Sunday, April 28, 2013

Turtles at Madrid Atocha Train Station Remind Me of Nash Poem

The turtle lives 'twixt plated decks
Which practically conceal its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile. 
- Ogden Nash, 1902-1971
There is a turtle pond in the middle of Atocha Station in Madrid. It gets a lot of attention, especially from parents and young children. Alice and I were at the station  to get tickets to Pamplona.

Many turtles live in the pond. Their behavior appears to be unmonitored. It is a laissez-faire world.

I hasten to say that my knowledge of turtle biology is severely limited. But quite a few of those turtles seemed to be engaged in public displays of affection.

While the angle of approach of the active turtle in this picture appears flawed, it put me in mind of Ogden Nash's poem.

While on the subject of the train station, I should put in a good word for the turtle pond, which includes sand lots, rock ramps and ample water areas. Visitors love to stop and watch the turtles cavorting around in their plodding way.

The station was built in 1851 but it suffered a fire and was rebuilt in 1892. The station was expanded and where the old train platforms used to be the designer built what amounts to a botanical garden.

A skylight runs the length of the area, and stairways allow visitors to look at the various plants and trees in the area from different perspectives. A reported 7,000 plants thrive in the area, including many palm trees. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013


The Centennial stamp of the 1848 Convention honors 
Elizabeth Stanton and Lucretia Mott (Carrie Catt of the
League of Women Voters is between them).
The history of Votes for Women is a story of progress being achieved by American women - and men! - who did not accept that it was okay for women to be excluded from voting.

My toast is to the Delta Male, by which I mean men who have favored change on matters of gender discrimination, so that woman can vote and advance.

Even though men are the ones who have to make room in the balloting and on the ballot and in the labor market.

There may be no male members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. In that case, think of my toast as one to a mythical person.

Temperance Yes! Women No? Two Angry Women, London, 1840. The movement for woman suffrage started in 1840 when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were told to shut up  at the world-wide Temperance Convention in London.

The temperance and anti-slavery movements overlapped because many members of both groups were motivated by religious beliefs. Both Stanton and Mott were there because they believed God made men and women of all races equal. Yet they had to sit mutely in the balcony. They went home fuming. But... they had family responsibilities. So they put away their anger for years as they pursued their lives, Lucretia Mott as a young Quaker preacher in Philadelphia and Elizabeth Stanton as the mother of a brood of children in muddy Seneca Falls.. 

Women Organize, Seneca Falls, 1848. Mott came up to the Rochester area to speak at many of the regional Quaker meeting-houses. She and Stanton were still hopping mad about being treated as chattels at the London meeting. They met and Stanton organized a tea party on the occasion of Mott's visit. The tea party became a mini-pow-wow, and the group decided to hold a bigger meeting.  The subject would be women's rights, and Stanton agreed to present a "Declaration of Sentiments". They called the event a  Convention on the Rights of Women, they booked a church at Seneca Falls and they posted notices. 

The poster was very explicit. Men were excluded on the first day. Men were invited to come on the second day, by which time it was thought that the women would have decided what rights to ask for.

Douglass Crashes Party, Makes Key Speech, 1848. Guess what? A well-known former slave, Frederick Douglass, gate-crashed the event on the first day. He decided if the meeting was about exclusion, well, that's something he had thought long and hard about. He knew about how to claim rights, as a black man and a former slave. He could be helpful to the white ladies.

He was indeed. The intervention Douglass contributed turned out to be pretty important for the future of the campaign for Votes for Women. At a crucial point in the proceedings, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott came to a fork in the road - and started heading down different tynes.

Should the convention go so far as to include the demand that women had the right to vote?

Stanton demands the right to vote. Seneca Falls, 1848.
Elizabeth Stanton announced that the time had come for women to demand the right to vote, despite the fact that her husband was deeply distressed at having a wife with such a radical thought.

Mott sided not with Elizabeth but with her husband. If Stanton were to proceed with the folly of placing a demand for the vote on the convention agenda, "Thee will make us ridiculous," she declared.

Opposed by her closest associates, that might have been the end of it. But then Douglass stepped up to the church lectern, unintimidated by the fact that he was an intruder.

Douglass said it was crucial that women demand the right to vote because no other rights are worth much without that. That's why black men made their demand for the right to vote their highest priority.

Douglass swayed the women. He made sense, and he spoke from deep knowledge and conviction. (In my play about Seneca Falls - performed in 1998 on the 150th anniversary - Rochester's Mayor Johnson played the part of Douglass and he delivered his lines powerfully.)

"Votes for Women" Loses Out to Universal Male Suffrage, 1870. In 1866, the year after Lee surrendered to the Union, Lucy Stone and Susan B. Anthony created the American Equal Rights Association to promote universal suffrage. Expanding the vote was in the cards, and they wanted women included.

Douglass supported woman suffrage, yes, but not at the risk losing suffrage for black men. He feared that universal suffrage for men and women might fail. It would be too great an expansion of the vote. So he said to his woman suffrage friends - support black men getting the vote, and then I will again  help you campaign for  woman suffrage. No one at that time likely suspected it was going to take  another 50 years for women to get the vote.

The "Irreconcilables" Wanted Universal White Suffrage. Lucy Stone and most other woman suffrage activists went along with Douglass's idea. But Stanton, Anthony and others fought back against Douglass. They opposed any expansion of the franchise if women were not in it. So in May 1869 they worked secretly with Julia Ward Howe to create the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), opposing the proposed amendment giving the vote to black men. In the end, they lost the battle, as this Amendment was ratified in February 1870. But in a real sense their point of view prevailed in the southern states, which emasculated the power of black men's right to vote through the Jim Crow laws - voting restrictions such as a poll tax, or a literacy test, or a complex registration process, voting barriers that continued openly until the Voting Rights Act of 1963 and continue covertly even in 2013.

NWSA's opposition to the votes for black men angered not only black leaders like Douglass but the many abolitionists who saw the Civil War as primarily a battle against slavery and believed the victory of the North had to mean the imposition of votes for black men on the south. NWSA did not help its case by turning, in desperation, to the support of a man who would today be described as a white supremacist.

The attacks on the NWSA created internal disagreements. Susan B. Anthony wanted to focus only on suffrage, but Stanton and others had more general concerns such as the position of women in the churches, or laws pertaining to divorce. Other key NWSA members who took sides on these issues included May Wright Sewall (whose family name is on the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum), Clara Colby, Olympia Brown, Rachel Foster, Laura Johns and Harriet Shattuck. 

AWSA Formed to Support Universal Suffrage. Unhappy with the racist sympathies of NWSA, Julia Ward Howe left it and rejoined Stone. In November 1869 they formed the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), with help from Stone's husband Henry Browne Blackwell and Josephine Ruffin. AWSA supported votes for black men and worked on behalf of equal rights legislation at the state and local level. AWSA founders included Alice Stone Blackwell, Hannah Tracy Cutler, Margaret Campbell, William Dudley Foulke, Anna Howard Shaw and Mary Thomas.

Uneasy NAWSA Merger Deal. In October 1887, years after the Fifteenth Amendment became law, Stone proposed that AWSA and NWSA reunite. The feud between them was not healthy.  Stone met with Anthony and others to discuss terms, starting with an agreement that the three principals, Stone, Stanton and Anthony, all exclude themselves from eligibility to serve as president. Anthony agreed. The two organization merged finally in May 1890 to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Besides the three principals, the leaders included Carrie Chapman Catt (who would many years later found the League of Women Voters), Frances Willard, Mary Church Terrell, Matilda Joslyn Gage and Anna Howard Shaw. 

In February 1890 the National American Woman Suffrage Association held its first combined convention in Washington, D.C. Anthony campaigned for Stanton to be president and Stanton named  Anthony as her vice president. Then, after her election and apparently by pre-arrangement, Stanton sailed for a two-year tour of England, leaving Anthony in charge after all. 

Lucy Stone's supporters viewed the merger as founded on betrayal. The depth of their resentment was shown six years later. Stanton turned to de-genderizing the Woman's Bible and expected the book to be promoted by NAWSA when it was finished in 1896. Instead, Rachel Foster Avery led a narrow majority of NAWSA members in voting to exclude Stanton’s Bible from its scope of interest. Stanton died six years later and Susan B. Anthony soldiered for another four years after that, dying in 1906. 

After the deaths of Stanton and Anthony, some of the poison went out of the NAWSA air and a new generation of suffragists come to the fore, starting in the women's colleges. Inez Milholland at Vassar became famous for occupying a cemetery in Poughkeepsie when the college's president James Monroe Taylor excluded the group from use of the chapel for a memorial for Susan B. Anthony. He  threatened to expel any student who showed up for the graveyard ceremony. The president was defied by 40 students, accompanied by faculty members and members of the press.

Before the 1913 Parade, Organizers Considered Excluding Black Women.  Inez Milholland, newly graduated from NYU Law School (where there is now an Inez Milholland professorship in her honor), had became a celebrity in New York City, riding her horse at the head of the huge Fifth Avenue parade in 1912. Years later, Mayor LaGuardia wrote to Milholland's mother, saying that Inez had converted him to Votes for Women at this parade.
The  March 3,1913 Suffragist Parade. It was a Monday, the day before President Wilson's first inauguration. Source: Reddit.

NAWSA, which had moved to be nearer its philanthropic sources in New York City, decided it was time to become more aggressive, seeing as so many young women were joining the movement. Alva Belmont, a friend of Milholland, put up some money. NAWSA recruited Alice Paul from the Pankhurst suffragette team in London, to head up the moribund NAWSA Congressional Committee. Alice Paul decided what they needed was a parade in Washington like the one in New York, and she recruited Inez Milholland to ride a horse at the head of the parade. 

During the weeks before the parade, the participation of black women in general was a thorny issue for Alice Paul. Later in life, she described this issue as her primary preoccupation during the days leading up to the parade. In particular, a new breakaway sorority at Howard University, Delta Sigma Theta, wanted to participate. The leadership of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority at Howard University had decided to break away from what they viewed as the social pretensions of the Alphas and form a new sorority that would be less social and more activist in social causes.

These 22 Delta powerhouses wanted to march in the NAWSA parade. Alice Paul of course believed strongly in action, but she feared that participation by black women in still-segregated Washington would mean the southern chapters of NAWSA would reduce or end their participation in the parade and maybe even in NAWSA.

On March 2, 2013, a National Park Service Ranger J. L. Dinkelater
tells the story of the picketing of the White House in 1917. The
National Woman's Party called on President Wilson to ask for his
support of the Anthony Amendment, two months after the death
of Inez Milholland Boissevain in November 1916. He ridiculed
their appeal and they started a nonstop picket. Photo by JT Marlin. 
When Alice Paul was put in charge of the "Congressional Committee" of NAWSA in 1912, she needed to move fast to get up to speed. Compared with the Pankhurst operation, she found the Committee was a shell. She began recruiting new people and raising money, much of it in New York City where NAWSA was based. While New Yorkers might not care whether black women were in the parade, a southern city like Washington was a different matter. Alice Paul saw a conflict between maximizing the Committee's support and allowing black women to march.

New Yorker Inez Milholland, whose father was the first Treasurer of the NAACP (and records suggest was the only white Protestant on the Board), was adamant that the new sorority should be allowed to march.

Inez threatened to withdraw her commitment to lead the Washington parade on horseback, and she had some clout because she had raised money for the Congressional Committee. Milholland, having led the 1912 parade in New York to great applause, was a media attraction from her days at Vassar, and was well connected with NAWSA supporters like Alva Belmont.

Inez Milholland  at the front
of the 1913 Washington parade. 
The horse, Gray Dawn, was loaned 
by Mr. A. D. Addison of DC..
Alice Paul was deeply torn, as she later recalls, and only grudgingly agreed to allow the Howard sorors to join the parade. Her plan, which appears not to have been shared with Inez Milholland, was to minimize the danger to the parade by putting all the black women at the end of the parade, after the (white) Men's League for Woman Suffrage marched.

To be fair to Alice Paul, it is hard in 2013 to get our heads around the doubly denied status of black women in 1913 Washington:
  • Black men were supposedly enfranchised, even though the Jim Crow laws disenfranchised them as well as some less educated or poor whites. 
  • White women might not vote, but their spouses or male relatives did.
Jane Barker, chair of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial
Committee in 2011, before 
the newly restored iconic painting of Inez 

Milholland, Sewall-Belmont House. Photo JT Marlin.
The fear was that if black women marched in a parade they would remind southerners that adding women voters would also add black voters.

Contemporary accounts say that Alice Paul and the Congressional Committee leadership were  worried that a visible black presence in the parade would set back progress toward a federal amendment.

Maybe they even foresaw that including black women in the parade would make it more likely that there would be a violent reaction among the men along the route. Suffragist Mary Church Terrell reported that the Delta Sigma Theta marchers were required to assemble in a segregated area. She also said that
If [Paul] and other white suffragist leaders could get the Anthony Amendment through without enfranchising African American women, they would do so.
Linda Lumsden's biography of Inez Milholland makes clear that however much Milholland may have gone along with excluding blacks in other contexts, she was firm about the participation of the Deltas.  Milholland was, like her father, a member of the NAACP. Citing Mary Church Terrell again, Lumsden says that Milholland insisted that the Howard contingent be allowed to march in the college section. Emmett Scott, secretary-treasurer of Howard University, said that Milholland
was unwilling to participate in a parade symbolizing a movement which was not big enough or broad enough to live up to the principles for which it was contending. (See Inez, p. 91.)
On the day of the parade, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, a former slave who had become a leading suffragist, defied Alice Paul's ruling that black women march at the end of the parade, and she slipped into the march with her Chicago NAWSA delegation. Others followed suit. In the end, 22 women marched in the Delta contingent and an unknown number of black NAWSA delegates (100?) marched with their geographical groups. The only black organization to march as a group in the parade was the Howard delegation of Deltas. Even if, as is unlikely, as many as 150 black women in total were in the march, then using the NY Times estimate for the number of marchers, these women were at most 3 percent of the total.

The march was the first major public demonstration in Washington. More important, there were 500,000 onlookers, mostly men, and they jeered the women as they went by. The parade devolved into a riot.  Inez Milholland was on horseback at the front, and she pushed the edge of the crowd back with her horse. (There were supposed to be four heralds at the front of the parade, but if the other three showed up, they are lost to newspaper coverage and therefore to history.) But as the parade continued on, push came to shove and the DC police couldn't keep order. Secretary of War Stimson ordered cavalry in from Fort Myer to calm things down, but by the time the military arrived hundreds of women were injured.

The marchers were protected by the First Amendment, but not by the DC police. The DC police chief, Major Richard Sylvester, in a Senate investigation into the failure of the police to keep order, argued that he had warned against the parade because racist "riff-raff" from the south would be in town to celebrate a Democrat's election as President. He was relieved of his job.

In the 2013 March, the Racial Balance Was Reversed.  The March 3, 2013 march was a totally different affair. This time, the once-tiny sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, was the main organizer of the event. They have now grown into an army of 300,000 black women world-wide.

The Deltas listen to the leadership on "public service" and "social activism."
For the 100th anniversary march, the Deltas reported an army of 20,000 young black women  signed up to be in Washington. The National Park Service posted a crowd estimate of 20,000-25,000.

If 1,000 of the marchers were white men and women, then the racial percentages were exactly reversed. In 1913, at most 5 percent of the marchers were black. In 2013, at most 5 percent were white.

Here we are, waiting to join the
parade. I am the sole passenger
at the window, with Model T
owner Ron Frenette. We are
waiting to join the parade.
Another major difference is in the nature of the participation of the Deltas and the other women's groups in 2013. The white women's groups were naturally eager to commemorate and re-enact the actions of the suffragists to obtain the vote.

The original marchers were dressed in suffragist attire (purple, gold and white sashes and dresses), and so were the leaders of the traditional women's groups on March 3, 2013. Although a bit anachronistic (the picketing of the White House did not take place until 1917), the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial group had an effective tableau in place on March 2, 2013, showing the Silent Sentinels in front of the White House.

When the demonstrators were arrested by the DC Police in 1917, Inez Milholland's surviving sister Vida (Inez died in November 1916) was one of those taken away to the workhouse in Lorton, Va. At the time of the White House tableau, National Park Service Ranger J. L. Dinkelaker gave the history of woman suffrage in the United States while engaging the audience in some effective role playing (see  photo above).

For the Deltas, the parade was much less about the history of Votes for Women than it was about moving on and tackling remaining injustices in the lives of American blacks and women. They  marched with a purpose, dressed not in historical suffrage colors but in their sorority colors of red and white. The speeches in front of the Capitol (see photo above) were about moving on to new challenges, using their vote to attack continuing abuse of women in the home or in the workplace.

Here we are - Ron Frenette (driver) and I, ready to go, with a 
sign in the window saying "VOTES FOR WOMEN - Men's 
League for Woman Suffrage."  In 1913 the parade had a large
 men's  contingent and a large number of motorized
 vehicles.. In 2013 we in this Model T seem to have been it.
The traditional women's groups were by comparison scarce on the ground - several dozen each at most from any one group. The groups represented included the League of Women Voters (successor to NAWSA), the National Woman's Party/Sewall-Belmont House and Museum (successor to the breakaway Congressional Committee of NAWSA), the National Organization of Women, the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Committee and the ERA of New Jersey.

Far from there being any rioting, it was an eerily quiet Sunday morning. The Deltas didn't rustle up any marching bands. Since Washington, DC workers now mostly live in suburban Maryland and Virginia, and churchgoers were in church, there were few onlookers, maybe 5,000 at most. Protest marches in Washington are now a regular occurrence. The Deltas were in D.C. in January and will be back next month.

The Reversal of Gender Balance. Back in 1913 there was a "Men's League for Woman Suffrage" with its own organization and officers. The Wikipedia entry dismisses it as being founded by "left-wing writers". Yes, Max Eastman was one of the founders, but chapters were formed in states around the country that had few left-wing writers. The active membership included Inez's father John E. Milholland, a newspaperman turned businessman who had editorialized on Votes for Women in the New York Tribune. The "men's groups for woman suffrage" had their own place in the lineup of the 1913 Washington parade.

End of the line. A black policeman, commanded by a female DC
police chief, tells us we need a permit to drive a car -  any
car - in the parade, and in fact no permits were granted.
Back in 1913,  many motor vehicles were in the parade,
plus numerous horses - and the white DC police
made little effort to control the unruly male crowds.
In addition, most of the half-million people lining the streets in 2013 were men, who had come to ogle the young women. The young suffragettes from the women's colleges had given the Votes for Women movement some glamour that it lacked during the two last decades of the 19th century and Anthony and Stanton were maneuvering to stay in control until they died.

In 2013 there were a few spouses and male friends among the traditional suffragist groups, but I don't remember seeing a single male in the parade of the Deltas. The spectators were few, far between and unengaged. The single largest group of men were the Washington, DC police force, who were out in much larger numbers than in 2013.

Our Turning Point, 2013. It was fitting, as a measure of the extent to which the world has changed since 1913, that the sole male contingent of two was not allowed to participate in the parade. Our participation was organized by one of the traditional women's groups, which paired me (as great-nephew and super-fan of the "woman on the horse", Inez Milholland) with the owner of the Model T. We did our best to persuade the black police officer that we should be allowed in the parade, but he said there were no floats, no cars of any kind in the parade this year. Who knew? We could appeal to the police chief in Washington, but presumably she, Cathy Lanier, is on top of this situation and would have nothing to add.

So you can say about me and my companion du jour Mr. Ron Frenette - who bore most of the burden of the day since he had to take the Model T out of mothballs - that we didn't qualify as Alpha Males that day. But maybe we qualify as something more important, men who celebrate change in the direction of greater equality and opportunity, even if the beneficiaries are a different gender, sexual preference, religion or race. (Even if the beneficiaries don't want or even discourage, for whatever reason, our gesture of support.)

I was brought up by an Alpha Grandmother and an Alpha Mother, and I have four Alpha Sisters. I'm married to an Alpha Wife and we have an Alpha Daughter. There are enough Alphas among the women in my family.

The Deltas by their charter probably exclude non-students or non-alumni, non-females and it would seem by a quick survey of the marchers, maybe even non-blacks, but if they don't mind I would be happy to be called a Delta Male.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Brigid Marlin Art in Chelsea

The following paintings by Brigid are in our collection at  home in Chelsea, NYC. She has added some comments about a few of the paintings on her recent visit to NYC:

1. "Rebirth”, mische technique, 1970. Comment on the painting by the artist, April 2013:

Every year it seems as if spring will never come, and then suddenly, the earth comes alive – a yearly miracle. The model, Ann Nixon, a veterinarian, seemed to me to embody the idea of spring. She was so vital and glowing.  It was a tragedy she died so young.
2. "Before the Fall”, mische technique, 1972. A comment on the painting by the artist, April 2013:
This is a double portrait of John and Alice the year after their marriage. They are painted as Adam and Eve in Paradise, before the eating of the apple.
3. "Painting of a Young Boy", mische technique, 1969. Comment on the painting by the artist, April 2013:
This is a portrait of my son Desmond at about 7 years old. The plants in the back picture are the same as those in the front, but in an earlier period. The child has suddenly appeared between them, a symbol of the Moment in Time when a child arrives, and then you can’t imagine a time when the child wasn’t here. Desmond was a very reluctant sitter. He had to be bribed with candy and money… and finally he refused to sit at all, until one morning he broke a window playing football too near the house. I ran down the road after him in a rage, but as he fled he shouted over his shoulder: “I’ll pose! I’ll pose!”  So I was able to finish the painting.
 Jay as Newborn
4. "Jay as Newborn”, mische technique, 1974. Jay had just arrived, the day Nixon resigned.

       5. "Daphne and Apollo”, mische technique (egg tempera on gesso board), 1977

            “Caroline”, watercolor, 1979
         “Jay 2”, watercolor, 1981

·         “Springs House”, watercolor, 1982
        "Nasturtiums", mische technique, 1983

ART BIZ | Brigid Marlin in NYC

Brigid Marlin in NYC.
On a short visit to arrange for shipping of art for future exhibitions and discuss forthcoming books, Brigid Marlin brought us up to date on her art commissions and her society of artists. 

Painting in the school of Fantastic Realism, founded by Prof. Ernst Fuchs of Vienna, she founded and chairs a Society (the Society for Art of Imagination) of about 500 artists worldwide who paint in this style. Google the artist's name and you will get about 28,000 hits. 

Her art is, with the passing years, necessarily coming on the market from time to time as collectors retire or go to their eternal reward.  Three of her active collectors and patrons have recently passed away, as noted below. 

Museums and Other Institutional Collections

Brigid's art is in the following museums or other institutional collections:
The late J.G. Ballard, Portrait by Brigid
Marlin, National Portrait Gallery,1987
  • National Portrait Gallery, London – “Portrait of J. G. Ballard”.
  • House of Lords Collection, London – “Portrait of Lord Longford”
  • National Museum of Artists and Illustrators, Newport, RI -  "Earth, Air, Fire and Water", mische technique, tempera on gesso board.
  • Phantasten Museum in Palais Palffy, Vienna, Austria – “Wolves in St. Mark’s, Venice” 
  • Center Cultura Barcelona, Spain -
  • Loyola Museum, Chicago – “Portrait of Cardinal George”.
  • Baldwin School, Bryn Mawr, Pa. – “Portrait of Pamela Travers” (author of “Mary Poppins”)
  • Crain’s Magazine, New York Office – “Portrait of Gertrude Crain”
  • Women’s University, Dharamsala, HP, India – “Portrait of the Dalai Lama”
  • High Elms Manor, Abbots Langley, Herts.
Estate and Individual Collections

Her art is in the estates of the following deceased collectors, three of whom died recently:
  • Sir William Butlin – “Portrait of the Queen Mother”
  • J. G. Ballard, UK
  • Ann Oestreicher, New York.
  • President Richard Nixon, New York - painting of young woman in Venice.
  • Contessa Nicole de Zogheb, Bovingdon, UK
  • Virginia H. Rogers, Chicago.
  • Lady Arran, King’s Langley, Herts.
  • Joe Haber, La Jolla, Calif.
Her art is in the collections of the following living people, among others:
"Flight of the Churches", Collection of Prof. Elisabeth
Paice, OBE
  • Lowell and April Blankfort, San Diego, Calif.
  • Countess Tolstoy, Newbury, Berks., UK
  • Mary Craig, Newbury, Berks., UK
  • Noel York, Northampton, UK
  • Dr. Chris Oakley, Dunstable, UK
  • Rear Admiral Tom Paulsen (ret.) and Mrs. Paulsen
  • Prof. Elisabeth W. Paice, OBE
  • Jon Nadler, New York City
  • Dr. and Mrs. Randal Marlin, Ottawa, Canada
  • Dr. and Mrs. John Tepper Marlin, New York, NY
Illustration of one of the steps
in a Mische Technique painting.

Books about Art

"The Mische Technique", self-published - this hard-to-find book is summarized here.

"Venice" - art book, self-published, includes descriptions of Venice by various authors contributed by Christine Marlin. Also.includes the step-by-step mische technique description.

"History of Art" - stories and artwork. In production.

Other Books She Illustrated or Wrote, or Both
King Oberon's Forest,
A Meaning for Danny

"A Meaning for Danny: My Son with Asperger's," 2010. Life of a boy afflicted with Asperger's. Boissevain Books, available on Amazon, about $12.

"King Oberon's Forest," ill. by Brigid Marlin, written by Hilda van Stockum, originally published by Viking Press, republished by Boissevain
Books, available on Amazon, about $10.

"From East to West", Signet Book. Out of print.

"Clara and the Computer Mouse". Self-published.

"Birthday for Tippoo". Self-published.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The F.D.R.-Woodin Miracle in The East Hampton Star

FDR's first Treasury Secretary, Will Woodin, is not as well known as his second (Henry Morgenthau), largely because Woodin gave the job everything he had, including his life. He died close to the first anniversary of his swearing in.

He was a fascinating person, a lover of music and a composer. He wanted to be a doctor but followed his father into the railway car business.

He made a significant contribution to the successful implementation of the New Deal, despite being a Republican and disagreeing with some of FDR's program.

Here is the story I wrote for the East Hampton Star, published today -
GUESTWORDS: The F.D.R.-Woodin Miracle | The East Hampton Star

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Remembering Those Who Died in the Dutch Resistance and the Death Camps (Update)

The Terezin concentration camp - a day trip away from Prague - was the subject of a PBS show earlier this evening. There were two stories to tell. 
  • One was of a generation of Czech musicians incarcerated in the camp only to be transported to death camps to be killed on arrival. A total of 140,000 of them - equal to half the population of Newark, NJ - were locked up and taken away to die. During their incarceration they put on many performances of a Requiem Mass. "We only had a piano, and we had to memorize all the music and the Latin words," said a survivor, "but it seems as though we had a full orchestra." They sang in defiance of their Nazi captors, who came to listen, and they were transported to a different world.
  • The other story was how the Nazis utilized Terezin to fool the Swiss Red Cross into thinking this is how Jews were treated in the camps. They scrubbed the town and made it look like a paradise. It was a true Potemkin Village, with false storefronts stocked with what they confiscated from the prisoners. The only word I can think of to describe what they did is diabolical. 
Then on Facebook a relative, Terry Mesritz, notes that the day is in Europe devoted to the memory of war heroes, and she remembers Jan ("Canada") Boissevain, Adrienne "Mies" van Lennep  Boissevain, their sons Gi and Janka and their cousin Louis Daniel. 

Another relative doesn't know whether they died or not - I can answer that. Jan "Canada" was arrested first and died eventually in Buchenwald. Gi and Janka, who were leaders of CS6 (named after Corellistraat 6 where their parents lived) were shot at the same time in Overveen and are buried in the Eeregraafsplaats Bloemendaal. Mies survived the war and became further known for inventing the Festival Skirt to symbolize the rebuilding of Holland with what is available. I am adding a link to her name for anyone who wants to know about this family of Resistance leaders in the Netherlands.

Comment - Update

At the request of a relative and someone who wants to make a television miniseries out of two of my mother's books, I have been posting more on the Boissevain family during the Dutch resistance. The posts are by way of chapters of a book.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Should Harvard Be More Like MIT?

The New York Times on  Friday, April 5 had a front-page story by John Markoff on edX (which the Times insists on spelling EdX).  It was announced last year by President Deutsch ( The NY Times story has about 1,000 comments.

Basically, edX has developed a way to grade exam essays without human intervention. It looks at concepts etc. In principle, with on-line lectures and on-line exams, a course can be designed and taped, and  put on autopilot, with no further involvement by the professoriate. Just IT guys to make sure everything is password-protected and identity-certain. 

The edX project is a joint Harvard-MIT project and it seems to be moving Harvard in the direction of MIT, just by virtue of the need for more IT people to make it all happen. 

What's going on? Here are some theories:
  • Harvard has to become more of a place that enterpreneurial students like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg won't leave after a couple of years. MIT and Stanford know best how to turn students into startups and, if all goes well, billionaires.   
  • The loss on the Harvard endowment in 2008 was about $11 billion, one-third of the total. As of 2012, the Endowment was down about $4 billion, but the $6 billion of debt to keep things running is costing about $0.5 billion a year in interest. 
  • Raising more money is better than cutting, but cutting is more reliable. 
  • The edX idea is sufficiently interesting and complex and potentially revolutionary that it may distract attention away from budget-cutting in the wake of the deficits.
Where is all this heading? Here are some possibilities to be on the lookout for, in the form of budgetary-relief recommendations to the administration. (It must be said that I do not necessarily endorse all these hypothetical recommendations!)  

1.Decentralize and privatize intra-mural athletics. This will save $3 million per year. The houses should fund their own programs with alumni appeals. Few people attend these events and they are a luxury Harvard can’t afford any more. If alumni object, let them pay for this stuff. Instead,  offer every student (1) a multi-purpose elliptical trainer in every living unit and (2) one free hour per month with a trainer. This will start a lifetime wellness program for each student. MIT has this right.

2.Invest in intercollegiate sports. This will eventually generate $3 million more per year. Savings from intramural sports should be invested in the major sports teams and Olympic-eligible athletes. We must encourage them. Sales of tickets to Boston-area fans will eventually generate $3 million more than we spend. Those state colleges know this.  

3.Step up scholarships in intercollegiate sports. This will generate $5 million more per year. Harvard needs professionals on the playing field. The pursuit of amateurism is nostalgic but antiquated. Amateurism discriminates against the poor by denying them an alternate track to Harvard. It also means we lose students to colleges with a more serious athletic program. Our stadiums are half-filled at best. We need world-class players, on the basketball court or on the football field. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

4.Cut staff in departments like modern languages, with too many professors. This will save $10 million per year. The best way to learn a modern language is to go to the country or countries where is spoken. Or buy a Rosetta Stone DVD. Average research productivity of foreign-language instructors is pathetic.  

5.Consolidate overlapping departments like History and English.Save $10 million per year. Today’s history is simply yesterday’s journalism, which is taught in the English department – or on the job. Some biographers’ work transcends journalism, but how many people can be as successful at it as Robert Caro, and even he spent years earning little money. In the free-content Google world, books don’t sell as well, and Wikipedia shows that thousands of people are willing to write and edit biographies and histories for nothing. Should Harvard be encouraging its students down this road to rags?

6.Cut out the small courses. Save $10 million per year. Department major requirements force students into wasteful apecialized courses – like Old English, which just provides employment for Old English professors. Elementary and remedial courses are inappropriate for a great university.  Unemployed English majors who teach basic English composition should be doing this in high school. In any case, Spell Check means spelling is just less important because if I get it wrong, Bill Gates will tell me.

7.Bury the dead languages. Save $10 million per year. Leave the dead languages like Latin and Ancient Greek – not to mention Old Russian, Old Anything - to the European and religious-based universities, where their value is better appreciated. The study of philosophy actually interferes with output. Every course that a student takes in philosophy is correlated, ceteris paribus, with a 5.4% decline in subsequent lifetime income. In a world where we are in a life-and-death struggle with India and China, we cannot afford to put distracting existential questions in the heads of our entering freshmen. Years 1-3 - Transfer all arcane languages to the Divinity School. Years 4-5 – Sell the Divinity School to a religious institution or some other narrowly based institute that wants another school to become more like a university.

8.Use money saved to strengthen STEM Faculty. This will initially cost $10 million per year, but will be made up by grants. The money we save by eliminating waste in other departments we can use to ramp up the departments that will make America more competitive, the so-called STEM departments:
- Science, especially biotech.
- Technology, primarily computer languages, aps and hardware.
- Engineering, primarily Internet initiatives.
- Mathematics to support the other three areas.
We need to institute a required freshman course on innovation, which will cover angel investing, venture capital, social entrepreneurship, initial public offerings, executive compensation, matching gifts, charitable lead trusts, charitable remainder trusts, naming opportunities and the lifetime  responsibilities of alumni. Books are being prepared for free distribution to explain the full range of charitable opportunities for those who have successfully mastered the innovation sequence.

9.Rethink the Allston Science Center as an incubator. This will save investing $6 billion over 5 years. The Endowment loss means the Allston Science Center had to be stopped. It should be rethought as gates to science and engineering, as an incubator or innovation center, open even to freshmen. Ample spaces should be provided for our growing number of business partners to kibitz on the ideas that are percolating inside. They need playbooks – a photo of every freshman’s face, books of biographies, and students’ output on specific projects, to be provided by much-expanded Harvard Tech-Transfer and Placement-IPO Offices. Maybe the new Science Complex will be named after a woman. How about the Marie Curie Center?

10.Move ahead cautiously with distance learning options. Maybe $50 million  per year. The collaboration with MIT on the edX program is an exciting way to get past William Baumol’s cost disease problem. We are still teaching the way Socrates did centuries ago! The huge lecture hall was one innovation, but we can reach so many more people with on-line videos. One charismatic professor on line – and we then put our graduate students to work grading the exams and papers! A concern is that competition among on-line programs may drive down price. How do we maintain the integrity of the Harvard brand? If Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg had been on-line students, would they have been as successful? We don’t know, do we?