Postscript to Isolde Yockey

My recent piece on Isolde Yockey’s death, drafted here on this scratchpad-blog a few days ago, haunts me with its circumlocution and errors of omission. I had completely forgotten about Isolde, and so started from scratch in searching for her, in newspapers and genealogy databases. I went on a wild goose chase for an hour or two, hunting down an entirely different Yockey family simply because it had a Fredericka in recent generations, and Isolde’s sister was named that.

Only when I had the right Isolde in hand, traveling hither and yon with her sister and mother and grandmother (and sometimes father or uncle), did I begin to wonder why she might have been killed. She might have been murdered out of revenge or soulless hatred by someone who hated her father for being a “fascist philosopher.” She might have met misadventure by moving in the wrong circles.

I was delighted to learn that I’d had a passing connection to her aunt Vinette’s daughter and son-in-law, both long connected with prominent conservative, nationalist organizations of a Christian (in fact Catholic) slant. They do not quite carry on Uncle Frank’s torch, but they are intellectually rigorous and radical, and so resemble him in that respect. Furthermore, the orgs they’ve been associated with are bound to be despised by the same sort of people who would hate FPY.

Vinette Coyne and brother FPY, in court, 1960.

Only after writing that piece did I bother to consult the two extant biographies of FPY to see if Isolde was mentioned, and of course she is. Paradoxically I made minor contributions to both books (was interviewed by Kevin Coogan in 1993; provided useful factual details and asides to Kerry Bolton around 2014-2015), yet when writing my essay it didn’t occur to me to check either book to see if Isolde is listed. You can put this oversight down to my arrogance and forgetfulness.

Coogan mentions that she disappeared in the mid-1970s, something that I did manage to squeeze into a footnote before filing the story. Bolton’s book I did not consult at all, until just now. A search for “Isolde” on Kindle brings it up three times, all in the 1964-69 period, and pertaining to Willis Carto’s publication of Imperium. Mrs. Alice Yockey is looking to get royalties for her two daughters (pp. 432-433 in my Kindle edition). Carto responds by saying there’s been no profit as yet, and he’s still in the hole for taking out a loan to publish a paperback edition. Perhaps, he suggests, the National Youth Alliance, to whom he intends to deed the copyright, will earn enough money from the book to provide royalties.

Carto’s prediction did not, however, come to pass. When I bought my first paperback copy of Imperium in the early 1980s, some ten years after reading a hardbound edition from Sterling Memorial Library, it still bore the imprint of Carto’s Noontide Press. Relations had become fractious between Carto and Lou Byers (of Youth for Wallace/National Student Alliance/National Youth Alliance) around 1969, and Byers’s organization was no longer coupled with Carto’s Liberty Lobby.

In an amusing touch, Carto ends his last letter to Alice Yockey by inviting Isolde and Brunhilde/Fredericka to join the NYA!

Kerry Bolton corrects some of Kevin Coogan’s more egregious errors, e.g., the claim that German-born Valentin Yocky could not have been FPY’s grandfather because Valentin died in 1883 whilst FPY’s father Louis wouldn’t be born until 1886. Coogan got Louis’s birthdate off a gravestone, and genealogists know that gravestones are often wrong.

Documents from the life of Louis Yockey, in Michigan, Illinois, France and Belgium, show him to have been born in May 1883. He was not a posthumous baby. His father had been sickly and died in December the same year. I believe I was the person who tipped off KB about Coogan’s error. Coogan and others tried to weave the error into a far-fetched theory that FPY’s Germanophilia was thoroughly artificial, and he might in fact have been part Jewish along with mostly Irish. (James Madole seems to have promoted that last rumor.)

But Kerry Bolton makes the similar mistake of believing daughter two, Carlotta Fredericka Yockey, was originally named Brunhilde. As I pointed out in my recent essay, the second Yockey daughter was known as Fredericka from the time she was a baby. We see her called Fredericka in passenger manifests from the late 1940s, through mid-1950s. Then in the San Antonio Light in 1957 she’s Brunhilde, as she is called at Houston’s Lamar High School, class of 1963; and Rice University, where she is a literary society pledge for Pallas Athene (listed as Pallas Athens) in early 1964.

No yearbook photos have yet turned up for her, though there’s a Bruni Yockey listed with the Rice Class of ’67 headshots. I find this lack of yearbook pictures suspicious in itself.

Equally noteworthy is that the Houston ophthamologist calling herself Dr. Fredericka Yockey, MD, has been practicing in the area for 42 years, but there are no recent photos of her online. Her medical training was in Paris. “She graduated from PARIS V – UNIVERSITI RENI DESCARTES / U.F.R. BIOMIDICALE DES SAINTS PERES in 1981,” says healthgrades-dot-com.

Another needless error in the Bolton book is the claim that Isolde and Fredericka were born in Germany. That would have been difficult, as they were born in 1944 and 1945 (actually in Detroit, Michigan, where their young-attorney father was working). For most of 1946 and 1947, however, they did live in Germany.

And finally there’s the place-origin of the German Yockeys. FPY’s grandfather Valentin Yocky was born in Bavaria, writes Kerry Bolton, which he describes as being in southeast Germany, to which Valentin’s Jacky forebears had evidently migrated from Switzerland, where the name originated. Indeed, here are Valentin’s parents, from Ancestry-dot-com:

The trouble here is that Rumbach, Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate) is nowhere near Bavaria or southeast Germany. It is in fact near the extreme southwest of Germany, near Alsace, or about midway between Saarbrücken and Strasbourg. In olden days, however, this section of Pfalz or Palatinate was under the rulership of the Elector or King of Bavaria, so the “nation” to which it belonged was said to be Bayern. It is similar to how during the mid-19th century German unification the Rhineland came to be under the Prussian crown, and so the little town of Rumbach would be said to be in Prussia…even though it’s about as far from the original Prussia (out by Koenigsberg) as you can get.

An honest error, liable to be made by anyone for whom the incongruity of “Pfalz, Bayern” does not immediately leap out from the page.


Postscript to Postscript, 22 December 2023:

It didn’t occur to me till now to ask whether Imperium is still in print. It is not, at least not in hard copy, and publisher Noontide Press does not sell it anymore. In fact, Noontide doesn’t seem to sell much of anything anymore. Imperium is still available in impossibly expensive used and back copies, and in Kindle edition from Invictus Books, “free” for downloads with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. (I wonder if Dr. Yockey and her mother ever received any royalties at all from Willis Carto’s editions of the book?)

Long and curious review of Imperium, from the L.A. Review of Books: America’s “Mein Kampf”: Francis Parker Yockey and “Imperium”. The writer is clearly new to this world and cribs a lot of biographical material from elsewhere, and gobbles opinions wholesale from Deborah Lipstadt.

FPY with sisters Vinette Coyne and Alice Spurlock, June 1960. ©Bancroft Library, University of California. Reproduced with permission.


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