her as a friend to soldiers, useful when she ran for office although she was against war itself.
When her husband succeeded to his father’s peerage as 2nd Viscount Astor and forfeited his seat in the House of Commons, Lady Astor ran for the vacant seat and won. She rallied supporters of the government, moderated her Prohibitionist views, and used women’s meetings to gain support of female voters. Unionist (“Tory”) MP 1919-45, worked to bring more women into civil service, the police force, education, and House of Lords. She had a long friendship with George Bernard Shaw despite their opposing political views. She criticized the Nazis for devaluing position of women, and adamantly opposed another world war. Several of her friends and associates became heavily involved in German appeasement policy. The “Cliveden set” was seen as the prime mover for appeasement or even a beachhead for Nazism in Britain. She also had a close friendship with US Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. She occasionally met with Nazi officials in keeping with PM Chamberlain’s policies and did not seem bothered that many of her public statements caused difficulties, becoming increasingly harsh in anti-Catholic and anti-Communist sentiments.
Lady Astor was nearly as famous for her scathing wit as for her political career. By far, her most famous reported quotes were taken from alleged exchanges between she and Winston Churchill. Possibly the most famous is when Lady Astor said to Churchill, “If you were my husband, I’d poison your tea,” to which he responded, “Madam, if you were my wife, I’d drink it!” It is said that after Lady Astor accused him of drunkenness, Churchill responded, “And you, Madam, are ugly. In the morning I will be sober, but you will still be ugly.”
Frameable signed tan 3 x 5 card.
Condition: Very good