Sunday, February 24, 2013

100 Years Ago - Inez Milholland Led Parade

The Suffrage Centennial Celebration in Washington will re-enact the parade of 5,000 suffragists, who braved 500,000 onlookers, including many hostile and physically violent men, on March 3, 1913, with a single public demand, the right to vote! The Celebration begins Thursday, February 28 and continues through March 3.

I plan to attend on Feb. 28 and March 2-3. (I have to be in NYC on March 1.)

The weekend events include exhibits, speakers, panels, movies, special programs. See historic places and treasures found only in the nation’s capital including the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constituent at the National Archives and the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum, the historic headquarters of the National Woman’s Party.

See suffragists picket the White House once more at noontime - 10 am to 2 pm (the picketing was launched in 1917, immediately after a group of NWP women went to President Wilson with memorials on the death of Inez Milholland two months before.  Wilson ridiculed their lack of political savvy and that provoked a backlash. At that time the National Woman's Party was located across Lafayette Square from the White House, so they went back to HQ and decided to turn around and start picketing until Wilson agreed to support suffrage. That picketing led to arrests, then imprisonment, then a hunger strike. Public opinion shifted and Wilson changed his mind (as he did on the other major issue of 1916, going to war with Germany). The Congress passed the 19th Amendment, Wilson signed it, and it was ratified by the last required state in 1920. This ended a 72-year struggle (dating from the Seneca Falls Convention) by three generations and millions of women. 

Come honor and learn about the women behind the historic victory that gave women the power to vote.  See for complete information and details.  Join the parade-- -Suffrage Centennial March  down Pennsylvania Avenue on Sunday at 9:00 am. Register at:

Google "Inez Milholland" and you will find many of my blogposts on this great woman, one of the American  Heroines of the 20th century. Or go to and click on "Inez Milholland".

Sunday, February 17, 2013

INEZ | Leads DC Parade,1913

Inez waits to start the DC suffrage parade on March 3, 1913, the eve of
Woodrow Wilson's inauguration. This photo was the basis of the iconic
painting of Inez Milholland that still hangs in the lobby of the Sewall-
Belmont House (renamed the Paul-Belmont National Monument). 

The NY Times, p. 1, Mar. 4, 1913, said: “Through all the confusion and turmoil the women paraders marched calmly, keeping a military formation as best they could.”

The 5,000 suffragist marchers–men and women–left the Capitol and marched along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, with 500,000 onlookers.

“Two New York women shared in the honors of the day. One was Miss Inez Milholland and the other was Gen. Rosalie Jones, who with her hikers occupied a place near the end of the line.

“Miss Milholland was an imposing figure in a white broadcloth Cossack suit and long white-kid boots. From her shoulders hung a pale-blue cloak, adorned with a golden maltese  cross. She was mounted on Gray Dawn, a white horse belonging to A. D. Addison of this city. Miss Milholland was by far the most picturesque figure in the parade.”

“At one time at the height of the disorder Inez Milholland helped to restrain spectators by riding her horse into the crowd.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

St. Valentine

Garrison Keillor in his daily birthday list says:
Today is Valentine's Day, the day on which we celebrate love, especially romantic love. The holiday was named after an early Christian priest, St. Valentine [link to the History Today site] who was martyred on February 14 in 269 A.D. The tradition of exchanging love notes on Valentine's Day originates from the martyr Valentine himself. The legend maintains that due to a shortage of enlistments, Emperor Claudius II forbade single men to get married in an effort to bolster his struggling army. Seeing this act as a grave injustice, Valentine performed clandestine wedding rituals in defiance of the emperor. Valentine was discovered, imprisoned, and sentenced to death by beheading. While awaiting his fate in his cell, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with the daughter of a prison guard, who would come and visit him. On the day of his death, Valentine left a note for the young woman professing his undying devotion signed "Love from your Valentine".
This is a wonderful story. It would be murderous to kill it  because of lack of evidence sufficient to convince 21st-century sceptics. What do you want after 1,744 years?  

The saint was taken off the Catholic calendar in 1969! You go to the Catholic encyclopedia it waffles around about there being three different Valentines and implies that maybe they are all apocryphal. Wikipedia explains:
Several differing martyrologies have been added to later hagiographies that are unreliable. For these reasons this liturgical commemoration was not kept in the Catholic calendar of saints for universal liturgical veneration as revised in 1969. 
Not good enough! Such a good story deserves to be retold and passed on as a matter of  faith. 

Meanwhile there is still hope for rehabilitating the saint:
The Martyr Valentinus who died on the 14th of February on the Via Flaminia close to the Milvian bridge in Rome" still remains in the list of officially recognized saints for local veneration. Saint Valentine's Church in Rome, built in 1960 for the needs of the Olympic Village, continues as a modern, well-visited parish church.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

CONCERTGEBOUW | Orchestra in NYC Feb. 13-14

The Concertgebouw in their home habitat in Amsterdam.
NYC, Feb. 10, 2013–We will be going to hear Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on Feb. 13 at Carnegie Hall.

The Concertgebouw is performing Mahler's First and Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 2.

The Concertgebouw was judged the world's best orchestra by a panel of judges put together by Gramophone magazine in 2008. The New York Times asks: "Greatest orchestra in the world, or greatest orchestra ever?" The New Yorker says:
This world-renowned orchestra has the same qualities as a Rembrandt painting: commanding virtuosity and an unforgettably warm, rich palette.
My mother's grandfather, Charles Boissevain, when he was editor of the Algemeen Handelsblad, the leading Dutch paper of its era, led the campaign to build the Concertgebouw when there was nothing on the spot but a field of grass.

The Concertgebouw Orchestra was created in 1888. Charles Boissevain and his eldest son Charles E. H. Boissevain helped recruit as conductor William Mengelberg, who in turn became a huge fan of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911). Charles E. H. was on the Board for many years, excluding the years when his brother-in-law Han de Booy was a staff officer. 

The long, glorious and then sad story about Mengelberg–who has been described to me as the greatest conductor of the early 20th century–is told here:  Mahler and Mengelberg -

Mahler died in Vienna nearly 102 years ago, spending the last three years of his life in New York City, conducting the Metropolitan Opera - with its first opening night under his leadership on January 1, 1908 with Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde", followed by Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and Beethoven's "Fidelio". While Mahler had many fans in New York City, he also faced backbiting from the New York establishment. Arturo Toscanini was inappropriately matched with him at the Met for the 1908-09 season. Toscanini knew how to woo the critical establishment and went on to a half-century of success. Mahler meanwhile was delighted to get away from the Met and accepted an offer to conduct the New York Philharmonic.  Dogged by a heart infection, however, he left New York in April 1911 and died the next month in Vienna. Years later, Leonard Bernstein said "I am Mahler"–meaning that he felt a spiritual kinship–and he is buried with the score of Mahler's Fifth Symphony over his heart.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

WW2 | Top Books for Kids

Feb. 9, 2013–These are the top 11 books for kids on the website. What do you think? To cast your vote, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

No. Voting
No. Book Ratings
Anne Frank
The Diary of a Young Girl
Anne Lowrie
Number the Stars
Markus Zusak
The Book Thief
John Boyne
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Mark A. Cooper
Edelweiss Pirates “Operation Einstein”
Robert Muchamore
Secret Army
Judith Kerr
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
Robert Muchamore
Grey Wolves
Robert Muchamore
The Prisoner
Hilda van Stockum
The Borrowed House
Hilda van Stockum
The Winged Watchman


Friday, February 1, 2013

Stars and Stripes - Origins

In my effort to track down the origins and significance of the American stars and stripes, I have come across a number of interesting heraldic observations.

1. The colors and symbols in the stars and stripes have different meanings:
White or silver (Argent) Peace and sincerityBlue (Azure) Truth and loyaltyStars (mullets - five-pointed stars with a hole in the center)  - Divine quality from above; mark of third sonRed (Gules) stripes - Warrior or martyr; Military strength and magnanimity [].
2. A family coat of arms did not in the Middle Ages imply that a family was in the noble class.
The regulation of English heraldry between 1530 and 1688 has led many writers to project back into the Middle Ages concepts and beliefs of later times. In particular, one often sees the claim made that, in Medieval England, arms were restricted to the knightly class, or at least to the gentry. Furthermore, by equating gentry with nobility, some reach the conclusion that arms were restricted to the nobility [].
3. One of the arguments against the stars and stripes being connected to George Washington's family coat of arms is that GW was a modest man who professed disdain for the trappings of office. But he used his coat of arms a great deal (more than any other president) and coats of arms are not mentioned in the Constitution. Titles are forbidden (Article 1, Sections 9-10), but that is all: 
No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state. No state shall...grant any title of nobility [].                

4. Rick Snider in his blog "Monumental Thoughts" last October referred to a story that the two stripes on George Washington's Coat of Arms - which is also the flag of the District of Columbia - date back to a battle between the Danes and the English in 979 during which the Danish king was killed. The English king honored the soldier who slew the Danish king by dipping two fingers into a wound on the Dane, and drawing two lines across the shield of the soldier.
A private in the English army killed an invading Danish king in 979 A.D. The onlooking English king rewarded the soldier with a coat of arms. The king dipped two fingers in the dead monarch’s blood and ran them straight across the soldier’s shield. Thus, the two stripes. The three stars were added later. 
However, I was unable to find any corroboration of this story. At the Harvard Club memorial service for the author Bob Crichton (The Secret of Santa Vittoria etc.), cartoonist Jules Feiffer in his eulogy said that Crichton's motto, given that he was a fiction writer, was - "Never check an interesting fact." Proof of the danger of fact-checking is that this wonderful story of the two red stripes on Washington's coat of arms is not backed up by any reports of a battle in 979, or a record of a Danish king dying in battle. For example:
During the 10th century (the 900s), the individual kingdoms unified under the rule of Wessex into the Kingdom of England, which stood opposed to the Danelaw, the Viking kingdoms established from the 9th century in the north and east of England. The Kingdom of England fell in the Viking invasion from Denmark in 1013... 
[The year 979 occurs] during the reign of Ethelred II (reigned 978–1016)—known to posterity as Ethelred the Unready. A new wave of Danish invasions was orchestrated by Sweyn I of Denmark, culminating after a quarter of a century of warfare in the Danish conquest of England in AD 1013. But Sweyn died on 2 February 1014 and Ethelred was restored to the throne. In 1015, Sweyn's son King Canute launched a new invasion. The ensuing war ended with an agreement in 1016 between Canute and Ethelred's successor, Edmund Ironside, to divide England between them, but Edmund's death on 30 November of that year left England united under Danish rule. This continued for 26 years until the death of Harthacanute in June 1042. He was the son of Canute and Emma of Normandy (the widow of Ethelred the Unready), and had no heirs of his own; he was succeeded by his half-brother, Ethelred's son, Edward the Confessor. The Kingdom of England was once again independent. [Wikipedia on "Danish kings of England".]
I'm continuing to hunt. Surely someone didn't just make up the story about the Danish king?