Sally Jerome Archive

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1103 SJA
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      3 boxes, 12 portfolios, 1 orange plastic bag, 3 folders

Scope and Content

Artwork portfolio folders (up to A1 size) containing artworks by Sally Jerome. The artworks cover Sally's entire career, from her work as a graphic designer in the 1920s up until her death in 2002. The works consist of preliminary and unframed works covering a wide variety of media and subjects, including: lino prints; lithographs and monoprints; wash; water colours; acrylics; pastels; wax pastel; charcoal. The subject matter is also very broad, including: abstract; life drawing; still life; landscapes; and many townscapes, especially local industrial scene from around the Huddersfield area.

The collection also includes a box of records that belonged to Sally Jerome. The box includes small artworks, letters, postcards, passports, newspaper cuttings, art gallery exhibition flyers, address books, interview transcripts and audio recordings.

Administrative / Biographical History

Part of the below information is taken from a full obituary of Sally Jerome by Terry Monaghan, a close friend of Sally Jerome's (his parents were early Communist party workers with Sally), published on 31 Aug 2012 on The Guardian's website,

Sally Jerome (19 June 1905-8 July 2002) was born Sadie Ethel Herzberg in Johannesburg in 1905. Her father was (possibly) German-born Albert Herzberg and America mother Sadie (Sarah) Christina Witkowski (stage name Sadie Jerome) who had been living in England. Her father was a distant relative of the Oppenheimer dynasty and a stockbroker. She had an older sister Irma and a younger brother Jack.

Her mother brought her to England when she was six months old and reverted to using her stage name, Jerome, after her husband had gambled the family's fortune away. Discreetly supported by her aunt, the music hall star Daisy Jerome, Sally was sent to Penlee Private School in Kent.

At 15 Sally was sent to Berlin to train as a commerical artist at the Reimann School of Art and Design. She also studied at the Berlin State School of the Commerical Arts where she studied design for five years gaining certificate in 1922.

After finishing art school she returned to South Africa where she was reunited with her father and older sister. Whilst in South Africa she attempted to get a job as a commerical artist. Her father lost lost his money again during the Great Depression and committed suicide, at which point the Oppenheimer family broke off ties.

Sally moved to London where she worked for the Sunday Chronicle and the Daily Sketch in the lay-outs department.

In 1933 she met Eric Blaire (George Orwell), becoming the principal model for the character Rosemary, Gordon Comstock's girlfriend in Orwell's novel, Keep The Aspidistra Flying.

In 1936 Sally Jerome joined the Communist Party.

She worked in London for Smith & Sons of Edgware Road, London NW2 (motor accessories) and was discharged from there 10/9/41.

In 1941 she moved to Liverpool (where her brother lived) and found work in a munitions factory, first making and then carrying trays of detonators and the powder affected her eyes, before becoming a welfare supervisor, which led her to Huddersfield where she worked for Highfield Gears until being discharged in 1946 when men returned from the war. In 1944 whilst at the munitions factory in Liverpool, she wrote to Eisenhower, General Montgomery, T Warren, Lt-Col. T Leigh-Mallory, Air Chief Marshal, Allied Expeditionary Air Force and Admiral B H Ramsay giving her workers’ support for the war effort and received replies from all, the original telegrams are in the archive.

In 1946 she switched to the textile industry and discovered a slight aptitude as a weaver. Her political involvement continued and she was very involved in the Huddersfield Trades Council until the Communist Party made her run for local council (against her wishes) against a prominent Union leader. She was a vigorous member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament until at least 1984.

She returned to art in the 1950s, enrolling in part-time evening/day classes at Huddersfield College of Art in the late 1950s before becoming their oldest student after retiring in 1965.

During the 1960s on a brief visit to East Berlin, she met some of her father’s relatives who approached the Oppenheimer dynasty on her behalf and this resulted in her having a house bought for her in Huddersfield and a monthly pension.

Exhibitions –

1970 Swarthmore Education Centre, Leeds

1981 Retrospective exhibition at Huddersfield Sports Centre Gallery

1985 Pennine Heritage Project - exhibition and biographical article

1995 Huddersfield Art Gallery – nearly 90 exhibition

Sally painted some local industrial scenes and landscapes.

She was a strong, passionate, stubborn eccentric all her life.

Sally Jerome died on 8 July 2002.

Access Information

Original available for consultation by appointment

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished material by Sally Jerome in copyright until 2072. Following Sally Jerome's death in 2002, it is not known who the current owner of copyright in her works is.

Custodial History

This collection of works was bequeathed by Sally Jerome to her close friend and executor, Karima Ellis, following Sally's death in 2002. Karima Ellis donated this collection to the University of Huddersfield Archives on 3 May 2017.