Grant Duff, Sheila 1913-2004

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GRANT DUFF, Sheila 1913-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born May 11, 1913, in London, England; died March 19, 2004. Journalist and author. Duff was best known for her pre-World War II reporting and her staunch stand against Germany's annexation of Czechoslovakia. Developing a great distaste for war after her father was killed during World War I, she was raised in a liberal household that encouraged her education at St. Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she earned a B.A. in 1934. After working for the Chicago Daily News for a year, her concern for Czechoslovakia began in 1936, when she was assigned as the Prague correspondent for the London Observer. Opposed to both Adolph Hitler and the Communists' interests in Czechoslovakia, she was committed to a belief that nonviolence and a free country were in the best interests of that nation. Her first book, German and Czech: A Threat to European Peace (1937) dealt with the subject, as did Europe and the Czechs, the bestseller that was released in 1938, the same year the international community conceded Czechoslovakia to Germany. Back in England in 1937, Duff served as an advisor to Winston Churchill and worked for the British Foreign Office in the Press Section as an expert on foreign research, where she remained from 1939 to 1961; during the war, she also worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation. It was during World War II, as well, that she formed a romantic relationship with Adam von Trott zu Stolz, the famous conspirator who planned Hitler's assassination and who later was killed for it; their correspondence were later published in her A Noble Combat: The Letters of Shiela Grant Duff and Adam von Trott zu Stolz, 1931-1939 (1988). After an unsuccessful first marriage, Duff married a Russian named Micheal Sokolov Grant, and the two of them led a peaceful existence living and working on farms in England and Ireland. In 1982, Duff published her memoirs about her pre-war life in The Parting of Ways: A Personal Account of the Thirties.



Daily Telegraph (London, England), March 27, 2004, p. 34.

Guardian (London, England), April 3, 2004, p. 19.

Independent (London, England), April 12, 2004, p. 31.