Arthur Streek ( see https://elvirabarney.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/arthur-streek/ ) arrived at the Mews with two Americans, a “Mr.Sherrill” and someone he only knew as Milton. I can’t do much with “Milton” but Sherrill should, in theory, be possible to track down.In practice, it’s not working out so well.

Given the general background and character of the guests, we are probably looking for someone from the higher echelons of society and maybe a bit of a “black sheep”.

The most prominent American called Sherrill then living in Europe was Charles H.Sherrill, the American ambassador to Turkey and a leading light of the Olympic committee. A  formidable figure, he had been a star athlete in his youth, a lawyer and then Americam Ambassador to Argentina (before the First World War). He wrote 22 books, some very influential ones on Pan-Americanism, and was a specialist in European stained glass windows. In 1932 he was 65 years old – so it’s obviously not him.

Superficially, his son sounds a little more promising. Gibbs Wynkoop Sherrill was born in 1908 and educated at Yale. He too was no stranger to Europe, having shuttled backwards and forwards from the States throughout the 1920s. He spent part of 1930 at Heidelberg University. On his return, he wrote an article on Germany for the Yale magazine. In 1932 his father had homes in Paris and Istanbul.

But there is nothing to link Gibbs to London. He.does not crop up in any of the usual sources and as high-profile Americans in London do tend to get mentioned by name I doubt that he’s our man.  There is no evidence of “black sheepery” either, although.he was the unwitting cause of a minor diplomatic fracas,

The American representative at the League of Nations James G. McDonald was asked, some time between 1932 and 1934, to make up a European post for young Gibbs. The request came from Charles Sherrill. MacDonald refused. He inquired about Gibbs’ character from John D. Rockefeller whose son, Nelson, was a contemporay at Yale and  had been on a sailing trip with Gibbs and other students. Rockefeller said that Nelson was “inclined to be critical”. MacDonald also found out that Sherrill Snr. only wanted Gibbs away from America to “end an affair in New York”.

James McDonald was one of the first establishment figures to recognise what Hitler had in mind for European Jews. He was busy drumming up support for a Refugee and Migration programme. Sherrill Snr. was, to put it politely, rather fond of “strong leaders”. He became an implacable enemy of McDonald which did not help the latter’s cause.

This takes us a long way from Elvira.On the other hand, it is perhaps a salutary reminder of what was brewing up in the wider world beyond the Mayfair party scene.

Anyway, I’ll keep my eyes open for other Sherrills and Americans forenamed Milton who might better fit the bill. I’m not particularly hopeful – any suggestions?

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