AUGUST 28: Nancy Kulp (1921-1991)

The actress Nancy Kulp was born on this day in 1921. She is most famous for her work as Miss Jane Hathaway on the popular 1960s television series The Beverly Hillbillies.

The interview in which Nancy came out of the closet was used in the book Hollywood Lesbians by Boze Hadleigh (x). 

Nancy Jane Kulp was born on August 28, 1921 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She grew up in a middle-class family with her mother and father and was an only child. She graduated from Florida State University with a degree in journalism in 1943, which was then Florida State College for Women. With the outbreak of World War II, Nancy left her pursuit of a master’s degree and became a lieutenant in the women’s branch of the United States Naval Reserve. In 1951, she and her husband Charles Malcolm Dacus moved to Hollywood so that Nancy could take a position at MGM’s publicity department. Director George Cukor at MGM was soon able to convince her that she should break into acting herself.

Nancy poses with her co-star John McCain Backus for a promotional shot for The Beverly Hillbillies (x).

Her first acting gig was on The Bob Cummings Show in 1955 and throughout her career, Nancy appeared in I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone, and The Parent Trap. Her breakout role came in 1962 when she was cast on The Beverly Hillbillies as Jane Hathaway, for which she received an Emmy nomination in 1967. She remained on The Beverly Hillbillies until the show’s cancellation in 1971. In 1984, Nancy had retired from acting and made the switch over to politics – running but eventually losing a campaign for the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania’s 9th congressional district.

In 1989, Nancy came out as a lesbian in an interview with the author Boze Hadleigh. Her exact words read, “"As long as you reproduce my reply word for word, and the question, you may use it…. I’d appreciate it if you’d let me phrase the question. There is more than one way. Here’s how I would ask it: ‘Do you think that opposites attract?’ My own reply would be that I’m the other sort – I find that birds of a feather flock together. That answers your question.” Sadly, she was not able to live in her truth for long and was diagnosed with cancer just a year later in 1990. Nancy passed away on February 3, 1991.



Plant of the Day

Thursday 18 May 2017

In my garden the Iris ‘Benton Olive’ (tall bearded iris) has been flowering with pewter standards and with falls of pewter with royal purple. It was bred by the artist Sir Cedric Morris who ran the East Anglian Art School at Benton End, Hadleigh, Suffolk from 1940. He was a plantsman and Iris breeder and registered this distinctive cultivar in 1949.

Congratulations to all the undergraduate and postgraduate landscape architecture, garden design and contemporary art students at Writtle University College for an amazing start to this years Design Show. All the hard work was definitely worth the effort and the staff are very proud!

Jill Raggett


Hadleigh Castle, Essex, England

Hadleigh Castle overlooks the Thames estuary from a ridge to the south of the town of Hadleigh. Built after 1215 during the reign of Henry III by Hubert de Burgh, the castle was surrounded by parkland and had an important economic, as well as defensive role. Hadleigh was significantly expanded by Edward III, who turned it into a grander property, designed to defend against potential French attack as well as provide the king with a convenient private residence close to London. Built on a geologically unstable hill of London clay, the castle has often been subject to subsidence; this, combined with the sale of its stonework in the 16th century has led to it now being ruined.


John Constable (1776–1837, England)

Landscapes 1

Constable was a Romantic painter, and along with Turner is considered the finest of all Englishlandscape painters. Known principally for his depictions of Dedham Vale, the area surrounding his home, which he invested with an intensity of affection. “I should paint my own places best”, he wrote to his friend John Fisher in 1821, “painting is but another word for feeling”.


Plant of the Day
Sunday 24 May 2015

The lost bearded irises bred by the artist Sir Cedric Morris who ran the East Anglian Art School at Benton End, Hadleigh, Suffolk from 1940, are being found and grown by Sarah Cook, the past Head Gardener at Sissinghurst Castle (National Trust). Morris was a notable Iris breeder preferring to create cultivars with softer colours. His plants were shown at the Chelsea Show, London, in the late 1940’s until the mid 1950’s. Thanks to Cook and Howard Nursery the plants were back again having been collected from all over the world, though sadly many cultivars are still missing. The beautiful backdrops were painted by Cherryl Fountain and helped explain the connection between Sir Cedric Morris as an Iris breeder and an artist. The exhibit received a well deserved Gold Medal and was my favourite exhibit this year.

Jill Raggett

I’ve been gently encouraging her to defy typical gender norms since she was an infant, but it was this moment yesterday that I’ve decided to wage a full-on war against gender stereotypes. It’s a shame this concept is already weighing on her and I will squash it.