1. Home
  2. News
  3. France honours the starlet spy

France honours the starlet spy

     ​​​

Josephine Baker will today be honoured with having her ashes symbolically transferred to the Panthéon. The first woman of colour and the first artist to be interred at the mausoleum in Paris; a burial place for celebrated French icons such as scientist Marie Curie and philosopher Voltaire. Baker will be the sixth woman to join some 80 national heroes.

Born in St Louis, Missouri in 1906, Baker rose to international stardom in the 1920s after moving to France to pursue a career in showbusiness.

Professor Hanna Diamond, Leverhulme Research Fellow at Cardiff University, has been advising the French media in the run up to the event as the foremost expert on Josephine Baker. Professor of French History, her work revolves around the social and cultural history of France during the Second World War. The Leverhulme Trust has recently funded Professor Diamond to write a new book charting the wartime experiences of Josephine Baker; little has been written about when she spied for the French resistance.  

In 1945, when Baker was nearly 40 and considered by many to be past her prime, she promoted stories of her wartime resistance activities to counter false reports of her death and to reboot her celebrity status. Baker shared how she collected and transmitted intelligence under cover of her celebrity in France, Spain, Portugal and North Africa as well  as entertaining Allied troops.

During a period when we increasingly recognise the importance of uncovering histories that have been hidden due to gender, sexuality or ethnicity, Professor Diamond feels her Leverhulme Fellowship is very timely.

More news
15 Oct 2021
2021 Philip Leverhulme Prize Winners
Leverhulme Trust awards £3 million to 30 outstanding researchers across the UK   The Leverhulme Trust has announced the winne...
14 Oct 2021
British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small R...
The British Academy awards £1.25million to small research projects across the UK  Estimating the effect of crime on house pric...
Keep in touch
Sign up for our funding bulletin to receive:
  • details of scheme opening dates and deadlines
  • advance notice of changes to award criteria
  • listings of grants made
  • a PDF of our newsletter, containing short articles describing recently funded research.
Our e-bulletin is aimed at research support staff, current grant holders and those considering making an application.
Contact
The Leverhulme Trust
1 Pemberton Row
London
EC4A 3BG
General enquiries
020 7042 9888