Saturday, December 10, 2016

RIP | Damian A. Kearney, OSB

Rev. Dom Damian Kearney, OSB (1928-2016)
Rev. Dom Damian A. Kearney, O.S.B. has been a fixture of Portsmouth Abbey School for so long that his death did not fully register with me. 

I heard news of it while I was traveling in England, but I somehow expected to see him this week at the annual New York City Portsmouth reception. He died at 87 on Sept. 8, 2016 and his funeral Mass was on Sept. 14 in the Portsmouth Abbey Church in Portsmouth, R.I. He is buried in the Abbey’s cemetery.

Born Allan Peter Kearney on Nov. 28, 1928, in Rockville Center, Long Island, N.Y, he was the son of Edward and Louise Keefe Kearney. Fr. Damian had five brothers and a sister, of whom his brothers David and Andrew survive him, along with many nephews and nieces. I met his younger brother David Q. Kearney at the Vero Beach, Fla. Portsmouth reception in the spring of 2016.

Portsmouth Abbey Cemetery
Fr. Damian entered Portsmouth Abbey (then Priory) School in the First Form in 1940, graduating early as a Fifth Former in 1945 because of the war. He earned a B.A. degree from Yale University in 1949 and entered the monastery in 1950. Fr. Damian was ordained to the priesthood on May 26, 1956. I believe I was the first at Portsmouth to be Fr. Damian’s altar boy in 1956. The monks said mass early on a weekday morning and, as I recollect, one signed up to be the altar boy.

Fr. Damian taught in the English Department for more than 50 years and chaired the department ion 1974-88. I took his English course in the Fifth Form and was impressed with his dedication to teaching, to the English language, and to Portsmouth:
  • When I wrote to him about some great calligraphy I found in Estonia, he reminded me of the great calligraphers over the years at Portsmouth.
  • When I told him that I had written an article about heraldry at Oxford, he reminded me that Fr. Wilfred Bayne at Portsmouth must have kindled my interest–quite possibly true. 
He was the house master of the largest boys' dormitory, St. Benet's, in 1960-74. I was at St. Benet’s in 1955-58 when his predecessor Cecil Acheson was the house master.

Fr. Damian was Prior of the monastery and thus acting Superior whenever the Abbot was away during the 1974-90 period. He was a member of the Abbot's advisory Council starting in 1964, with hardly a break. He directed the monastic education of the Novices and Junior monks, and toward the end of his life was Director of Oblates.

Fr. Damian was the Abbey’s historian and archivist. He was strong in his teaching of Shakespeare’s plays. He met my mother on one of her visits; she has published two dozen books for children at Viking and Farrar Straus, under the name Hilda van Stockum. She argued strongly with Fr. Damian for the case that the Earl of Oxford was the real writer of the Shakespeare plays, making the point that Shakespeare didn’t travel and could not have known about foreign countries and their  manners. Fr. Damian initially dismissed the idea, but then found the subject interesting and pursued it, although he continued to support the authenticity of the Shakespeare authorship.

His ordination card reads: “One thing have I asked the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life.” He surely found what he was seeking. May he dwell now with the Lord now that the days of his life have ended.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

OBIT | Lt. Col. Sidney J. Dagg MBE

In the ten years since my mother died I have been methodically going through her many interesting papers. An interesting period is the time he was at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1930-32.

His roommate was Willem van Stockum, through whom he met my mother. As foreigners from the United States and Holland, my parents and Willem were in a glamorous circle of friends. Among their many friends who went on to fame was Orson Welles.

Yesterday I ran across the obituary of Lt. Col. S[idney] J[ohn] Dagg (1911-1988), MBE, another special person from Trinity. Dagg went from his graduation from Trinity in 1933 to a commission in Royal Signals. After his "Q" course he was posted to India. The obit is above.

I asked my siblings what they remember of Dagg. I remember him visiting, and his crisp was of speaking. My older siblings remember him better. Randal remembers Col. Dagg's being talked about frequently.

Brigid says:
Yes, I remember the occasion of his [Col. Dagg's] death vividly. We were at a party and he said he was going to India for a banquet in his honour. I was just back from India [Brigid visited the Dalai Lama and painted his portrait–JTM], and had suffered from food poisoning there. I begged him not to go, but he said he had to, as it was in his honour. The next thing I heard was that he got food poisoning at the banquet and died!
An link indicates he was born June 27, 1911, so the date of my parents' marriage would have been his 21st birthday!

He died Oct. 11, 1988, either in India (as Brigid's story suggests) or Hedsor, Bucks., where he was living in his retirement.

Friday, October 21, 2016

NAVAL HISTORY | Oct. 21–Nelson Defeats Napoleon's Navy

The Death of Admiral Lord Nelson, 1805
This day in 1805 – 211 years ago – In one of the most decisive naval battles in history, the British fleet under 1st Viscount Horatio  Nelson defeats a combined French-Spanish fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar, off the coast of Spain.

But Admiral Lord Nelson is killed by the bullet of an unknown French sniper.

Nelson consistently out-maneuvered Napoleon Bonaparte's navy on the water. A French friend told me that one reason for Napoleon's difficulties with his navy was that the pre-Revolutionary French navy required all officers to be quatre quarts noblesse – nobility among all four grandparents. When the Revolution killed or scared off the aristocrats, the French Navy lost its officers.

Nelson’s last and greatest victory against the French was this Battle of Trafalgar. It began after Nelson caught sight of a Franco-Spanish force of 33 ships. Nelson divided his smaller fleet of 27 ships into two lines. Nelson signaled the attack with a famous message from the flagship HMS Victory: “England expects that every man will do his duty.”

Deviating from established practice, in which ships pass in front of one another in two rows, shooting away as in a jousting match, Nelson attacked the French-Spanish line broadside, picking off the front ships one by one in a manner reminiscent of Thermopylae (when a small force of Spartans held off for a long time a hugeinvading Persian army by bottling them up a narrow pass).

In five hours of fighting, the British devastated the enemy fleet, destroying 19 enemy ships. No British ships were lost, but 1,500 British seamen were killed or wounded in the heavy fighting. The battle raged at its fiercest around the Victory, and a French sniper shot Nelson in the shoulder and chest. The admiral was taken below and died about 30 minutes before the end of the battle.

Nelson’s last words, after being informed that victory was imminent, were: “Now I am satisfied. Thank God I have done my duty.”

Victory at Trafalgar meant that Napoleon never invaded Britain. Nelson was hailed as a savior and was given a magnificent funeral in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. A column was erected to his memory in the newly named Trafalgar Square. I have visited the HMS Victory, which is open to the public in the port of Portsmouth, opposite the Isle of Wight.

HMS Pickle.
A dinner is held every November in New York City to celebrate the victory at Trafalgar. It is called the "Pickle" dinner, after the HMS Pickle, which brought the news of Nelson's victory (and death) to England. The Pickle was smaller and faster than most of the other battleships. It was of U.S. origin and I am told was fast in part because it reduced dependence on square rigging and used more triangular sails. That meant it could sail more directly into the wind and could tack more efficiently.

HMS Pickle was a topsail schooner of the Royal Navy built in 1799 in Bermuda, originally a civilian vessel that Vice Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour purchased – exceeding his authority – to use on the Jamaica station, of a type that would be properly called a Bermuda Sloop, except that a sloop strictly speaking has only one mast and HMS Pickle had two. A schooner (from the Dutch Schooner) is a type of sailing vessel with fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts, the foremast being shorter than the main. Originally gaff-rigged, modern schooners typically carry a Bermuda rig. Such vessels were first used by the Dutch in the 16th or 17th century and were developed in North America, especially in New England, from the early 18th century. Pickle was at the Battle of Trafalgar, but was too small to take part in the fighting, Pickle was the first ship to bring the news of Nelson's victory to Great Britain.  Lord Seymour, the commander on the Jamaica Station, formally purchased the ship in December 1800 for £2,500, after having leased her for some time at £10 per day.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

WOODIN | Cup at Maidstone Ends, 1955 (Updated Feb. 18, 2018)

Anne Gram and her cousin Charles Miner Jr., grandchildren of William H. Woodin, assist in giving out awards at the last Woodin Cup presentation, along with the president of the Maidstone Club, H. J. Robertson; Julian S. Myrick ("Dean of Maidstone Tennis"); and four winners. Photo by William Boone,  East Hampton Star, September 15, 1955.

According to the Maidstone Club, 1955 was the last year of the Woodin Cup. The board on which the winners were posted goes through 1954.  

Anne Gram was born Anne Harvey, the granddaughter of William H. Woodin. She went by the name of Anne Gram until she married a second time, when she was known as Anne Gerli until her death in 2016. Charles Miner, Jr., who is living in 2017, is one of three surviving grandsons of Will Woodin.

The three Woodin ladies invitational tennis cups at Maidstone were donated by Will Woodin to promote women's tennis – appropriately enough, since tennis was brought to the United States from Bermuda in 1874 by a resident of Staten Island, Mary Ewing Outerbridge. 

The Woodin cups were the only gold trophies offered in any tennis tournament. Originally there were three gold cups, two for the doubles players and one for the singles players. Julian S. Myrick had the idea for the cups and he persuaded Will Woodin to provide the funding to purchase them in 1926. Woodin was elected President of the Maidstone Club around that time; he was also serving simultaneously as Commodore of the Devon Yacht Club.

In 1949, all three gold cups that had been put up by WilliWoodin in the Maidstone Club Ladies Invitation tennis tournament in 1926 were retired from competition. The singles cup was won by Louise Brough of California, then the Wimbledon champion, and the doubles cup was won by Brough and Margaret Osborne duPont of Wilmington, Delaware, who was the national ladies singles champion.

Brough had previously won the singles championship in 1942 and 1948. She and Dumont had previously won the doubles championship in 1942 and 1948; duPont won with Sarah Palfrey in 1941.

It is Woodin family lore (told to me by more than one family member) that someone had won the cups before three times and did not take the cups in order for the competition to continue. But the record does not show anyone winning the cup more than twice before 1949. Helen Wills won the singles competition twice, in 1926 and 1928, and Shirley Fry also won twice, in 1946 and 1947. 

Possibly the family lore is based on the fact that singles winners who had won twice decided at some point not to compete. The doubles competition was also won twice by two teams: Dorothy Andrus and Sylvia Henrotin in 1936 and 1937, and Shirley Fry and Barbara Krase in 1946 and 1947.

After the original gold cups had been retired in 1949, the Woodin family raised the money to replace them with silver cups. They were presented after Will Woodin died in 1934 by Nan Woodin. After she died in 1941, her daughter Mary Woodin Miner took over the task. In 1955, Myrick presented the cups along with two grandchildren of Will Woodin, Charles Miner Jr. and Anne Gram (later Anne Gerli). Charlie Miner told me that his mother was not feeling well on the award day in 1955. She might also have been signaling that she was not going to keep supporting the event. She retired to Vero Beach, Florida.

After Anne Gerli died in 2016, silver tennis cups were again funded by her three daughters, in their mother's name. Update (Jan. 24, 2018): These cups are for intramural women's doubles at Maidstone.

Sources and Related Posts: The Woodin Gold Cups (includes list of winners, 1926-1955) . Life of Will WoodinEast Hampton Star, August 4, 1949, 1.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

WW2 | Dutch-Paris Escape Route Mini-Symposium, Nov. 10

My cousin and friend Charles Boissevain, nicknamed "Charles Leidschendam" to distinguish him from other Charles Boissevains, wrote to me recently about a mini-symposium in Amsterdam on Nov. 10.

It will be conducted in English and will discuss the Dutch-Paris escape route during the Nazi Occupation of Holland, which started with the invasion on May 10, 1940 and lasted until 1945. Charles says:
The past few years I have spent quite a lot of time trying to convince the Yad Vashem authority in Jerusalem to award the Yad Vashem honor to Jean Michel Caubo, a Dutchman living in the war in Paris. The Dutch-Paris Line helped some 800 Jewish persons, some 200 Dutch "Engeland-vaarders" [Dutchmen trying to escape by sea, including two of my cousins Gi and Janka Boissevain] and some 200 allied airplane soldiers to escape. Via Paris to Switzerland, Spain, the UK. Caubo received them at the train in Paris and helped them escape. He did so until he was arrested in 1944 and evenrtually killed. His activities are recognised and honored by France, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA. Time and again my friend Maarten Eliasar, the organiser of the symposium Nov. 10, and I have sent requests to the Yad Vashem Authority to give Caubo the Yad Vashem award. They have so far refused to do so. Of course I will go to this mini-symposium.
I have written about Caubo before–here and here. The symposium – which will be (reminder) conducted in English – will launch the publication of the Dutch translation of the book "Ordinary Heroes: The Dutch-Paris Escape Line 1942-1945" under the title Gewone Helden – De Dutch-Paris ontsnappingslijn 1942-1945 by Megan Koreman PhD, published by Uitgeverij Boom. Here is the program and other details:


Program, Nov. 10, 14.00 (doors open 13.30) Mini-symposium with the participation of Megan Koreman, historian and author of the book; Hans Blom, former director of NIOD; Ad van Liempt, author, journalist and tv-producer; Onno Sinke, historian and advisor at Arq Psychotrauma Expert Groep; and Max van Weezel, political scientist, journalist and radio anchor. The symposium will be followed by the presentation of the first copies of Gewone Helden and a reception.
Venue: Hilton Amsterdam, Apollolaan 138, 1077 BG Amsterdam.
Registration: Because places are limited, the symposium organizers ask you to register as soon as possible but definitely before October 20, 2016, by clicking on the following link: You will be led to a web page on the Dutch-Paris Blog where you can register. If you know anyone else who might be interested, please forward this email with the request to register as soon as possible.
Other Publicity:TV-broadcast ‘Andere Tijden’, Nov. 5, Dutch public network NPO2, approx. 21.10 hours: Dutch public broadcaster VPRO-NTR will feature Dutch-Paris in the episode ‘Ontsnappingsroute in de oorlog (Escape route during the war)’ in their renowned history series ‘Andere Tijden (Different Times)’.
Lodging: The Hilton Amsterdam offers a room rate for the symposium of €219 based on single occupancy (€239 double occupancy). This price includes breakfast and Wi-Fi but does not include 5% city tax and is based on availability. Reservations can be made through the booking link . If you intend to come and want to stay at the Amsterdam Hilton, make reservations a.s.a.p.
Sponsors: The invitation comes on behalf of Megan Koreman, the Weidner Foundation and Uitgeverij Boom from Maarten Eliasar, Van Eeghenstraat 137, 1071 GA Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The symposium is made possible by the support of Hilton Amsterdam and other sponsors.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

WOODIN | The Tennis Gold Cup (Postscript Mar 26, 2017)

Treasury Secretary William H. Woodin presents
Maidstone's Tennis Gold Cup to Ladies Singles
winner Betty Nuthall of UK in 1933. This was the 
last time he presented the Woodin Cup; he 
died in May 1934.
EAST HAMPTON, October 28, 2016–The Woodin Gold Cup Invitational Tournament for women tennis players was initiated 90 years ago at the Maidstone Club. Its story, from 1926 to 1955, provides insights into the history of the sport.

William H. Woodin was himself not a tennis player. He was approached to put his name on and finance the cup because he was a renowned U.S. business leader and a philanthropist who served on the Board of Franklin Roosevelt's Warm Springs Foundation.

Woodin headed ACF, the country's largest supplier of railway cars and one of the 20 companies in the contemporary Dow Jones Industrial Average. (He also chaired another of the 20 companies in the Dow–American Locomotive Co., or Alco.)

Woodin was asked by his friend and fellow Maidstone Club member Julian S. Myrick to contribute the cups for the proposed invitational. 

Woodin’s generous response was to donate three cups made of solid gold, one for the singles winner and the other two for the doubles winners.  The value of each of the two doubles three cups was estimated at $2,000, equal to $30,000 today, adjusted for inflation. The larger singles gold cup may be worth as muchas $100,000 today. The winner took the cup home for a year and after three wins was allowed to keep it. That happened for all three cups in 1949.

The Woodin cups were unique in tennis because they were for women and there were fewer tournaments for female players. For nearly 30 years, the greatest names in women’s tennis came to play on Maidstone’s courts to compete for the cups. The tournament played an important role in providing a platform for competition among a generation of women tennis players frozen out of professional tennis during the 1930s.

Woodin's generosity (begun by his contributing $1,800 to refurbish the tennis building) may have prompted his election as President of the Maidstone Club, even though he also headed, as Commodore, the other main social club in East Hampton, the Devon Yacht Club and had done so since 1922.

After Will Woodin died in 1934, his widow Nan Woodin continued to host the Gold Cup. In 1939 the competition ran from July 31 to Aug. 6. Nan Woodin hosted a dinner for the contestants on Aug. 2. The East Hampton Star had a small story on p. 1 of its issue of July 27, 1939 noting that the contestants would include Helen Jacobs, Alice Marble, Susan Palfrey Fabian and Dorothy Bundy. That year Alice Marble won the singles cup and she and Susan Palfrey Fabyan won the doubles cup. Nan Woodin died in 1941, and her daughter Mary Miner took over presenting the cups at first, and later the Woodin grandchildren Charlie Miner Jr. and Anne Harvey Gerli.

The Grand Slam Tennis Tournaments 

The Woodin Cups supported female players in the runup to the U.S. Open, i.e., the American leg of the four major world Grand Slam ("Major") open tennis tournaments. The U.S. Open was originally called 
the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships, which began on grass in 1881 at the Newport Casino (named for the Italian word for country house, La Casina) in Rhode Island. They continued in Newport until 1914, when they moved to New York City.

Woodin Cup winners who went on to become Grand Slam champions included Alice Marble, Helen [Hull] Jacobs, Molla Mallory and Helen Wills [Moody].  Helen Jacobs and Helen Wills were fierce opponents whose games were called "the battle of the Helens".

The U.S. National Championships event was supported by the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association (USNLTA, founded in 1881, shortened to USLTA in 1920), which codified the rules of tennis such as the regulation size of the court. The USNLTA encouraged the spread of grass-court tennis in the late 19th century and early 20th to estates and clubs all over Long Island. The USNLTA Players' Committee, which included Davis Cup founder Dwight Davis, lobbied to bring the nationals from Newport to Long Island. The Players' Committee noted in 1915 that 58 of the 100 top-ranked American players, half of the 260 USNLTA member clubs and 25,000 tennis players were located in the NYC metro area. They were the ones who persuaded the USLTA to move America's Grand Slam event in 1914 from Newport to 12 acres at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills.

The U.S. Championships were renamed the U.S. Open in 1968, and in 1975  switched from grass to green clay; that year the USLTA name was shortened to USTA. The Open moved to hard courts in 1978 at Flushing Meadows in a model agreement with the City of New York, requiring minimal public support, that was one of Mayor David Dinkins' great achievements. The other three Grand Slam tournaments are:

  • The Wimbledon tournament, the grandfather of tennis tournaments, which started in 1877 on grass courts and today is the only one of the Grand Slam sites where tennis is still played on grass.
  • The French Open, which began as a French-only tournament and was first opened to all nationalities in 1925. It was begun on red clay courts in Paris, and after some years of experimentation has stayed with it.
  • The Australian Open, which rotated in 1905-1988 among several grass sites and then settled on hard courts in Melbourne Park, after which it gained equal status with the other three Grand Slam tournaments.
L to R: Nan Woodin, center, awards the
Gold Cup to Sarah Palfrey, as Alice
Marble looks on. 
The Woodin Cup's Contribution to  Women's Tennis

Originally a leisure sport played informally on weekends on grass courts at East End "cottages," tennis was transformed by the emergence of professional tennis players starting about 1926.

Families with tennis courts began to take the game more seriously and invited tennis pros to provide lessons. 

John Nogrady was an early pro who gained fame in the 1940s. He was resident pro at the Phipps and Martin homes in Old Westbury and at the Fairchild home in Lloyd Neck. He worked with emerging tennis women players like Louise Brough, Margaret Osborne, Gussie Moran, and Grace Kelly, many of whom played in the Maidstone tournament (see list below). Nogrady died in 2007 at 93.

Maidstone hosted practice sessions and invitational warm-ups for the season-ending U.S. Championships at West Side, along with, for the male players,  Piping Rock in Locust Valley and the Rockaway Hunting Club. 

The men's invitational tournaments started at the Meadow Club of Southampton and the Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove. They were part of the eastern grass circuit which started in Baltimore, went north to Philadelphia, through New Jersey, up to Boston and back down to Forest Hills.

Will Woodin's Gold Cup Invitational offered a trophy for women of equal or better status to that of the men, at a time when women were being eased out of the men's pro circuit. The Woodin Cup nurtured the emergence of several important women players, including the four previously mentioned Grand Slam winners. 

Two female tennis players got a big boost from the Woodin Cup–Carolin Babcock and Sarah Palfrey. One woman, noted at the end of this story, did not win or even play for the Woodin Cup, but the controversy around her play may have helped her career as well as contributing to the end of the Woodin Cup... but we are getting ahead of the story. 

Carolin Babcock Stark (Woodin Winner, 1934)

A women's amateur tennis star in the 1930’s who died March 25, 1987 at Southampton Hospital, Carolin Babcock Stark won the Woodin Gold Cup in 1934. She went on to win the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association national doubles championship with Marjorie (Midge) Van Ryan in 1936. In 1932 she had been the runner-up in women's singles to Helen Jacobs at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills.  The same year she won the the singles championship, and the following year the doubles at the Seabright (N.J.) Lawn and Cricket Club.  She was married for 10 years to Richard S. Stark and she lived in Malibu, Calif. from the mid-1940's to 1980, when she moved to North Haven, Southampton Town, until her death.

Sarah Palfrey (Woodin Winner, 1932, 1935, 1939...)

The Woodin Cup gave a similar boost to Sarah Palfrey. She twice won the singles title at the U.S. Championships, the second time in 1945 at 32. She was the second mother to have won the title, Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman being the first.
Palfrey won 16 Grand Slam championships in women's doubles and mixed doubles. She teamed with Betty Nuthall Shoemaker to win the 1930 U.S. Championships and with Helen Jacobs to win the 1932, 1934, and 1935 championships. Palfrey and Alice Marble won the U.S. Championships 1937–40. At Wimbledon, Palfrey and Marble won the 1938 and 1939 women's doubles championship. Palfrey's final U.S. women's doubles championship was in 1941 with Margaret Osborne duPont. Palfrey and Marble were undefeated in doubles for four years (1937-40). In 1947, Palfrey turned professional and went on a tour of one-night stands with Betz Addie, who lost her amateur status because the USLTA charged her with inquiring about the possibility of creating a tour for professionals. 

Nan Woodin (with feathered hat) presents the Woodin Gold
Cups in 1939 to Alice Marble (Doubles and Singles Winner).
Sarah Palfrey Fabyan (Doubles Winner) is not in photo.
Helen Jacobs, in photo, won in 1932. Marble and Jacobs were
both Grand Slam winners. EH Star photo, published 1944.
Palfrey reached a career high of World No. 4 in 1934 and  was included in the year-end Top Ten rankings issued by the USLTA, in 1929-31, 1933-41, and 1945. She was the top-ranked U.S. player in 1941 and 1945. Palfrey was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1963. In mixed doubles, Palfrey teamed with four different partners to win the U.S. Championships. Palfrey also won the mixed doubles title at the 1939 French Championships, teaming with her future husband Elwood Cooke.

She was married three times–to Marshal Fabyan, Elwood Cooke (one daughter) and Jerome Alan Danzig (one son). She died of lung cancer in 1996.

Her brother, atomic-energy expert and skilled tennis player John Palfrey,  married Belle "Clochette" Roosevelt, one of five granddaughters of Teddy Roosevelt, all of whom excelled at tennis.

Winners of the Woodin Gold Cup, 1926-1955

The Gold Cup could be kept if a player won it three times. According to Will Woodin's descendants, at least one early winner refused to accept the Cup, in order to allow the competition to continue. However, the record shows that there was no three-time winner until 1949, when Louise Brough walked away with two of the three cups and Margaret Osborne dePont took the third. However, players may have decided not to compete a third time to win, so as to keep the cups in play. Winners of the Woodin Gold Cups invitational were as follows:

Ladies Singles:
1926 Helen Wills (Grand Slam winner)
1927 Molla Mallory (Grand Slam winner)
1928 Helen Wills [later Moody]
1929 D.C. Shepherd-Barron
1930 Marjorie Morrill
1931 Madge Gladman Van Run
1932 Helen Jacobs (Grand Slam winner)
1933 Betty Nuthall
1934 Dorothy Andrus
1935 Ethel B. Arnold
1936 Gracyn Wheeler
1937 J. Jedrzejoyski
1938 Barbara Winslow
1939 Alice Marble (Grand Slam winner)
1940 Dorothy Bundy
1941 Pauline Betz
1942 A. Louise Brough
1943-44 No Tournament
1945 Sarah P. Cooke
1946 Shirley Fry
1947 Shirley Fry
1948 A. Louise Brough
1949 A. Louise Brough (third time; took home the cup)
1950 Beverly Baker
1951 Patricia Todd
1952 Shirley Fry (third time)
1953 Angela Mortimer
1954 A. Louise Brough
1955 Darlene Hard (Barbara Breit was runner-up)

Ladies Doubles
1926 Molla Mallory and Mary Brown
1927 Helen Wills [later Moody] and Eleanor Goss
1928 Helen Wills [later Moody] and Penelope Anderson
1929 Helen Wills [later Moody] (third time winner) and Edith Cross
1930 Madge Gladman and Josephine Cruikshank
1931 Betty Nuthall and Phylis Mudford
1932 Helen Jacobs and Sarah Palfrey 
1933 Elizabeth Ryan and Peggy Scriven
1934 Carolin Babcock and Dorothy B. Andrus
1935 Marjorie Van Ryn and Sarah Palfrey Fabyan 
1936 Dorothy B. Andrus and Sylvie Henrotin
1937 Dorothy B. Andrus (third time) and Sylvie Henrotin
1938 Dorothy Bundy and Dorothy Workman  
1939 Alice Marble and Sarah Palfrey Fabyan (third time) 
1940 Dorothy Bundy and Marjorie Van Ryn
1941 Sarah Cooke and Margaret Osborne [later duPont]
1942 A. Louise Brough and Margaret Osborne [later duPont]
1943-44 No Tournament
1945 Barbara Krase and Patricia C. Todd
1946 Shirley Fry and Barbara Krase
1947 Shirley Fry and Barbara Krase (third time)
1948 A. Louise Brough and Margaret Osborne duPont
1949 A. Louise Brough and Margaret Osborne duPont (third time together)
1950 Shirley Fry (third time) and Patricia Todd
1951 Patricia Todd (third time) and Betty Rosenquest
1952 Doris Hart and Shirley Fry
1953 Maureen Connolly and Julia Sampson
1954 Helen Fletcher and Ann Shilcock
1955 Patricia Ward and Shirley Bloomer

Last Two Years of the Cup–The Althea Gibson Story

Tennis champ Althea Gibson of Harlem got a boost from the Woodin Cup, but not by winning it or even playing in the tournament. She was not invited to compete for the Woodin Cup in 1954 because she was black, which may seem astonishing in 2016 when the United States has a black president and the Williams sisters have been winning tournaments for years. On the other hand, it has been noted that:
  • Several Maidstone members publicly supported her participation,
  • She was invited to stay at the homes of several members and 
  • Prior Woodin Cup winners Palfrey and Marble and others lobbied the USLTA to remove the color bar and allow Gibson to play at heretofore whites-only tournaments beginning in 1950.  "She [Palfrey] … got Althea into the U.S. Championships in 1950," said Gladys Heldman, founder of the Women's Professional Tennis Tour. 
  • Gibson went on to play in the Philadelphia portion of the tennis circuit and won at Wimbledon and in the U.S. Championships in 1957 and 1958. 
Woodin Gold Cup, 1954 (EH Star), with Mary
Woodin Miner presiding in what was 
the second-to-last year of the event.
Edward T. (“Ned”) Chase, a long-time Tennis Week senior contributing writer, wrote about this episode. A 1941 Princeton graduate, Chase served as a Naval lieutenant during World War II. At Tennis Week he was expert at comparing the game's greatest players. He also played tennis well, winning in three straight sets against then-Wimbledon champion Maureen Connolly on Maidstone's grass courts. Chase was survived by his wife of 56 years, Ethelyn Atha Chase, two daughters and two sons, one of them being famed Cornelius Crane “Chevy” Chase. Ned Chase passed away at 86 in New York on June 9, 2005 after a long illness. 

The Rising Cost of the Woodin Cup, 1950s

The tournament was discontinued during the war years of 1943 and 1944, but resumed in 1945.  Permanent possession of the gold cups was retired in 1949, after 22 years of competition, to Margaret Osborne duPont and Louise Brough (who took home the singles cup and doubles cup, and willed both of them to the International Tennis Hall of Fame). 

The invitational tournament was continued from 1950 to 1955 by Mary Woodin Miner and other members of the Woodin family who presented new cups of silver to the Club. 

However, the Maidstone Club Tennis Committee informed the Board of Governors that the Invitational had lost some of its purpose and had become too expensive:
  • Originally the tournament had been one of the most important in the country, counting in the national ranking of leading players, but this was no longer the case.
  • It had become difficult to attract top-ranking players to the tournament since the only open date left too little time before the national championship at Forest Hills.  
  • Ranking players felt constrained to play only in ranking tournaments, which had become too expensive an undertaking for Maidstone. 
This version of the story of the end of the cup is not inconsistent with Ned Chase's version.

Postscript: When Anne Harvey Gerli, Will Woodin's sole surviving granddaughter, died in 2016, her three daughters donated new silver tennis cups in her name, for intramural women's doubles tennis.

Sources: Fifty Years of the Maidstone Club, East Hampton Star (multiple dates), Colleen Kennedy, Tennis Week.  Related Posts:  Maidstone Woodin Cups 1955 . Life of Will Woodin

Monday, September 5, 2016

STARS AND STRIPES | Sept. 3–Flown First Time in Battle (Comment)

"Betsy Ross" flag with a circle of five-
pointed stars in the canton.
In 1877 the Stars and Stripes are flown in battle for the first time, during a skirmish at Cooch’s Bridge, Maryland. They were in the form attributed to Betsy Ross – a circle of 13 five-pointed stars on a blue canton, on a field of 13 red-and-white stripes.

The Continental Army's General William Maxwell ordered the stars and stripes raised as a detachment of his infantry and cavalry met an advance guard of British and Hessian troops. Maxwell's troops were forced to retreat to General George Washington’s main force near Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania.

Three months before, on June 14, General Washington brought to the Continental Congress a resolution:
[T]he flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white [and]... the Union [canton] be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.
This national flag became known as the “Stars and Stripes". The stripes were based on the Grand Union flag, a banner carried by the Continental Army in 1776 that also consisted of 13 alternating red and white stripes with a Union Jack in the canton.

Hopkinson Flag, with six-
pointed stars in the canton.
Francis Hopkinson is credited with having designed a stars-and-stripes flag before Betsy Ross. His flag, however, had six-pointed stars, based on a surviving sketch of his flag using asopetrisks with six points. This followed his designs for the Great Seal of the United States and his design for the Admiralty Board Seal, which used six-pointed stars.

The five-pointed stars are credited by legend to Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross, who argued for the five-pointed star as easier to cut. She is also credited with designing the canton as a circle of 13 stars on a blue background, at the request of General Washington. The legend of Betsy Ross as the designer of the first flag appeared at the time of the 1876 centennial celebrations through the work of her grandson, William Canby.  Historians have been unable to prove or disprove the legend, so it persists.

On June 14, 1877, the first Flag Day was held on the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes.


My suspicion is that the Betsy Ross legend, which pivots around the idea that it is easier to cut a five-pointed star than a six-pointed star, was used as misdirection to avoid focus on the real reason for using five-pointed stars on the American flag rather than six-pointed ones. The details of folding fabric in such a way as to cut a star with a single cut make it hard to believe that this was a determining factor. My educated guess is that the fans of George Washington wanted to reflect his family arms (three red five-pointed stars above three red-and-white stripes, as in the flag of the District of Columbia) in the national flag, and the Betsy Ross story was useful in explaining why five-pointed stars were used instead of the more usual six-pointed stars. Washington himself made a great effort to avoid the cult of personality, but at the same time he took huge pride in his family's ancestry and its coat of arms dating back to the Battle of Crécy (1346), in Normandy.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

EAST HAMPTON | Award to Herb Field, Sage of Springs

Councilman Fred Overton presents Proclamation to
Herb Field at Ashawagh Hall. Photo by JT Marlin.
Sep 4, 2016—Herbert Edwards (Herb) Field, the Sage of Springs, has received another well-earned award.

At the recent meeting of the Springs Community Advisory Council in Ashawagh Hall, Councilman Fred Overton presented him with a Proclamation testifying to his contributions to the Springs community.  

The Proclamation.
Overton's presentation was by the authority and on behalf of the East Hampton Town's Supervisor, Larry Cantwell.

At the presentation, the crowd attending the meeting gave Herb a standing ovation for his contributions to his country and his community. 

The citation, signed August 22 by Supervisor Cantwell, proclaims that Herbert Edwards (Herb) Field was born at Franklin Farm on August 3, 1924 to Herbert Stone Field and his wife Abigail Rebecca, née Edwards. 

Herb Field with Tina Piette (L) and yours
truly. Photo by Dr Carter Dodge.
Herb enlisted in the U.S. Navy in April 1943 and was honorably discharged on December 18, 1945. He was sent on tours in the Pacific, Europe and the Americas. 

After his military service he managed Sylvester Prime’s farm on Shelter Island and then in 1949 moved to Morrisville, N.Y., where he purchased and managed wo dairy farms covering 316 acres.

After 15 years upstate, he purchased the Baker and Baker dairy farm in Amagansett and lives there today.


Herb regularly attends the Springs Community Presbyterian Church and sits consistently in the second row behind the organ donated by Robert Mulford.

Herb (L) with Dr Carter Dodge.
Photo by JT Marlin.
When I first came to Springs in 1981 as a seasonal visitor, I was invited to join the Men of Springs, a church-related activity. My wife Alice Tepper Marlin was dubious about whether I should get involved in something macho like that until she found out that what the Men of Springs did was cook and serve  community dinners.

Eventually the men of the Men of Springs one by one died or left town, and the annual chicken dinner had to depend primarily, like so much else, on the hard-working women of the church. Herb may be the last of the men of the Men of Springs who were there when I arrived in 1981.

Herb has earned the title of Sage of Springs because he knows more about the history of Springs than anyone else.

For example, he remembers when Supervisor Larry Cantwell "was in short pants." Over the years Herb has told me more truly funny stories than I can count. He has a keen understanding of farming, milling and human nature. Long may he live!

The Springs Community Advisory Committee members are:

1. Loring Bolger, Chair 2. Ira Barocas 3. Pamela Bicket 4. David Buda
5. Carole Campolo 6. Zachary Cohen 7. Katherine Reid
8. Reg Cornelia 9. Amos Goodman 10. Phyllis Italiano 11. Howard Lebwith 
12. Brad Loewen 13.Tina Piette 14. Ginny Rizzardi 15.Betsy Ruth  16. Pat Brabant
17. Judy Freeman 18. Connie Kenny 19. Tina Plesset
20. Jurdy Grodin 21. Cile Downs 22. Michael Antonelle
23. Mary Beth LaPenna 24. Debra Foster 25. Rita Wassermann 26. Susan Harder

Monday, August 22, 2016

YOUNG AMERICA | Aug. 22–The British Land on Long Island

After landing on Long Island, the British pursued
the Continental Army at a slow pace, strung out across
the East Coast. On Dec. 25, Washington struck back.
This day in 1776, after the Declaration of Independence in July, the British army under Gen. Sir William Howe landed 24,000 men on Long Island–in what is now Brooklyn. The rebellion began in April 1775 at Lexington and Concord.

The British plan was to end the war by capturing New York City and controlling the Hudson River, splitting apart the rebel colonies. This plan to take New York City succeeded, but the underlying plan to defeat the rebellion failed.

Howe misjudged the resentment of the rebels and their determination to be independent, much as a dog-owner misjudges a pet that has tasted independence and doesn't follow its master's commands any more.

Five days after landing, on August 27, Howe's troops marched against the "rebels"–from the American perspective, the Patriots–ensconced in Brooklyn Heights. They first overcame the Patriots defending Gowanus Pass and then outflanked the Continental Army. The Patriots suffered 1,000 casualties; the British lost only 400.  This was the greatest battle of the war. After this, General Washington avoided direct confrontation, playing the Scottish "secret war" that won against Edward I and Edward II, a defensive game, attacking only relatively small British contingents. Washington surely learned about this game when he was a colonel serving loyally under unpopular General Edward Braddock in the French and Indian War.

Ignoring staff advice, Howe opted not to pursue the Patriots to Brooklyn Heights, where he might have captured General Washington and his senior command, executed them as rebels and probably ended the rebellion. British General William Howe and his brother Admiral Richard Howe believed their Mission was Accomplished and that General Washington or the Congress would surrender.

On September 11, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and other congressional representatives did reopen negotiations with the Howes. But after a couple of meetings the British refused to accept the non-negotiable demand for American independence and the congressional team went home.

The delays meanwhile gave General Washington and his troops time to retreat by boat to Manhattan under cover of darkness and fog. By the time the British army went back to work and captured New York City on September 15,  Washington and his men were on their way first north to White Plains and then across the Hudson to New Jersey. After many skirmishes in New Jersey, the Continental Army retreated to Pennsylvania.

NYC would remain in British hands until the end of the war. But on Christmas Day 1776, Washington led a bold counter-attack, recrossing the Delaware River above Trenton, and the Continental Army drove the British out of New Jersey. The war ended in Britain's defeat in 1781.

Friday, August 19, 2016

ART BIZ | Aug. 11–Pollock Died 60 Years Ago

Pollock and Kligman.
Jackson Pollock died at 10:15 pm 60 years ago on August 11, 1956, in East Hampton Town not far from where we spend our summers. It was on Springs Fireplace Road at a still-dangerous area, where several factors contribute to accidents:
  • After a long straight stretch from East Hampton Village, a bend in the road.
  • An intersection on the bend with Woodbine Drive, with an exit that descends steeply and ends, depositing drivers on the main road. For those unfamiliar with this intersection, it can be scary to approach from any direction.
  • In the midst of this confusion, the county (concrete) section of Springs Fireplace Road ends, and the town-maintained asphalt road begins, with two small roads going off to the right.
  • Several roads come together at the next intersection, also busy, at the Barnes General Store, one entering Springs Fireplace Road from the Springs School and another exiting left to a much-used residential road.
The number of fatalities in East Hampton that weekend 60 years ago was very high, 10 people, of whom two were Pollock and one of his two female passengers. Fatalities remain high today for a small resort community (with single-lane highways for most of their length), despite serious  enforcement of DWI laws.

Pollock had some successes in the year 1953, but then relapsed into depression driven by:
  • His wife Lee Krasner's complaints about his excessive consumption of alcohol and his little-concealed affair with NYC art student Ruth Kligman. 
  • Pollock also became depressed about frequently quoted art critics who explained his avant-garde abstract painting as a coverup of his bad drawing. At one point Pollock was feeling so uninspired that he seemed to agree with his critics: "Do you think I would have painted this crap if I knew how to draw a hand?"
Kligman, who was dubbed the "death-car girl", survived the accident. The person she invited to come with her to East Hampton, and was killed along with Pollock in the accident, was a receptionist in the New York City beauty salon that Kligman frequented. After Pollock's death Kligman began spending time with Pollock's rival Willem de Kooning, who lived on Woodbine Road.

In subsequent years there was a huge brouhaha over the provenance and authenticity of a painting called Red, Black and Silver that Kligman and others maintain was by Pollock, while others, including Krasner, aver is a fake. The story is valuable as a case history of how personal relationships and provenance affect the valuation of a piece of art. Another one in East Hampton has recently surfaced.

Posts about the ART BIZ:

HITLER | Aug. 19–Elected President and Führer

Hitler Feigns Respect for President von Hindenburg,
who dies later that day (August 2, 1934).
Already appointed Chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler on this day in 1934 is elected President. Holding both offices, he no longer had any constraint and Hitler's dictatorship was in place.

How Hitler Became Chancellor

Since Germany was a strong democracy in the 1920s and marginalized Hitler, it is worth dissecting the steps by which the democracy was given up:
  • Hitler had already exploited the loss of German face under the Treaty of Versailles. Now he used the Crash of 1929 as a means for further attacking the Weimar Republic for failing to protect the German people from the Crash and subsequent Depression. Hitler won financial backing from business leaders, to whom Nazis leaders promised to break the German labor unions. 
  • The crisis of capitalism created an opportunity for Hitler to appeal to the public for a better deal. In 1930 Hitler's support jumped to 18 percent of the German vote, six million votes, making the Nazis Germany's second-largest party. 
  • In 1932, an anti-Nazi coalition tried to make sure that the Nazis lost votes in the election contest for President of Germany between Paul von Hindenburg (84) and Hitler.  But the Nazi share grew to 37 percent. Although von Hindenburg was reelected, he was afraid of the growth of the Nazis.
  • In January 1933, von Hindenburg–although he despised Adolf Hitler–sought to control Hitler by appointing him as Germany's Chancellor.
How Hitler Became President as Well, and Führer

Hitler was the now chief executive of Germany, but was subject to the President, to whom the Germany Army reported. This constraint on his actions irritated Hitler and he went about eliminating it: 
  • In February 1933, the burning of the Reichstag building, where the parliament met, gave Hitler the opportunity to call for another election. This time Nazi police under Hermann Göring intimidated Nazi opponents. But even so, the Nazis and their allies won only a bare majority.
  • Later in 1933, Hitler consolidated his dictatorial power through the Enabling Acts. He started arresting and executing political opponents, and even purged the Nazis’ own SA paramilitary organization in a successful effort to win support from the German army. 
  • August 2, 1934. Hitler visited President von Hindenburg to pay his respects.  A few hours later, von Hindenburg died. 
  • After von Hindenburg's death, Hitler purged the Nazi Brown Shirts, his own storm troopers.
  • On August 9, 1934, a plebiscite vote was held on August 19. Intimidation, admiration of job growth under Hitler, and fear of Communists, brought Hitler a 90 percent majority. Hitler decided to unite the chancellorship and presidency under the new title of Führer. He now controlled the army. His dictatorship was solidly in place.