Julie K. Kernan was born in Roanoke Virginia, January 24, 1901. Her brother, Thomas D. Kernan was born on March 18, 1903. Their parents were Edward O. Kernan (1860-1916) and Rosalie Gravely (1869-1908).
Julie Kernan grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. She graduated from St. Patrick's High School, and attended Catholic and George Washington universities. In 1926 she earned a degree in French studies at the University of Grenoble. Her long career in publishing began in the editorial department of the international law division of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1919 to 1929).
From 1931 through 1935, Ms. Kernan was editorial secretary for the French Book Club. She resided in Paris until 1934. In 1935 she returned to the U.S., taking a variety of editorial and managerial positions with publishers in New York. These included Longmans, Green & Company, as editor of religious publications (1935-1950); David McKay & Co., as manager of the religious book department (1950-1953); and P.J. Kenedy & Sons, as editor (1953-1966).
Ms. Kernan retired in 1966. Her last residence was in Washington, D.C., where she died on May 24, 1988.
Throughout her life, Ms. Kernan was a prodigious writer and translator. Her published works include: “The Catholic Church in Action,” in collaboration with Michael Williams (1934); “St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angel of the Schools,” by Raissa Maritain, translated by Julie Kernan (1935); “The Life of Jesus,” by Francois Mauriac, translated by Julie Kernan (1937); “We Have Been Friends Together,” memoirs by Raissa Maritain, translated by Julie Kernan (1942). Other translations include: “Raissa Maritain's Adventures in Grace” (1945); and “Notes on the Our Father” (1963); as well as Henri Daniel-Rops on Monsieur Vincent (1961); Jacques Chabanne on Saint Augustine (1962); “Port Royal, the Drama of the Jansenists” by Marc Escolier (1968); and “The Huguenot Wars” by Julien Coudy (1969).
One of Ms. Kernan's most remarkable works is her reminiscence of her long friendship with Jacques and Raissa Maritain in her book, “Our Friend Jacques Maritain,” published by Doubleday in 1975.
Thomas Kernan was educated at Georgetown University, receiving a B.A. in 1922, and M.A. in 1923. In 1925, he joined the staff of Conde Nast Publications in New York City. He was general manager of the staff and later circulation manager of Vogue, Vanity Fair, and House and Garden magazines.
In 1937, Kernan became the publisher of the French edition of Vogue in Paris. When Nazi Germany invaded France in June 1940, he remained in the country assisting with the evacuation of French and American friends and the preservation of their property.
Kernan returned to the U.S. in 1941, resigning from Conde Nast the following year. He became a freelance journalist for some time until August 1942, when he returned to France with the American Red Cross to further assist in the evacuation of American civilians and diplomats.
In November 1942, Kernan was interned with the American diplomatic corps at Lourdes. Early in 1943, he was moved to Baden Baden, Germany, where he would be detained for another thirteen months. Here, he wrote his novel, "Now with the Morning Star," perhaps the first to be written in an internment camp. After his release, Kernan entered the U.S. Intelligence Service and served in England and Germany with the Office of War Information from 1944 through the end of the war.
In the years after the war, and for the rest of his life, Kernan continued to reside in France. He inaugurated the French edition of House and Garden magazine, composing from its pages several deluxe and best-selling books on architecture, interior decoration, and gardening. Kernan officially retired from Conde Nast in 1969. His various residences In Paris included the Place Vendome and the Rue de Marignac. He also bought and renovated a country house on the Rue de la Montaigne, St. Aignan, in Senlis.
Thomas Kernan was author of several books including “Across a World” in collaboration with John J. Considine (1942); “France on Berlin Time” (1941); and the aforementioned novel, “Now with the Morning Star” (Scribner's, 1944, 1951 and Bodley Head, 1945). Books by both Thomas and Julie Kernan were translated and published variously in French, Spanish and German.
Thomas Kernan died in France on May 9, 1975.