Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Real Jean Kronski?

Was her name really Jean Kronski? Even though Miller referred to her that way in his own personal notes, most experts agree that her name was actually Mara or Martha Andrews. "Jean Kronski" was a false name given to her by June. Then there's Time of The Assassins, the single incident in which Henry Miller refers to Jean as 'Thelma.'

Read this passage from Time Of The Assassins yourself.

This "Thelma" is not a character is some pseudo-biographical fictional novel. Miller is, in theory, referring to an actual person, just as he mentions the real names of Anais Nin and John Dudley in this piece. So why the alias "Thelma" in place of "Jean Kronski"?

Maybe her name was Thelma and this "Mara Andrews" hypothesis is actually incorrect?

Case in point: The New York City Death Index has a listing for a Thelma Krinsky, who died on October 28, 1947 in Manhattan. She was 44 years old, meaning she was born around 1903. If this was "Jean Kronski," she would have been around 24 when she met Henry and June, which is about the right age it seems to me.

Thelma KRINSKY. NYC death certificate # 23094

I couldn't find an obituary listing for this name in the New York Times archives. But that just means no one listed her and that doesn't really prove anything. What we need is a copy of the certificate listed above.

Krinsky is obviously close to "Kronski." And Miller calls her Thelma in Assassins. Do I have a case? Can the scholarly Henry Miller experts out there offer me any feedback?

** UPDATE JULY 24, 2006

Take a look at the Comments section of this post for discussion about the real identity of Jean Kronski. The most recent hypothesis is that her name was actually Marion Fish, or, sometimes using her adopted name, Marion McCarthy. Karl Orend seems to have established this idea (see, for example, the annotated letter from Alfred Perles to June Mansfield in 1962, from Nexus - The International Henry Miller Journal #3.)

Why "Thelma?"

If Kronski was in fact named Marion Fish, here's one suggestion as to why Miller would choose the name "Thelma" to identify her in Time Of The Assassins: Thelma Wood. Wood [seen at left] was a contemporary of Henry's, who lived in Greenwich Village in 1928 according to this biography. Like Jean Kronski, she was a sculptor and was bisexual (she had a famous relationship with Djuna Barnes). She was also around the same age and had a "boyish" look, as did Kronski.

I dunno, just a thought ....


Anonymous JamesD said...

Robert Ferguson writes that Kronski was really Mara Andrews, but Karl Orend claims in NEXUS: THE INTERNATIONAL HENRY MILLER JOURNAL that Andrews was another woman, Alfred Perles's former fiancee. In his article on June in A CAFE IN SPACE: THE ANAIS NIN LITERARY JOURNAL, Orend writes that Kronski's birth name was Marion Fish and that Marion also used the name of her adopted parents, McCarthy. Ferguson cites only "a great deal of circumstantial evidence" for his claim.

9:15 AM  
Blogger RC said...

Thanks for this James. I'm still trying to sort out all of the theories. In the Nexus Journal #3 (p. 68-70, Some Unforgiving Encounter), Orend refers to Mara Andrews (his ex-fiance) and Jean Kronski (June's friend) as two separate people. I guess this was before he discovered "Marion Fish." I'll have to dig up the artcile you speak of and compare notes.

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Pierre from Montreal said...


On page 80 of that same issue, you’ll find more info on Jean Kronski (Marion Fish-McCarthy), given again by Karl Orend, who says she used both of these surnames (Fish was her birth name, McCarthy, the name of her foster parents). Finding the list of the passengers of the boat she and June sailed on, in April 1927, would be the only way to know her passport name, I guess; Ferguson says it was the « Rochambeau » (p.152), Martin, the « S.S.Suffren » (p.132).

Good luck and take care!

9:04 PM  
Blogger RC said...

Thanks Pierre, you're absolutely right. I missed that. While Karl Orend writes this in reference to Alfred Perles' letter to June from 1962, I'm still not sure how Orend makes the conclusion that her first name was Marion. I've been meaning to create a biographical posting about "Jean Kronski" for some time now, but I hope to reach a satisfying conclusion about her actual identity before I do. Thanks again.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Pierre from Montreal said...

Hi RC!

Just to add to the confusion concerning Jean Kronski’s real name, here is what I found on pages 181 and 182 in Kenneth C. Dick, "Henry Miller, Colossus of One", Alberts-Sittard, The Netherlands, 1967 : « Anastasia was not the girl’s real name nor, because she was an orphan, did she know her true name. Her first foster parents, who did not adopt her, Mr. and Mrs. Thrall, called her Marion. Her second foster parents, were said to be Mr. and Mrs. Fish, somewhow associated with the Grace Steamship Lines. The Fish’s would send her money but `Stasia would send it back to them. « The name of Marion », says June « did not fit this beautiful thing at all. I named her Jean. » Then because `Stasia claimed a Russian parentage, June selected the name of Kronski after Miller’s book character "Dr. Kronski ". All this to lend credence to an artificial background which June dreamed up for the girl, as being a bastard, and a descendant of the Romanoff’s. The fact that Jean was unable to recall anything about her pseudo royal ancestry was easily explained away by simply stating that she had been brought to America as a very young child. »
As you can see, Kenneth C. Dick doesn’t mention the surname McCarthy at all, although Alfred Perlès in his letter to June in 1962 does say : « …and Jean Kronski, alias Fish, alias McCarthy, alias Romanoff, as young and ageless then as she is now, wherever she is… »

The mystery abides…
Take care!

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something interesting I found this evening:
Bernard Gordon, "Hollywood Exile, Or, How I Learned to Love the Blacklist: A Memoir" p. 11 (available on googlebooks) writes about his wife Jean Lewin's relationship with June and Henry:
"Despite her youth and inexperience, she [Jean] found a niche for herself in the Village where she was taken in hand by the legendary June Mansfield of Henry and June, who was already involved with the legendary Henry Miller. June arranged for Jean to live with her, not only because she felt a maternal affection for the innocent kid from the sticks but because it was convenient. She used Jean as a buffer between Henry Miller and her other lover, a moneyed man who paid the rent, showered June with gifts, and provided the funds June spent supporting Miller, who was supposed to be in the dark about this liaison. Occasionally Jean had to answer the door and keep one of them from entering and finding June engaged in the bedroom with the other man. But the mercurial June eventually took off for Europe with Henry, coolly abandoning Jean. By now, the crash of 1929 had occurred."

Jean Lewin moved from Morgantown, West Virginia at age 18 to New York, "just before the Depression struck in 1929". p. 11.

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