JANE ANDERSON: THE NAZI GEORGIA PEACH


Published in The Athens Observer, p. 5 (May 18, 1995).

Author: Donald E. Wilkes, Jr., Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law.

The thrill-packed life of a little-known Georgian, Jane Anderson, proves that truth is stranger than fiction.

Anderson led an amazing life filled with exciting adventures, daring deeds, breathtaking escapades, and romantic interludes, a life stranger than the dreams of most people. She changed her name several times. She often traveled across the United States, and lived in Georgia, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, and New York City. She criss-crossed the Atlantic ocean in ships numerous times; in Europe she visited 20 countries and lived in London, Paris, Spain, Germany, and Austria. As a young woman she was blessed with a stunning physical attractiveness. She had two husbands, numerous fiances, and innumerable lovers.  She was at one time or another in her life a writer, a journalist, a war correspondent, a gorgeous seductress, a demi-monde, a suspected spy, an alcoholic, a drug addict, and a Nazi propagandist.  She hobnobbed with distinguished political and military leaders on the international stage. She was a member of the inner circle of such famous writers as Joseph Conrad and H. G. Wells. Once she was arrested in Spain on a spying charge and nearly shot. On another occasion she was arrested for treason against the United States, becoming one of only four American women charged with treason during World War II, and the only Georgia woman charged with treason in this century.

Jane Anderson was born in Atlanta, probably on Jan. 6, 1888.   Her father, Robert M. "Red" Anderson, a close friend of showman Buffalo Bill, was a colorful Western character who served for a time as a lawman and who killed at least 28 men with his six-shooter.  He abandoned his wife and only child, Jane, shortly after Jane's birth.  Jane's mother, Ellen Luckie Anderson, a very beautiful woman, was from a wealthy and prominent Atlanta family.  She was tried for a scandalous murder in 1903 but acquitted, allegedly on account of her good looks; shortly thereafter she died, and Jane went to live with her father in an Arizona frontier town.

Jane Anderson actually was born Foster Anderson; in college she called herself Jane Foss Anderson; later she was known as Jane Anderson; when she married a pro-Franco Spaniard in 1934 she used the name Juana de la Santisima Trinidad (Jane of the Holy Trinity); and after her marriage her writings were published under the name Jane Anderson de Cienfuegos.

After attending college in Texas, Jane Anderson went to New York City in 1909, where she lived until 1915, marrying a music scholar in 1910.  The marriage soon ended in divorce.  Jane became a successful writer, concentrating mainly on short stories, 14 of which were published in national magazines from 1910 through 1913.

Jane (who spoke French fluently) was then one of the most lusciously beautiful women in the world, tall, slim, with long curly orange hair, blue eyes, high forehead, a lovely mouth and nose, and a lovely soft complexion.  One scholar has examined a photograph of Jane taken in 1910 and describes Jane: "Wearing a long dark dress and sitting with her legs crossed at an angle to the camera, she rests her elbow on her knee and chin on her lace-gloved hand, and turns her strikingly handsome face toward the lens as her tawny hair cascades onto her shoulders from under the canopy of an enormous soft black hat."  One of her lovers, author George Seldes, accurately described her as a "spectacular beauty."

In September 1915 Jane departed for England.  There in London in 1916 and 1917 the girl with the Georgia accent was welcomed into high society and joined distinguished literary circles.  She became a famous war correspondent.  She journeyed in Royal Navy submarines.  She became the first woman to fly (as a passenger) in an English military warplane, which looped-the-loop one and a half miles above London's Hyde Park, and flew her out over the English Channel.  With a Gordon Bruce she wrote a book entitled Flying, Submarining, and Mine Sweeping.