After World War II broke out, she signed up for intelligence work with the Office of Strategic Services, hoping to become a spy, but was sent off as a file clerk to Ceylon. There she met Paul Child, the head of a chart-making division who was 10 years older and several inches shorter. He was also an artist, a poet and a serious food lover who opened up her taste horizons on their travels in China.
Before Julia Child became known to the world as a leading chef, she admitted at least one failing when applying for a job as a spy: impulsiveness.
At 28 as an advertising manager at W&J Sloane furniture store in Beverly Hills, Calif., Child clashed with new store managers and left her job abruptly.
"I made a tactical error and was out," she explained in a handwritten note attached to her application to join the Office of Strategic Services, a World War II-era spy agency. "However, I learned a lot about advertising and wish I had been older and more experienced so that I could have handled the situation, as it was a most interesting position."
Child was not yet married and was applying for the job under her maiden name, McWilliams, according to previously top-secret records released by the National Archives on Thursday. She was hired in the summer of 1942 for clerical work with the intelligence agency and later worked directly for OSS Director William Donovan, the personnel records show.