Saturday, October 6, 2018

PORTSMOUTH ABBEY '58 | NY Yacht Club Dinner in Newport; then Clambake Lunch

At the Harbour Court of the NY Yacht Club in Newport. Seated, L to R: Denis Ambrose '58, John Hayes '58, Fred Torphy '58, John Tepper Marlin '58, Ramón Ferreyros '58. Standing, L to R: Jeanne Geddes, Alice Tepper Marlin, Hugh Ballantyne '58, Malena Lazo De La Vega, Carlos Cleary.
Friday evening, September 28, after lunch at the Castle Hill Inn and a tour of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, the Portsmouth Class of 1958 had dinner at the Harbour Court of the NY Yacht Club, also in Newport. We ate in the mansion's original dining room.

Classmate John Hayes surprised us by bringing us a gift of five bottles of two outstanding vintages from Montrachet vineyards in France that he owns with a partner.

Montrachet is an Appellation d'origine contrôlée and Grand Cru vineyard for white wine made of Chardonnay grapes in the Côte de Beaune sub-region of Burgundy. It straddles the border between the two communes of Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet and produces what many consider the world's greatest dry white wine. Four other Grand Cru vineyards with Montrachet in their names are humbler neighbors. 
Le Montrachet (Chassagne side) and Montrachet (Puligny side).
The Montrachet vineyards are almost equally divided between Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet. Both appellations append the name of their most famous vineyard (in this case a shared one) to the name of their main village.

The Côte de Beaune is the southern half of the Côte d'Or, the most important of the wine-producing subregions of Burgundy.

John Hayes explained that the first wine was light, a consumer favorite–2009 Puligny-Montrachet, La Truffière, 1er cru by Bruno Colin. Here's a collection of tasting reviews, all in the 90s out of 100.

The second was the local vintners' favorite–2008 Chassagne Montrachet, Clos St. Jean, 1er cru by Alex Gambal. Look it up online–you can't buy it on the sites I found, because it is sold out.

Having read what I wrote above, John sent me a followup note with more specifics about the Montrachet wines:
Montrachet is the famous vineyard that lies in both the towns of Chassagne Montrachet and Puligny Montrachet. The towns were formally Chassagne and Puligny and they affixed “Montrachet” to each for prestige purposes. 
The classifications for Burgundy are basically top to entry level: Grand Cru, Premier Cru (1er), Village and Bourgogne. The Grand Cru white wines are six: Montrachet, Batard Montrachet, Criots Batard Montrachet, Chevellier Montrachet, Bienvenue Batard Montrachet, contiguous and then Corton Charlemagne. We drank Premier Cru (1er) from Puligny Montrachet and Chassagne Montrachet. There are many premier Cru white and red wines in each town, as in most of the other towns in the Burgundy region. 
Both areas are the finest for white Burgundy wine. Five of the six Grand Cru white burgundy wines are from these two towns. Puligny is no way a lightweight. Truffière is rare, as the vineyard has less than 1 hectare of vineyards [that's 100m x100m=10,000 square meters, or 2.5 acres]. It’s a very special wine. Bruno Colin is from a family of winemakers many generations in the area.

The wine merchants sometimes say Puligny is for consumers and Chassagne for wine locals but you could argue that all day as they are both the best, just of a different style. I wasn’t referring to those two wines but to the areas.
Alex Gambal and I are partners in the winery in Beaune since 2003. He has come a long way and the wines are now even in Paris restaurants where Jeannie and I are about to go out to dinner.
The next day, Saturday, we were invited to attend classes at Portsmouth. I sat in on a course on American history and was there for the exciting bit when two lanterns were lit in Boston's Old North Church.

That was the signal for Paul Revere and a second rider to set off for Lexington and Concord to alert their militias that the redcoats were coming. The story was well told by the teacher, most of the students were engaged, and I was glad that the history of our country continues to be passed on to a new generation. 

Alice visited two classes and found the teaching of a course on religious history (St. Augustine and the Manichaean heresy) to be exceptionally well explained to students who were moderately engaged, while students in a class on Moby Dick were highly engaged even though (or because?) the teacher was less intensely concerned that the students "get" everything. Two classes, two styles.

We then had a clambake lunch with fine lobsters and other New England specialties. Six of us were snapped after lunch in the photo below.
Six of us at the clambake. L to R: John Tepper Marlin '58, Carlos Cleary (son of
George Cleary '58 who was in Venezuela and unable to obtain a visa to come),
Denis Ambrose '58, Ramon Ferreyros '58, John Hayes '58, and Fred Torphy '58.
Looking back at the 50th Reunion, here are some photos I took of that event (sorry, I didn't put in Guerrero's first name because I wasn't sure whether to use a W or a V; see note following):

Vladimir Guerrero sent a note to me explaining why he was unable to attend the 60th reunion. He said: 
Attached is a picture taken last week of my wife Deirdre and I showing off our culinary skills at a reunion of French and Norwegian friends on the coast. Please give my regards to those present, especially Ramón Ferreyros (the formidable fullback of the undefeated soccer team) and John Hayes (one of the pirates who took the “Ondine” to Providence the night before graduation). I hope you all have a great weekend. – Vladimir (Wlachy)
Here is the photo, much the worse for having been emailed and Screen Shotted:
Deirdre and Wlachy Guerrero, 2018.

THE FIRST-EVER MOVIE | 1889 (October 6)

Thomas Edison examines his film.
EAST HAMPTON, October 6, 2018–It's worth pausing during the Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF), taking place October 5-8 this year, to remember the first movie. 

It was 130 years ago today that Thomas Edison showed the first movie, on October 6, 1889.  It was called Monkeyshines No. 1.

It was the first moving picture, although a British photographer eleven years earlier had shown that pictures of a horse viewed in sequence gave the appearance of motion.

For a short film on the beginnings of modern movies, go here:

Edison's other inventions included the phonograph, the electric light bulb and the electric power industry.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

THE WOODIN CUPS | Where the Trophies Are Now

Alice Tepper Marlin with the Woodin Singles
Cup. To handle the solid-gold cup, you must
wear cloth gloves. Photos by JT Marlin. Thanks
to the ITHF for permission to photograph.

NEWPORT, R.I., September 29, 2018 – Yesterday, after lunch at Castle Hill, Alice and I visited the International Tennis Hall of Fame with classmates.

We went on a one-hour tour that we arranged for Portsmouth Abbey School alumni attending our 60th reunion.

The tour was ably led by the ITHF docent Liz, who was a fount of information about tennis history. 

The ITHF wisely encourages photos (how else can people learn what a great place it is to visit?), but does not allow use of flash or the taking of videos.

Our docent  Liz, in front of a case
of ancient cans of tennis balls.
By special appointment, after the tour, Alice and I were taken to a secure location where we were shown the Woodin Gold Cups, awarded in 1926-1949 by the Maidstone Club, East Hampton, N.Y., in an annual invitational tournament for women. 

I've been eager to visit the Hall of Fame since 2016, when I first wrote about the Woodin Cups (

These cups were of enormous significance in making a move toward equalizing the women's tennis tournaments to the men's tournaments in the 1920s and 1930s. They were the only solid-gold cups offered as prizes in any tennis tournament, men's or women's. 
L to R: The smaller Woodin Doubles Cup is one of two,
each valued in 1926 at $2,000 ($30,000 today). The
larger Singles Cup may be worth $100,000.

The pineapple-topped Wimbledon gold cups for men, for example, are not solid gold–they are sterling-silver cups with gilding. Women get sterling-silver plates that have some gilding.

In the photo that leads off this post, Alice Tepper Marlin shows the gorgeous gold cup with a portrait of William McChesney Martin in the background. 

It is highly appropriate because when Will Woodin became Secretary of the Treasury in 1933 under FDR, he was also ex officio Chairman of the Federal Reserve System. This was Martin's position (by appointment, not ex officio; the law was changed) when I was an economist at the Fed in Washington in 1964-66. 

Martin became Honorary Chairman of the ITHF. He was married to Cynthia, daughter of Dwight Davis, founder of the Davis Cup, which was the first major international tennis cup.
Childe Hassam's art work followed the
Woodin Cup competitions. Source: ITHF.

Under the challenge-cup terms of the Woodin Cup, it was loaned to the victors for a year. There would be three winners each year, one singles winner and two doubles winners (duh!).

When it was won three times (by the same two doubles players, in the case of the doubles cup), the cup became the property of the winner.

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".

Helen Wills Sketch, 1924.
Source: ITHF.
Famed artist Childe Hassam made many sketches of Helen Wills Moody. Three of them are in the ITHF. Two of them are shown here.

In 1949 Louise Brough won both the Singles and the Doubles cups for the third time (with the same doubles partner, although her name changed with her marriage between the first and second tournaments). 

By the terms of Brough's will, these two Woodin Cups were donated to the Hall of Fame after her death. If the Hall of Fame ever falls on hard times, they might sell one of the cups back to the Maidstone Club (the Woodin Cups are brought out only occasionally for special exhibits).
Helen Wills Sketch, 1926.
Source: ITHF.

After 1949, the gold Woodin Cups were replaced by three silver ones by Will and Nan Woodin's daughter, Anne Woodin Miner. The silver invitational Woodin Cups were presented annually until 1955, with Anne Miner's son Charlie and her daughter-in-law Maisie taking over for her along with their fellow Maidstone member and cousin Anne Gerli. Maisie was born Mae Hoffman in Charlotte, North Carolina.

By then, Althea Gibson became a leading player. The only comparable U.S. predecessor in breaking the color bar in spectator sports was Jackie Robinson in baseball. Gibson was not invited to play at Maidstone, although many members favored inviting her and some offered to provide her with a place to stay in their home. 

The intra-club controversy over inviting her, combined with the growing cost to the Maidstone Club of remaining in the fast-growing professional tennis circuit, ended the Maidstone invitational tournament for women.
International Tennis Hall of Fame Inductee (1973) Althea Gibson. This was a
major break through the spectator-sports color bar, 1951-57. Source: ITHF.

Althea Gibson went on to win the major U.S. and British women's tennis tournaments, but quit tennis for golf because she was not earning enough money from her tennis to pay her bills. 

Women's Tennis Costumes on Display at the ITHF.
The one in front looks like a ballet dancer's tutu.
That was because women's professional tennis took years to shed the stigma of not being what you paid to watch. 

Yet  spectators unanimously hailed the diminution of the older women's tennis outfits (less is more), many of which in the earlier years of women's tennis were bizarre and are on display at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Gibson was successful in golf tournaments, but still not enough to live off year-round. She struggled to make ends meet to the end of her life and her friends periodically took up collections for her.

Meanwhile, following the death of Woodin's granddaughter Anne Gerli in 2016, the Maidstone Club reinstituted cups for women's tennis, after a hiatus of many decades. Three new silver cups were donated by Gerli's three daughters for intramural women's tennis at Maidstone (

(The content of this post will be part of a forthcoming biography of William H. Woodin and his family as well as other possible publications. The text and personal photos for the book copyright © 2013-2018 and earlier by John Tepper Marlin. Please respect the rights of the author to the output of the thinking, time, and expense he has devoted to collecting this material for publication. Please only forward the link to this post and do not cut-and-paste blocks of material, which elimnates the source of the document. Pleae contact him if you have any wish for more information or would like to distribute this further.)

Friday, September 28, 2018

PORTSMOUTH ABBEY '58 | Day 1, Lunch at Castle Hill Inn

Entrance to the Castle Hill Inn, showing sculpture
and distant boat. Looking out to the Atlantic
Ocean, left. Photo by JT Marlin.
NEWPORT, R.I., September 29, 2018–The Portsmouth Abbey School Class of 1958 (or Portsmouth Priory, as we were known then) has started celebrating its 60th Reunion.

Our classmates this year include one who came from as far away as Peru, just for the event. (Three sets of Peruvian parents got together and decided to send their sons to Portsmouth 65 years ago.)

Within the United States, the classmates have come from Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania.

Yesterday, several of us had lunch together at the Lawn at Castle Hill, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of Narragansett Bay.

This peninsula of Castle Hill went through several metamorphoses:
Castle Hill faces Jamestown's two main
  • It began as a watch house in 1740 when England declared war on Spain.
  • In 1810 a Spanish brig was wrecked near Castle Hill after a storm.
  • The present house was built in 1874 for the scientist Alexander Agassiz. 
  • Three years later he outfitted the house with an advanced laboratory. This lab was in due course replaced by the lab at Wood's Hole.
  • Agassiz made his fortune turning around a nonperforming copper mine in Michigan, and used $1.5 million of it to fund a Museum at Harvard.
  • Looking across from Castle Hill
    to Jamestown. Photo by JT Marlin.
  • In the hurricane of 1938, Castle Hill became an island. The daughter-in-law of Agassiz panicked about the experience and sold the property.
Thornton Wilder was a frequent guest, who said of the bedroom where he stayed:
"From that magical room I could see at night the beacons of six lighthouses and hear the booming and chiming of as many sea buoys." (Theophilus North, Harper & Row).
Getting a head start on the Portsmouth Reunion, four members of the Class of 1958 and two spouses assembled for lunch at the Castle Hill Inn.

The youngest-looking of the group, Carlos Cleary, is the son of a classmate who could not attend, George Cleary. He is in Venezuela and was unable to leave.

Lunch at the Castle Hill Inn. L to R: Alice Tepper Marlin, John Tepper Marlin,
John Hayes III, Denis Ambrose, Jeanne Geddes, Carlos Cleary.

Later in the afternoon, the group went to for a tour of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

FILM | Hamptons International Film Festival, 5-8 October, 2018

East Hampton, September 23, 2018–Alice and I have signed up to see the following movies at the  Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF), 5-8 October. 

We are posting comments after we see the movies. So far, after seeing seven movies, we like Watergate, The Public, and And Breathe Normally, with 4/5 for each.  We think Ghost Fleet and Wild Nights with Emily are  worthy (3/5), but the biggest winners we think are Capernaum, followed by Above and Beyond: NASA's Journey to Tomorrow (both 5/5).

Friday 5 October

11:30 am Watergate, Guild Hall (both of us attended). Program (East Hampton Star), p. 28. One-time special presentation, 4 hours and 20 minutes including a 15-min. intermission. 2018. Director/Screenwriter Charles Ferguson. Interviewees: Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward, John McCain, Dan Rather, Elizabeth Holtzman, et al.
✭✭✭✭ (4/5, two votes) This was a four-hour (plus intermission), worthwhile movie. It is great to have the full record of this harrowing period of American history. I stayed awake through it all, but then I lived through it and knew the characters. As the movie graduates from a film festival's dedicated movie-goers to the broader movie-going public, it may be a challenge for those who know the names of only a a few of the charcaters. It might be cut in half, either by making it into a television mini-series or just chopping half of it and adding some more devices for keeping track of the plot and the characters. There are a hundred characters and we see some of them twice, from contemporaneous clips and then later, commenting on what happened more than 40 years ago. This is like a genealogy that takes us through several generations of intrigues and spans four presidential terms, two of them interrupted – JFK, JFK-LBJ, Nixon I and Nixon II-Ford. It explains well the connections between the Vietnam War moratorium, Watergate break-in, the Pentagon Papers, and other revelations that at first did not appear to relate to one another. It also explains well how Nixon got reelected, even after the Watergate break-in was public knowledge. In comparison with today's presidential crisis, in Nixon's day there was more consensus in Washington about how a President should behave. This movie would have a bigger audience if it was dramatized not just in pieces but the whole way through. Analogies are inescapable to contemporary investigations of White House actions. Charles Ferguson, the Director/Screenwriter, deserves credit for sticking to the actual words from the infamous tapes in his dramatizations. However, it might be hard to use this formula to turn the movie into a fully dramatized production.
5:15 pm The Public, United Artists Cinema, East Hampton, Theater 1 (John). Program, p. 22. East Coast Premiere. 2018. A library prepares to close on a wintry evening and homeless patrons refuse to leave. The police arrive in riot gear along with newspaper reporters. A standoff between haves and have-nots. A microcosm of Now. Director and Screenwriter is Emilio Estevez. Produced by him and three others. Cast includes him, Alec Baldwin, and four other actors. 119 minutes.
✭✭✭✭(4/5 one vote) The Public attempts the impossible, to portray in one Ohio library examples of what is wrong with America, the homelessness, hopelessness, and heedlessness, while offering a neat solution to wrap up the show. The confrontation between police and homeless is broken, not to spoil the ending, by the equivalent of a flower in the gun of the National Guard at Kent State. Good theater, some fine characters. Alec Baldwin makes a contribution to the evolution of the plot largely by being an influential, involved observer who is slow to act. There are a few threads that don't go anywhere but the overall effect is powerful.
6:00 pm Ghost Fleet, UA4 (Alice). Program, p. 44. 2018 documentary on slavery in the Thai fishing industry, featuring sailors who are children indentured for several years at sea. Some escape and are hunted. Human rights activists have sought to rescue them. Directed by Shannon Service and Jeffrey Waldron. 90 minutes.
✭✭✭ (3/5 one vote) Ghost Fleet shows how slavery and indentured servitude persist. Young people who are kidnapped or sold into slavery work on small Asian fishing boats that bring their catch to mother boats that provide them food in return. Some desperate indentured sailors jump off and live in the jungles, but mostly they have no choice. The challenges facing NGOs seeking to rescue them are acute. The people enslaved under horrendous work conditions and beaten mercilessly, often killed, were mostly in their 20s when ensnared. The focus is on heroic rescuers, who win a Nobel Peace Prize. Heartbreaking. Moves slowly, painfully. A fine portrayal of dreadful abuses of human rights; but in its documentary format the movie has trouble keeping the viewer's interest for 90 minutes. Another case where interest in the stories of the individuals in the movie is hard to sustain without more character development.
Saturday 6 October
1:30 pm The Hate U Give, Guild Hall (both of us got tickets and both of us decided not to use them). Program, p. 21. 2018 movie. 16-year-old black teenage girl is torn between middle-class school life and her working-class neighborhood. An encounter with the police forces her to make choices. Directed by George Tillman, Jr. Screenplay by Audrey Wells, based on novel by Angie Thomas. Four producers, six actors. 129 minutes.
(0 votes, Skipped by both of us.) We read some early reviews, which were neither damning nor excited. There are several movies attempting to do what this movie does, and the reviews clearly report that other ones do it better. We decided to save some of our waking hours...
4:30 pm Capernaum, UA2 (Alice). Program, p. 20. US Premiere, Arabic movie, 2018. In Beirut, 12-year-old Zain is abandoned and becomes sole caretaker of an abandoned toddler. In the movie he sues his parents for neglect. Sure to be talked about. Directed by Nadine Labaki, written by her and four other screenwriters. Five non-professional actors. 120 mins.
✭✭✭✭✭(5+/5, one vote). This is the best movie by far of the first four we have seen. It is the story of a young man in a desperately poor Arabic family. His pre-teen sister is being traded by his parents for some chickens so that they can survive on the eggs that the chickens will produce. The son works for money to migrate to Sweden. He is given charge of an infant. The story is billed as entirely true, with real people instead of actors. It reveals the desperations of all sides. Early on, we form critical views of many of the people in the movie. As we learn more, we realize how few choices they have. Evil is just another word for what you have to do to get by. Alice was blown away by this story. It gets every star, and then some. This movie deserves to be a runaway critical and box-office hit. (It is not giving away much of the story to say that the young man at the center of the story has succeeded in emigrating to Sweden.)
Sunday 7 October
10 am Above and Beyond: NASA's Journey to Tomorrow, UA2 (both). Program, p. 35. On the eve of its 60th Anniversary, Academy Award®-nominated director Rory Kennedy charts the history of The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with a look at its myriad contributions to space exploration and its continued work investigating the effects of climate change throughout the world. Touching on both the many epoch-defining moments created throughout NASA’s history and the intensely personal commitment required by the men and women who made them possible, Kennedy has crafted a consistently inspiring tribute to an organization that reminds us of the infinite reach of the human spirit.
✭✭✭✭✭(5/5, two votes). Another winner. The photography is stunning and the fact that some of the footage is moving makes it superior to the various Hubble picture books that are out there. It is not just beautiful but it contains several important messages without being unduly propagandistic:
  • NASA studies the air, land, and water. Its explorations in space have enabled it to improve its measurements to an extraordinary degree of precision and readability.
  • Its observations of planets that have died allows NASA to understand the life cycle of planets using measures such as carbon dioxide.
  • Through its understanding of the stars and planets, it is able to predict the future of the planet earth based on some key indicators such as the death of coral.
  • NASA has used the importance of water for life of any kind to look for hospitable planets, and finds planet earth is special in the Universe as a hospitable place for living creatures.
  • NASA's scientists are deeply concerned about the pace of climate change since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and the rapid increase in carbon dioxide during this period in parts per million (from 275 to 400).
The overall message is that NASA has a lot to say about climate change. While threatened cuts in the budget for NASA have not occurred, expenditures within the agency may be being politicized and the movie is a red flag about what NASA's contribution to the climate-change can be and should be. Rory Kennedy took questions from the audience after the movie. An important cinematic event, which will be broadcast on the Discovery Channel this Saturday, October 13.
4:45 pm Wild Nights with Emily, UA1 (both). Program, p. 49. Literary icon Emily Dickinson (Molly Shannon) breaks free from her public persona as a famously prudish spinster and claims her status as a vibrant lesbian hero. Balancing raucous humor with tender romance, Shannon establishes Dickinson as a spirited artist who drew inspiration from her passionate, lifelong affair with her secret lover, Susan Dickinson (Susan Ziegler). In the delightfully irreverent Wild Nights with Emily, writer/director Madeleine Olnek refreshingly upends the false narratives that have historically dominated the poet’s life and work, and examines the way we as a society choose to write and remember our powerful women. Starring: Molly Shannon, Amy Seimetz, Susan Ziegler, Brett Gelman, Jackie Monahan. Director and Writer: Madeleine Olnek. Length: 84 minutes.
✭✭✭ (3/5 average, two votes, 2/5 from Alice and 4/5 from John). The writer-director, Madeleine Olnek, spoke appealingly at the beginning and end of the movie about the break in the image of Emily Dickinson that her movie represents. But we must assess the movie on its own merits, not what the director said about it. Alice found its opening scene jarring, where Emily and her sister-in-law Susan Dickinson fall into each others' arms behind a sofa; she found a continuing disconnect between Emily Dickinson's sensitive poetry and the movie's slapstick comedy. John doesn't mind the slapstick but thought the evil character of Mabel Loomis Todd was annoyingly overplayed. (The most wholesome character in the movie was the young Emily.) Todd was genuinely committed to promotion of Emily Dickinson's poetry, even if she methodically sought to reduce the importance to the poet of her brother's wife Susan Dickinson by erasing Susan's name from the pencilled poems. The movie gives only back-handed credit to Todd for establishing Emily Dickinson posthumously as a poet of the first rank. The Dickinson Museum presents a more balanced view of Todd. Personally, I think that Mabel Loomis Todd and her Atlantic Monthly friend did make Emily Dickinson more acceptable for the audience of their time. And Madeleine Olnek did the best that she could to spice up Dickinson's life. She would have so much easier a time with Elizabeth Bishop and Edna St Vincent Millay, whose poetry was at least as popular and whose well-known sexual appetites were more consistent with slapstick humor. 
6:30 pm And Breathe Normally, UA3 (both). Program, p. 29. The disparate paths of a struggling Icelandic single mother and an asylum-seeking Guinea-Bissauan woman interweave in Ísold Uggadóttir’s award-winning first feature. Though they are initially divided by political and cultural discord, the two women gradually form an unlikely bond outside of the pre-ordained paths expected from their socio-political realities. Akin to the social-realist work of Ken Loach and the Dardennes Brothers, And Breathe Normally is a sharply observed and unsentimental exploration of the migration crisis, and confirms Uggadóttir’s status as a rising star of Icelandic cinema.
✭✭✭✭ (4/5, two votes) Another uplifting story, about someone regretting that her job as a newbie border officer on probation led her to mess up the life of a women passing through Iceland (not clear to either of us why she was in Iceland; possibly because of a cheap airline ticket). Both of the two mothers in the movie are desperate to get by. Their handling of the young boy and his cat is a study in itself. The border patrol officer pulls off a favor that offsets the misdeed that derails the African woman's life, without any apparent cost to her job. Appealing characters, believable interactions. Well acted. The problem for both of us viewers is that the plot depends on too many coincidences, and as they piled up, our credibility was not just suspended but was attached to a bungee cord. This movie should nonetheless get a following in art theaters and we are likely to see more work from the director.
Monday 8 October
1:30 pm Of Fathers and Sons, UA3 (John). Program, p. 29.
✭✭✭✭ (4/5, one vote) Another worthy movie.

BIRTH OF EDP | 1884 (September 23)

September 23, 2018–This day in 1884, the basic element of modern information technology was born, electronic data processing (EDP). 

Herman Hollerith patented his mechanical tabulating machine, the first EDP system. 

He created the machine to handle data-processing needs at the U.S. Census Bureau, where he began his career.

Hollerith printed the cards and sold them at a high markup. He also built the processing machines, which he leased to customers. A fine business model. 

The equipment was described as an "Electrical Counting Machine".

It took nearly 80 years for data processing to move beyond punched cards, and a century to make them obsolete. 

The Hollerith cards became the 128-column IBM punched cards, which were the early basis for data storage, retrieval, and transfer. Hollerith invented the first automatic card-feed mechanism and the first keypunch machine.

The 1890 Tabulator was hard-wired for processing Census data. His 1906 Tabulator simplified rewiring for different jobs. His 1920s improvements supported prewiring and fast job changing.

I can testify that Hollerith's punched cards were used as computer input and output for almost a century. When I started my career as an economist at the Federal Reserve Board in 1964, we used cumbersome mechanical calculators that took up one-quarter of the desk space. When I left the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1969, we were using the cumbersome IBM 360 machines, still using punched cards as one form of input.

A short video on the Hollerith card system is here:

In 1911 four corporations, including Hollerith's firm, were merged into a fifth company, the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR). Under the presidency of Thomas J. Watson, in 1924, CTR was renamed International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).  By 1933, Hollerith had died and the subsidiary companies were incorporated into IBM.

Here's a biography of Hollerith, who earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University School of Mines in 1990, when he was 30, and by then had already created a business based on his punched-card system:

Thursday, September 20, 2018

MUSIC | The Arts Center at Duck Creek, 2018

L to R: John Marcus, violin; Milos Repocky, 
piano; Ani Kalayjian, cello. August 2018. All
photos and video by JT Marlin.
September 20, 2018–The Arts Center at Duck Creek has joined Ashawagh Hall as a fine new place in Springs for music and art.

I have visited twice to hear chamber music in August and jazz earlier in September.

The Arts Center at Duck Creek is on a seven-acre property off Three Mile Harbor Road, on Squaw Road in Springs, in the Town of East Hampton.
Once a farm, now a community center.

The Duck Creek Farm was formerly owned by the former John Little, who lived there in 1948-1989. An abstract expressionist, he painted in his barn and invited artists to stay with him and do likewise. 

In 2005, East Hampton Town purchased the property with Community Preservation Fund money. A group called the John Little Society in 2013 began thinking about how to use the property to encourage the arts.

When I visited, the most visible member of the Society was Ira Barocas, who was solicitously ensuring that people had a place to sit, although those who attend the events are encouraged to bring their own chairs or blankets.

Jazz in September 2018.
Other members of the committee are Zach Cohen, chair of the town’s Nature Preserve Committee, architect Pamela Bicket, and Springs resident Loring Bolger, chair of the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee.

Bolger's niece, artist Sydney Albertini, in 2017 selected Duck Creek Farm as an exhibition space, part of a Parrish Art Museum road show. 

The Committee plans to partner with Peconic Historic Preservation, a tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation, to solicit tax-favored funds and they are forming an advisory committee to organize events such as small music and theater performances, and exhibitions of sculpture or art installations. 
Chamber music, August 2018.

The town plans to give Little’s barn a new roof and floor, and will fix its windows. The John Little Society will make other smaller repairs. Someone will also have to renovate Little's house, built in 1795. 

For more information on the Society and the Farm, visit or send an email to

Saturday, July 21, 2018

IRELAND | Randal "the Rover" in the West

 EAST HAMPTON, N.Y., July 21, 2018–I am corresponding with a writer in Dublin, Andrew Hughes, who is writing about "Beulah", the house we lived in for two years. 

It is a mansion on the Irish Sea, on Harbour Road in Dalkey. We had a glorious time there, although the house was old and was not kept up to standards to which it doubtless was used to enjoying in prior years.

I sent Andrew a link to a collection of my mother's 1954 letters that I put together. We were traveling during the Christmas and Easter vacations in a Volkswagen bus and went to France, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Andrew then sent me a link to this story about Randal in the Ballina Herald. 

We were all familiar with the headline–with its references to "Going East" and ""Randal the Rover". Yet it was good to see the actual story again after 64 years...

Monday, June 18, 2018

FATHER'S DAY 2018 | Chez Caroline

Daughter, Father and Watchdogs! L to R: (Rondo the Hero
Dog),Caroline, John (Dad) and Hachikō (not so much a hero,
but loving and cute). Photo by Alice Tepper Marlin.
Alice and I visited Caroline in Brooklyn yesterday evening for Father's Day with our faithful dog Hachikō.

The family went to The Finch in Brooklyn for a delicious dinner.

The Finch buys sustainably produced vegetables and meat from Local Bushel, where Caroline works.

Meanwhile, the two dogs kept each other company!

Friday, June 8, 2018

THEATER | "Fellow Travelers" Goes for the Jugular

Marilyn Monroe tries t bring Elia Kazan (L) and Arthur
Miller (R) back together. 
"Fellow Travelers" takes us back to the McCarthy era and the Hollywood black list.

Elia Kazan is shown turning in his former Communist Party associates so that the House Un-American Activities Committee will let him get on with his business.

Arthur Miller was less threatened by HUAC, and did not name any names. The two of them are disappointed in each other, and their friendship ended, although they continued to work together.

Marilyn Monroe is in the play as subplot and eye candy. Each man accuses the other of not caring enough when she died.

There are five other male parts (Hollywood mogul types) played well by two other actors.

The play opened at the Bay Street Theater and had a full house tonight. The review in 27East is on the mark. Good performances and direction. Deserves to open in New York City.

Monday, May 28, 2018

WELLESLEY '66 | At Agora Gallery to See Margret Carde's Art

Classmates assemble at home of Hachikō (fur ball far left) and Alice Tepper Marlin '66 (far right).
Photos by John Tepper Marlin, who sometimes writes about the #ArtBiz with that hashtag...
Wellesley is famed for its alumnae networking,
and the Class of 1966 is no slouch in that department.

Wellesley group in front of the Agora gallery.
Margret Carde, Wellesley '66, was one of the artists in the "Life Is But a Dream" Exhibition at the Agora Gallery at 530 West 25th Street.

This is near the High Line in the Chelsea area of New York City.

The show opened on May 22 and on Thursday May 24 had a reception for the New York City art community. The show continues through June 12, 2018.

The buzz at the gallery during the visit by the Wellesley class visit was voluble. The Thursday evening time slot is popular among the throngs of Chelsea gallery-trippers.
Margret peers out from among a group of
admirers of her art.

The Agora Gallery was founded in 1984 by an artist. 

It uses an innovative membership approach, allowing newcomers or mid-career artists access to the gallery scene in New York on a cooperative basis.

The membership revenue allows the gallery to require a lower sales commission on art than is currently asked by most upscale gallery owners in New York City.
Alice with Margret, in front of
one of Margret's paintings.

Margret says she creates her ephemeral, pastel-colored scenes inspired by her "emotional experiences and the thrill of viewing open land and sea."

After the gallery visit, the class group regrouped for dinner at the Red Cat Café, a block away on Tenth Avenue.

Other posts on the Wellesley College Class of 1966: Longhouse Reserve 2015. 50th Reunion 2016. Eclipse 2017.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

WALLY VAN HALL | Movie in English Now

Ben Boissevain (L), son of the late Thijs
Boissevain. John Tepper Marlin (R),
grandson of Olga Boissevain.
May 29, 2018 – Boissevain family members from the Charlestjes (John Tepper Marlin) and the Jantjes (Ben Boissevain) lines have been talking in East Hampton this Memorial Day weekend about the need for a movie about Wally van Hall in English.

(PS: October 21, 2018–It has happened. The Dutch movie about Wally van Hall is now available from Netflix with dubbed-in English. My wife Alice has watched it and says the dubbing is excellent. If you watch, please send your comments to me – john[at] It would still be good to have a Hollywood-level feature movie.)

Wally van Hall has become well known in Holland, because of several books about him, a documentary and now a feature film. But he is not known in the English-speaking world, which is a pity. He was a banker and a hero of the Dutch Resistance. It is a great story.

He has been called "The Banker of the the Resistance" and even "The Prime Minister of the Resistance" because Wally not only financed most of the Resistance work but used his financial leverage and personal charm to keep the various groups within the Resistance working together.

The following bio of Wally appears on the Resistance Museum website, no doubt tied in to the new movie in Dutch (English translation of the title: "Banker of the Resistance" or "Resistance Banker") about Wally van Hall. The trailer for the movie is here:

The link to the Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum) is at the end of this post. For more information, contact teppermarlin [at]

L to R: Tilly and Wally van Hall at
their Wedding.

Sixty-five years after the Liberation of Holland, Walraven (Wally) van Hall has been given a monument.

A bronze tree lies like a fallen giant opposite the Nederlandsche Bank in Amsterdam. In 1945 the young banker was acclaimed as a bridge builder and a leading figure in the Resistance. But the story of Wally van Hall was gradually forgotten.
Wally van Hall – code name Van Tuyl – was a co-founder of the bank of the Resistance, the Nationaal Steunfonds (National Assistance Fund) or NSF. Through illegal loans and a fraud involving millions at the central bank, the Nederlandsche Bank, the NSF was able to distribute over 83 million guilders  to victims of the Occupation and countless Resistance groups. This kind of organisation was unique in Europe in the Second World War. Wally was the undisputed leader of the NSF in the west of the Netherlands.

On 27 January 1945 Wally van Hall was arrested by the Germans. He was executed by firing squad in Haarlem on 12 February, three months before the Liberation.
Seaman, banker and father
Wally van Hall grew up in an Amsterdam family of bankers and directors. But he wanted something different. Wally went to sea. He became third mate on the ocean-going trade with NV Koninklijke Hollandsche Lloyd. In 1929 it was found that his eyesight was not good enough for work at sea. He had to stop peering at the horizon. He went to New York and became a banker after all.

On returning to the Netherlands he married Tilly den Tex, the love of his life. They had three children. In March 1940 he became a partner in the banking house Wed. J. te Veltrup & Zoon. When war broke out the young family were living in Zaandam. Almost every day Wally went to the Amsterdam stock exchange. There he made contacts for his work as the banker of the Resistance.
Running an illegal bank
The NSF was set up in 1943 when ever more money was needed for Resistance groups and to support thousands of people in hiding and other victims of the Occupation.

To keep the money flowing, Wally van Hall argued that in future only large amounts of at least 25,000 guilders should be borrowed. He hoped that this would also reduce the risk of being caught. For this reason he and his brother Gijs devised a system for the intricate web of illegal loans. All loans were administered in code.

On the expenditure side too, where there were the most NSF workers, everything was recorded in detail. Applications for assistance were checked. And all payments were registered, so that after the war they could be accounted for. 
The flow of money at the Nationaal Steunfonds
In the course of the war more and more money was needed to fund the Resistance. By May 1945 the NSF – the bank of the Resistance – had distributed over 83 million guilders to Resistance groups and many tens of thousands who needed help.

Hardly anyone knew where all that money came from. Income and expenditure were strictly separated, so that if one was discovered the other would not be endangered. Only Wally van Hall knew everything about both sides of ‘the bank’.  Together with his brother Gijs he ran the income department of the NSF, the Disconto Instituut.

Dispersed about the country there were 23 NSF districts, with district heads, cashiers, administrators and collecting clerks. They were mainly concerned with expenditure. All told, some 2,000 workers transported suitcases full of money, brought wage packets to homes, helped Resistance groups or did the bookkeeping.
Leading figures in the NSF 
The Nationaal Steunfonds (NSF) was founded in 1943 by Wally van Hall and Iman van den Bosch. They both worked for the Zeemanspot, a fund to help the wives of seamen run by Captain Abraham Philippo of Rotterdam. As the Resistance grew in 1943 and ever more people needed help, Wally van Hall and Iman van van den Bosch decided to extend their assistance.

The leading figures in the NSF were: Wally van Hall, Iman van den Bosch and A.J. Gelderblom. They held weekly meetings in Utrecht. Gijs van Hall played a vital role in the background as the financial adviser. He and his brother raised tens of millions for the NSF.
A monument to Wally
Wally van Hall was arrested by the Germans on 27 January 1945 on Leidsegracht in Amsterdam. At first they did not realise whom they had caught because they were looking for a certain Van Tuyl. But Wally was betrayed while in prison. On 12 February 1945 Wally van Hall was executed by firing squad on Jan Gijzenkade in Haarlem.

In March 1945 the Resistance newspaper Vrije Gedachten published an In Memoriam which described him as "one of the leaders of the Resistance whose authority was unchallenged."

Soon after the Liberation Walraven van Hall was reburied at the memorial cemetery in Bloemendaal. Now, 64 years after the Liberation, a  monument to him has been erected on Frederiksplein in Amsterdam. Read more.
After the war
Immediately after the war the process of clearing up all the wartime financial transactions began. Loans to the NSF were repaid by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the substitution of the fake treasury notes was set right.

After the war the NSF – now a foundation – still had 22 million guilders left in cash. This money was used to make financial contributions to the building of the National Monument on the Dam in Amsterdam and to the founding of the  Netherlands Institute for War Documentation. In 1953 the NSF Foundation was dissolved.
This bio, slightly edited, is from the Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum) in Amsterdam, near the ARTIS Zoo.

Friday, May 25, 2018

HERALDRY | Arms, Duchess of Sussex

May 25, 2018–The Duchess of  Sussex now has a coat of arms, created for her following her marriage to Prince Harry last week. 
The design was approved by The Queen and Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England.

Meaning The blue (azure) background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean by the California coast. The two golden (or) rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine of The Duchess’s home state and the three quills represent communication and the power of words. Beneath the shield on the grass are golden poppies, California’s state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace. Members of the Royal Family and their wives have have one of their spouse's  Supporters and one relating to themselves. The Supporter relating to The Duchess of Sussex is a songbird with wings elevated as if flying and an open beak, which with the quill represents the power of communication. The Coronet is laid down by a Royal Warrant of 1917 for the sons and daughters of the Heir Apparent. It is composed of two crosses patée, four fleurs-de-lys and two strawberry leaves. The arms of a married woman are shown with those of her husband and the technical term is that they are impaled, meaning placed side by side in the same shield.

Unusual Feature The decision to give Meghan Markle her own coat of arms breaks royal tradition as it is typically given to the father of the bride, but Thomas Markle was unable to give away his daughter at the May 19 wedding because of heart surgery. It also does not reference the Markle family name. (Her sister-in-law Duchess Kate's coat of arms referenced both the Middleton name and Kate's mother Carole's maiden name Goldsmith.

The Garter King of Arms said in summary: 
“The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design. Good heraldic design is nearly always simple and the Arms of The Duchess of Sussex stand well beside the historic beauty of the quartered British Royal Arms. Heraldry as a means of identification has flourished in Europe for almost nine hundred years and is associated with both individual people and great corporate bodies such as Cities, Universities and for instance the Livery Companies in the City of London.”