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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Acknowledgments, Woodin Bio (Updated October 15, 2015)

THANKS to the following for assistance with the book
  •  Doug Clemmons, an attorney whom I have known since we both worked on Capitol Hill in 2009-2011, who accompanied me to Berwick for the Borough's historical association annual meeting.
  • Ashley Kim, who read the entire book in August 2015 and commented.
  • Frank Evina of Mocanaqua, Pa. (formerly 37 years with the Library of Congress),.
  • Bill Selden of Berwick, Pa., and other descendants of ACF employees.
  • The Library of Congress, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, the British Library in London, the Vero Beach Library, the Harvard Club of New York Library.
  • The Society of Genealogists in London; the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park, N.Y.;
Woodin Descendants:
  • Charmaine Caldwell, for many emails and interviews about her family
  • Anne Harvey Gerli, granddaughter of Will Woodin, daughter of Anne Woodin Harvey – provided interviews and photos.
  • Suzanne Phipps Hyatt, for some of my best photos and huge patience with details of the genealogy of the descendants of Will Woodin.
  • John Mackall, descendant of William S. Rowe - interviews and email correspondence.
  • Charlie Miner Jr., grandson of Will Woodin, son of Mary Woodin Miner – many interviews, a notebook, Raggedy Ann songbook, several photos.
  • Woody Rowe, grandson of Will Woodin, and Libby Woodin Rowe – extensive notes and recollections.
  • Lucy Sachs, descendant of William S. Rowe – access to family photo album and permission to use photos.
  • Album provided to me, created by
    Bill Phipps' mother.
  • Eve Woodin, great-granddaughter of Will Woodin, granddaughter of William H. Woodin II of Tucson, Ariz., daughter of Peter Woodin.
  • Peter Woodin, interview.
  • Mimi Rude Bell, for a wonderful set of photos she took with her father Charlie Miner in 2010.
  • Bill Phipps of Bloomfield, N.J., for giving me access to his mother's giant album of clippings about Will Woodin's musical performances.
  • Visited Bloomfield, N.J., to meet
    with Bill Phipps.
  • William H. Woodin III, for new information about his father and grandfather.
Amagansett, N.Y.,  Library
Seth Bank, Reference Librarian – obtained several relevant books.
Judith Wolfe, local historian – helped search for photos.

Berwick, Pa. Press-Enterprise
Story by Susan Schwartz in April 2015 on my talk to the Berwick Historical Society. Well-written story, helpful to my thinking.

Berwick, Pa., Historical Society
Tom Adams
Jim Stout, Curator of the Jackson Mansion

Devon Yacht Club, Amagansett, N.Y.
John Hossenlopp, former Commodore – answered numerous questions about Devon files.
Pat Hollmann, General Manager – referred me to experts on different topics.
Bob Tepe, former member of the History/Archive Committee – provided access to archives. Stephanie Fleetwood, former Archivist, author of Devon history – provided sources.
Doug Geddes, boat owner – referred me to Swede Edwards.
Alice Tepper Marlin – for enabling this work in countless ways
 Robert Wick – Help with search for a student intern to assist with the work.
Ann Roberts - Introduced me to Anne Harvey Gerli, Woodin's granddaughter, and thereby got this whole project under way.

East Hampton, N.Y.  Historical Association
Liz Neill, Assistant to the Director – assistance with tracing photos that were on display at the "Jazz Age" exhibit at the Clinton Academy.

East Hampton Library
Steve Boerner - Archivist, Long Island Collection
Children's Librarian - provided access to Raggedy Ann songbooks.

New York Public Library
Genealogy and Local History Section

North Sea Radiator, Southampton
Amund ("Swede") Edwards – huge set of Lloyd’s Registry annuals and other photos through which I traced the history of Will Woodin's boat, the Nanin.

Mystic Seaport Museum
Picture Department, Rosenfeld Collection.

East Hampton Star
Baylis Greene, for excellent editorial suggestions. The East Hampton Star published "GUESTWORDS" columns about Will Woodin on April 11 and August 1, 2013 and subsequently. These columns were very helpful for getting feedback and moving along the writing of the bio. 


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dying Wishes

Switching universes? Hawking's idea of time travel.
I spoke with a friend recently whose husband has died of cancer.

His dying wishes were very clear. He was very open about them. Here is what they were:

1. Please always have music in the room - here is what I like...
2. Please always have food available - here is what I like... (Actually, in the last month, he lost his appetite - wh ch is a sign that hospice carers look for to indicate that someone is ready, or likely, to die.)
3. I want my pain medicated even if my life is shortened. Please have someone available always for this.
4. Before I am unable to cope, please get all my financial affairs in order.
5. Please keep some of my ashes with you and scatter the rest - here is where...

He was an organized and thoughtful person. What he did in making his wishes clear was, I am sure, helpful for his wife, now his widow.

* * *
During the course of the conversation, I was educated about hospice care. I always thought that one went into a hospice, a place, i.e., an upscale nursing home. But hospice care apparently can be provided in one's own home. The hospice program seeks to do four things:
1. Never leave the patient alone.
2. Minimize pain.
3. Bring peace to the patient.
4. At the end, try to have the patient's death occur during sleep.

* * *

If the implication of Einstein's formulas is that the way we get to time-travel is to reduce our weight to zero (so we can travel at the speed of light), then what we are getting ready for is some trip! Same with going through a wormhole such as Hawking suggests in the diagram above.

So it is worth being organized for the transition. It's our last chance. After that we may not have any control.

Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26 - Birthdays of Utopian-Dystopian Writers Aldous Huxley, Stanley Kubrick, Bernard Shaw

Aldous Huxley
Garrison Keillor in The Writer's Almanac gives us some poetry every day and then lists birthdays of authors (and sometimes other people) he thinks we might be interested in. Today he has three Time Travelers on his list of four authors and I could not resist commenting here, because all three have written about Utopias and Dystopias.

Aldous Huxley was born in Surrey, England in 1894. After reading some H.G. Wells (The Time Machine?) he decided to write about the future in Brave New World (1932), summarized by Keillor as:
...a future in which most human beings are born in test-tube factories, genetically engineered to belong in one of five castes: Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. There are no families; people have sex all the time and never fall in love, and they keep themselves happy by taking a drug called "soma." 
George Orwell's 1984 came out a few years later, and Huxley argued his own imagined dystopian future was more likely than Orwell's, because "it would be easier to control people by keeping them happy than it would be by threatening them with violence."

I would say that Huxley predicted several paths in the evolution of capitalist countries and Orwell predicted paths in the futures of totalitarian countries. Between them they offer equal-opportunity gloom for those not spaced out on "soma".

Stanley Kubrick was born today in New York City in 1928. Many of his movies, like "The Shining" and "2001: A Space Odyssey" have a time-traveling theme. His adaptation of Burgess's "A Clockwork Orange" provides a scenario for a dystopian outcome of a capitalist attempt at utopia.

George Bernard Shaw was born in Dublin in 1856, the most ancient of the three. Of his 60+ plays, he wrote three plays with the theme of looking forward to the working of a benign force to create an eventual Utopia. Back to Methuselah (1920) as the name suggests, goes back to world origins and forward to a distant future. He was very proud of this long play but critics were not so favorable. His next play, Saint Joan, was widely applauded.

Two other plays had a similar theme - The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles (1934) and Farfetched Fables (1950, shortly before he died). He wanted to believe that Karl Marx was in some way going to be right, but he favored the Fabian Socialist route rather than revolution. He wrote tracts and articles in favor of Fabian Socialism.

Such great minds wrestling with the same topic! Born on the same day! Makes you wonder...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

TOQUE TALK | Alex Hitz

Birthday party for Alex Hitz thrown by Joan Collins. L to R:
Carolina Herrera, Hitz, Wendy Goldberg, Lauren King.
A few days ago in Amagansett, N.Y. I had the pleasure of listening to Alex Hitz, the only guy in the photo at left, talk about his childhood in Atlanta.

That's where he learned to cook from his gourmet-cook mother, Caroline Sauls Hitz Shaw.

Via his mother's father, an Atlanta physician, Hitz inherited a significant interest in the Coca-Cola company. Nearly 15 years ago he sued SunTrust Banks Inc., in Federal court for mismanaging the trust, created in the 1940s by Dr. Sauls. The complaint was that the trust managers refused to diversify out of Coke stock. A co-plaintiff was his half-brother Thomas Shaw, whose father Robert Shaw was formerly director of the Atlanta Symphony.

Neither his Coke connection nor his law suit were mentioned in his talk or in the index to his book. All that seems to be behind him. Hitz has a new book out that combines recipes with nostalgic photos of famous people his family consorted with in his childhood. The picture above is of a party for him held a few years ago by Joan Collins.

His new book is called "My Beverly Hills Kitchen: Classic Southern Cooking with a French Twist," which shows many of the food presentations that are featured in the restaurant he co-owns in Atlanta, The Patio by the River.  Hitz attended Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris, where he earned his Toque Blanche, and has combined what he learned about southern cooking growing up with what he learned in culinary school.

Hitz is an engaging and practiced speaker. He knows his slide show–which is essentially composed of photos that appear in his new book–backwards and forwards and has some good jokes. He has a little-boy smile although he is in his mid-40s.

The group I was with, mostly women, loved his style and lined up to buy his $35 book, which was published last year by Knopf.  Looked like 100 copies sold. The 353 pages of recipes and nostalgia are illustrated with mouth-watering pictures of food and the people and homes whose hospitality Hitz either was receiving or was managing.

Little jokes are inserted, as in his slide-show speech (example: James Beard is quoted as saying "A cook who worries about calories is like a tart who looks at her watch."

Hitz had four parting pieces of advice for running a food-centered event. These are not in his book:

1. Don't skimp on anything.
2. Make a schedule and stick to it.
3. Sweat the small stuff before the party. Then smile your way through anything that goes wrong.
4. Don't be pretentious.

This was his first book. I would be amazed if Knopf hasn't got him working on his second.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4 - Teaching Kids about American Independence

Indian Wigwam and French tent during the French and Indian War,
1754-1763. This reenactment occurs every year at George
Washington's ancestral home in Sulgrave Manor, near Banbury,
England. Photo June 29, 2013, by JT Marlin.  

As we celebrate July 4, how many American children know that the Declaration of Independence would not have been possible if the French and their allied Indians were still harassing them. The French and Indian War of 1754-1763 was a crucial prelude to the War of Independence.
  • It showed the American colonies' loosely organized militias how to fight a war.
  • It made George Washington into a heroic military figure who was therefore able later to bring together the gentried southern colonies in a common cause with the impetuous rabble-rousers in Boston.
  • It succeeded in driving the French military out of North America until they came back to assist the rebels after 1776. 
  • It reduced the threat to the colonies of hostile Indians. They switched their allegiance to the British and this in practice meant to the settlers.
  • On the downside, it created war debts that George III needed to pay, and he felt that the colonies should contribute toward their liberation from the French. This led to the taxes that precipitated the Declaration of Independence. 
Going to a reenactment of the French and Indian War is one way to convey these historical developments. At the Sulgrave Manor in the UK near Banbury (north of Oxford), a reenactment occurs every year around July 4.

More ideas for teaching kids about the French and Indian War are here.

HERALDRY: Washington, the U.S. Flag, and Sulgrave Manor (Updated June 2, 2016)

Washington coat of arms and a version of the U.S. coat of
 arms, above a portrait of George Washington at the
Sulgrave Manor in Northamptonshire, England,
near Banbury. Photo by  JTMarlin, June 29, 2013.
I have just come back with more information, beyond what I posted last month, on the connections between George Washington's family and the Stars and Stripes.

One visit was to the Sulgrave Manor, near Banbury ("Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross") in England. It's an amazingly informative historical site, with helpful information on George Washington's ancestors. I recommend the DVD they sell at the gift shift.

The locals around Sulgrave during the week before July 4 every year get together and re-enact the French and Indian wars, in which George Washington played a significant role.

The staff of the Sulgrave Manor is convinced that the Stars and Stripes were derived from the Washington coat of arms.

To recap the origin of my quest, it is the surprisingly flat statement on the American Heraldry Society website, in an article written in 2006 by Joseph McMillan, Director of Research for the Society, that:
"[T]here is not a shred of evidence that the one [coat of arms of the Washington family] had anything to do with the other [coat of arms of the USA, or the U.S. flag]".  [Emphasis added by me.]
It is one thing to say there is no evidence and another to reject all of the evidence. I was once on a jury in which a fellow juror rejected multiple pieces of evidence - from fingerprints, a video security camera showing the robbery in progress, personal identification by the jewelry store owner, and cell-phone call records showing contacts before the robbery with an accomplice. She eventually disclosed that no evidence would lead her to convict the individual and she admitted that she should have disqualified herself during the voir dire. She agreed to vote guilty on condition the charges were reduced. Afterwards the judge revealed several additional pieces of evidence from the trial of the accomplice (also found guilty) that had to be excluded.

In the hope that I can convince objective readers, I am describing two key pieces of evidence collected recently, one on my visit last week to the Sulgrave Manor in England and the other in two visits to the British Library.

1. The Pairing of the Washington and U.S. Coats of Arms by Paul Revere and the Colonial Dames

Today, on the Fourth of July, I provide my photo of the frame above the portrait of George Washington, contributed by the Colonial Dames of America. The actual shipment of the gift was interrupted by the Great War, but fundraising was broadly based in the years before the war. It is clear that the Colonial Dames are strongly asserting the connection between the two coats of arms via their use of Paul Revere's pairing of the two in a design at William and Mary University.

Much of the energy of the Heraldry Society is devoted to arguments that show ignorance of the terminology of ancient taxonomy of heraldry and seek to intimidate those who would dare encroach on their turf. But the Normans brought heraldry with them to England. The French and German heraldry goes back to the first millennium, but the British does not, and was not codified until Queen Victoria's time. So we can get up off our knees.

That, in fact is what the U.S. Congress did in 1782 when they blazoned (put in words) the shield on the U.S. coat of arms. Take a dollar bill out of your pocket and look on the back. The stripes are shown horizontally and the original 13 stars are taken off the blue chief above the stripes and are put in a cloud-like circle (called  a glory) above the eagle, in a form that creates a six-pointed star. In order to preserve the reference to the 13 states the stripes are not even in number, contrary to English heraldic rules, although in contrast to the flag the white stripes are on the outside. This is a triumph of meaning over rules.

A comment on the eagle - which, by the way, appears as an early alternative to the raven in the Washington coat of arms. The eagle holds an olive branch in its right talon and 13 arrows in its left talon. The original design shows the eagle's head facing to its right, toward the olive branch. President Truman found the eagle's head on a version of The Great Seal turned the other way, toward the arrows, and instructed that in accordance with the meaning of the creation of the Department of Defense (as opposed to the Department of War) - and, one could add, the original designers of the seal - all versions of the Great Seal shall have the head of the eagle facing to its right, toward the olive branch.

2. The "Revolutionary" Mullets in the Washington Coat of Arms

Those who believe that there is no connection between the stars and stripes on the Washington coat of arms and the Stars and Stripes make a great deal of the fact that on a coat of arms the stars are not stars. They are "mullets" - i.e., the rotating spurs on the bottom of boots worn by knights.  Nothing to do with the white stars on the Stars and Stripes signifying a "new constellation". Well, my research on coats of arms produces some information that hoists these purists on their own petard:
  • The small holes in the center of the mullets, around which the spur would revolve, appear in the earliest versions of the Washington coat of arms but not usually in later versions. What was once proudly claimed by a knight wearing armor as a spur evolved into a center-less star.   
  • A French heraldry book at the British Library puts mullets in the class of "estoiles" and says that they are always, unless specified in the blazon otherwise, six-pointed in France and eight-pointed in Germany. 
  • That would mean in Norman England, a mullet would properly be a six-pointed, as it was in the earliest versions of the Washington Coat of Arms, in the fourth volume of the history of Durham County in the British Library.
  • Somewhere early in the Washington family's history the mullet became five-pointed (or with five "rayons" in the French heraldic vernacular). This change was called "revolutionary" in one of the books I consulted. Later, the hole in the center indicating a mullet was dropped.
  • My theory is that George Washington was extremely proud of the five-pointed mullet.
  • George Washington, in the Betsy Ross story, had the six-pointed stars in the designs for the canton of the early versions of the Stars and Stripes changed to five-pointed stars. The most convincing version of the story is that she showed him a way to cut a square of cloth into a five-pointed star with one cut of the scissors. This would obfuscate the connection to the  "revolutionary" Washington family arms design, and avert the charge that Washington was trying to introduce a monarchy into the new United States.
  • Another deflection of attention from the closeness of the five-pointed star to the Washington coat of arms would have been his response to concern about removing the (then) two Christian crosses of the British flag from our American flag – those of St. George and St. Andrew; the cross of St. Patrick came later. According to the story, Washington said, "But we are adding the stars of Heaven..." 
  • When Washington introduced the new flag in 1776 to Congress, he said that the stars represent "the new constellation".
  • We don't have to document that George Washington personally intervened for his own family aggrandizement. That would have been out of character. It would have been enough for those around him to see how deep was Washington affection for the family coat of arms – widely displayed in his stationery, bookplates and silver.