Boissevain News USA News about the Boissevain Family and Their Good Friends
Oct. 20 - Remembrances of HvS from her children added.
Sept. 5 - Two people added on home page - John E. Milholland and Willem van Stockum. More letters and summaries added.
Jan. 10. Posted Boissevain Family News 2012 from Aviva Boissevain in Amsterdam. We plan to continue to post any reasonable number of photos of Boissevain Family events.
Oct. 20. Added Remembrances on the occasion of the Fifth Anniversary of the Death of Hilda van Stockum, from the six children of HvS and Spike Marlin. Readers may add their own Fifth Anniversary remembrances atFacebookorLegacy.
Sept. 5. Recent additions: On the home page, John E. Milholland and Willem Jacob van Stockum were added in anticipation of biographies being written about them. Under Charles Boissevain, some photos were added. Letters by Hilda van Stockum have been added from the 1930s and 1940s along with summaries of some letters.
Inez Portrait Restored!
2011 - May 19. Sewall-Belmont House reopens; the restored painting of Inez Milholland Boissevain is unveiled in a new context, as the House becomes more of a Museum (with a Message).
Under co-chairs Al Boissevain and Allegra Milholland, the Committee raised $4,000 to restore the iconic portrait of Inez Milholland Boissevain in the main hall of theSewall-Belmont House and Museum.
For more information and photos on the transformation of the Sewall-Belmont House, click here.
2011 - April 16-17. Boissevain Family Reunion, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Organized by Aviva and Iaira Boissevain, daughters of Charles, the event was well attended. It included a dinner in Amsterdam on April 16 and a visit on April 17 to a local castle where a Boissevain-donated carillon was played by Aviva and a composer of carillon music. The 2006 Boissevain Family reunion was the ninth reunion. The 2011 reunion was the tenth.
2010 - April 18. Memorial Service for Donald M. Fisk, Westminster Church, Washington, DC. Don's widow Anna (Nan) is the daughter of Harry Boissevain. Harry's father was Walrave Boissevain, son of Charles Boissevain's older brother Jan.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, Nan and Don were close friends of Spike Marlin and Hilda van Stockum. Brigid Marlin also visited them. Don directed the productivity program at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which was well represented at the service by current employees. At the service, those attending were in a circle presided over by Nan's first son Harry (named after her father Harry Boissevain). Relatives, neighbors and friends spoke in turn of Don's commitment to hard work and quality and to his generous nature. The obituary in the Washington Post is below, as published April 4, 2010 announcing the service.
FISK - DONALD McKEE FISK On October 21, 2009 of Boulder, CO. Born in Hollywood, CA on October 26, 1932; he lived in the Washington, DC area for many years. Donald's education included Columbia University - PhD candidate; Columbia University, Graduate School of Business; University of Southern California, MS Economics and Fresno State University/Willamette College, BS Economics. He was an internationally recognized and published expert on government program evaluation. Established internationally recognized government productivity measures. Leading research performed at Urban Institute and US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consulting engagements with the governments of Australia, Mexico and Canada regarding standardization of government productivity measures. Director of Program Evaluation for San Diego County; worked in Paris, France at NATO while with Rand Corp. He is survived by his wife Anna C Fisk; sons Eric McKee Fisk and Harry Jan Scholten; daughters-in-law Heather Valentine and Michelle Burns; and grandchildren Ariel Scholten, Max Scholten, Elliott Fisk, Mya Valentine, Devry Niemetz and Kelsie Niemetz. Also survived by sibling Karolus Acheson Fisk and wife Martha Fisk. Memorial Service will be held April 18, 2010 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4001 I Street SW, Washington, DC 20024. www.legacy.com/obituaries/washingtonpost/obituary.aspx?n=donald-m-fisk&pid=141419878.
2010 - February. 150th Anniversary of Gustav Mahler's birth. (2011 will be 100th anniversary of his death.) Mahler was a family friend of the Boissevains. Charles Boissevain helped raise funds for the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Several Boissevains served on the Board, befriending Willem Mengelberg, the concertmaster who was a frequent conductor of Mahler's works. (The last three years of Mahler's life, 1908-1911, were spent in New York, with the Met and then the Philharmonic; Mahler had a lasting influence.)
The 150th anniversary of Gustav Mahler's birth is 2010 and the centenary of his death is 2011. Mahler has a huge following in the Netherlands, where he was born, of German-born parents. His work is constantly performed at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, which in 2010-2011 will perform all ten of his symphonies (including the last, unfinished, one). The New York Times on February 19, 2010 (p. C1) raved about the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's on-tour performance of Mahler's Third Symphony in Carnegie Hall, conducted by Mariss Jansons. "The Mahler Third," wrote Allan Kozinn, "a 100-minute work that demandas huge ensemble ... may be an ideal measure of an orchestra. Mahler meant it as a glorification of existence..." Kozinn summed up the Mahler performance as showing: "...beyond doubt that the orchestra is in magnificent shape."
Mahler's following in the Nethlerlands is connected with the Boissevain family. Charles Boissevain through his newspaper, the Allgemein Handelsblad, was a leader in raising funds for building the Concertgebouw in what was once a meadow. Family members were active on the Board in the early decades. In 1895 the Board hired Willem Mengelberg in 1895, and he remained the Concertgebouw's principal conductor for the next 50 years. Mengelberg met Mahler in 1902 and they and the Boissevain family became friends. A new book of Vestdijk's essays, Over Gustav Mahler, is prefaced by a narrative poem by Ramsey Nasr on Mahler's Fourth Symphony, "The Heavenly Life". When Han de Booij was a director of the Concertgebouw, he took some of the iconic photos of Mahler, one of which was featured on a Dutch postage stamp. Han's daughter, the late Engelien de Booij, said she frequently got calls asking for her father, "the photographer". Tom de Booij was involved in the publication of the new Mahler book. Mahler, Mengelberg and several Boissevain children are shown in a photo here.
Tom de Booij is the grandson of Henrik (Han) de Booij (1867-1964) and Hilda Boissevain de Booij (1877-1975) - or, in Dutch, Hilda de Booij-Boissevain (with the wife's maiden name at the end). Tom writes that he has put his grandfather Han's diary on his website, which is www.egoproject.nl/familiedebooij. He is also preparing papers for Amsterdam archives, which have a website, www.Stadsarchief.Amsterdam.nl. Under file number 1423, documents have been digitized - 12,000 pages of Han de Booij's diary. Tom also writes that he found in the archives of Engelien de Booij many original letters from Willem van Stockum, her cousin, during 1937, along with many copies of correspondence with Bram, Olga and Hilda van Stockum.
There is a photo of Jan Willem ans his son David on this page - scroll down to 2008 - October 8.
2010. Inez Milholland Boissevain and the 100th anniversary of the women's strike of 1909-1910.
Remembering Inez Milholland Boissevain in 1910: Since newspapers have been getting smaller, it may be no surprise that fewer anniversary events are being noted. One anniversary that has nearly slipped by unnoticed is the Women's Factory Workers Strike that started in 1909 and ended in February 1910, 100 years ago.
The strike was started over the atrocious conditions of female factory workers in New York City and Philadelphia. At the heart of it was little Local 25 of the ILGWU, which itself was just three years old. Local 25 started with barely 100 members in early 1909, and was living from hand to mouth. But the courage of the young Italian Catholic and Eastern European Jewish girls grew and they got the support of women who were better situated, people like Alva Belmont and Clara Lemlich and... Inez Milholland, who had just graduated from Vassar and was embarked on her law school courses at NYU (after having been accepted by the faculty of the Harvard Law School but then rejected by the administration on the grounds that she was a woman, as Phyllis Eckhaus wrote in an article for the November-December 1994 issue of Harvard Magazine).
Two books document the importance of the strike and the role that Inez Milholland played in support of it. The number of striking women swelled to the tens of thousands before ending in February 2010. The strike not only was crucial in establishing women in the U.S. labor movement, it emboldened the men's unions. One of the two books is by Joan Dash, "We Shall Not Be Moved: The Women's Factory Strike of 1909," Scholastic, 1996 (see mentions of Inez on eight different pages). The other is by Washington Post writer David von Drehle, "Triangle: The Fire that Changed America," Atlantic Monthly Press, 2009. The 99th anniversary of the Triangle Fire, which was located next door to the NYU building where Inez Milholland was studying law, is next month, on March 25.
Ironically, given the memories of labor conditions 100 years ago, a February 10 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (USDL-10-0170) reports that work stoppages (strikes or lockouts) have declined to a trickle. There were fewer work stoppages in the United States in 2009 than in any year since the statistical series began in 1947. In 2000-2009 there wree an average of approximately 20 major stoppages (involving at least 1,000 employees and last at leatst one shift) per year. This was down from 35 per year in the 1990s and 83 per year in the 1980s.
2010 - February 9. HvS Birthday. Praise for Pegeen from Sherry of Semicolon. Boissevain Books reprints Patsy and the Pup. How the British Government helped downed airmen in WWII (for fans of The Winged Watchman). Praise for Japanese translation of A Day on Skates.
Excerpts from a post by Sherry on Feb 9, 2010 on her blog Semicolon. <<Hilda van Stockum's book, A Day on Skates, won Newbery honors in 1935. Her aunt, the poet Edna St. VIncent Millay, wrote a preface to this story of a Dutch picnic, saying, "This is a book which mothers and fathers will sit up to finish, after the protesting child has been dragged firmly to bed." Ms. van Stockum wrote children's stories set in Ireland about the O'Sullivan family and set in the U.S. and Canada about the Mitchells, a family growing together and enduring the hardships of the homefront during World War II. Here's my review of Pegeen, one of the books in the O'Sullivan family series. I found the book at ratty old thrift store in Pasadena, and knowing nothing of the book or its author, I took a twenty-five cent chance. Good call.>>
2010 - January 10. 100th anniversary, Jefferson Market trial.
2009 - June. 100th anniversary of the graduation of Inez Milholland from Vassar.
According to the grandson of Inez's brother, in a conversation with John Tepper Marlin, the President of Vassar (James Monroe Taylor) said of Inez upon her graduation: "Wonderful girl. I'm glad she's gone."
The previous year, she had organized 40 Vassar undergraduates, some sympathetic professors and numerous outsiders in a graveyard celebration of the life of Susan B. Anthony, who died a few years earlier. She had engaged in other suffragist actions on campus that had received wide publicity.
2009 - May 1. Celebration of the suffragist hunger strike at the Lorton Workhouse in Lorton, Va.
A videotape of the event is posted at: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/1474276.Eleanor Clift talks until the 23-minute mark, referring several times to Inez Milholland Boissevain. Photos of the eventby Kathy Strauss are at
2009 - May 1 (Cont.) Turning Point Suffragist Celebration - Workhouse Arts Center Gallery - Lorton, VA.
Memorial for Imprisoned Suffragists
On May 1, 2009, a well-organized memorial was staged at the Workhouse Arts Center Gallery in Lorton, Va., where the suffragists who were arrested for picketing the White House were incarcerated.
The connection to the Boissevain family is that Inez Milholland Boissevain's death was the occasion for the a visit of a large deputation of suffragist women to the White House in January 1917. Woodrow Wilson had just been relected to his second term. Inez Milholland Boissevain died in November 1916, in Los Angeles, in the midst of the recount of the California vote. On December 25, 1916, she lay in state in the Capitol's Statuary Hall, the first woman in American history to be so honored.
Convinced that her death would soften the President's opposition to the Anthony Amendment, the women from the National Woman's Party called on President Wilson with hundreds of memorials for Inez from all over the United States.
Instead of showing sympathy, the President lectured the women on their ignorance of practical politics.
The women left seething with anger, regrouped across Lafayette Square at the headquarters of the NWP (it was then opposite the White House - it is now in the Sewall Belmont Building next the Hart Senate Office Building), and decided to start a nonstop picket outside the White House until the President changed his mind.
The most common sign seen in the photos of the picketers is: "Mr. President, How Long Must Women Wait for Liberty?" These were the last words of Inez before she collapsed onstage in Los Angeles.
Initially, the picketing was peaceful. But then the picketers were attacked. Police came and made arrests - hauling off not the attackers but the picketers! The women were taken to the Lorton Workhouse for Women in Virginia. They went on a hunger strike and were forcefed. When this news came out, it was indeed the "Turning Point" for public opinion, which turned sharply against Wilson (who was assumed to have acquiesced in the arrests and imprisonment). He soon changed his mind about supporting suffrage. He saved face by attributing his change of mind to the contribution of women to the war effort.
It was a matter of less than three years after Wilson's decision to throw his weight behind the Anthony Amendment before it was passed by Congress and was ratified in August 1920 as the 19th Amendment by the last of the three-fourths of states required by law. Tennessee was the capstone state.
2009 - May 1. Program at Lorton (Concl.)
Lorton Workhouse Program
Welcome - Natasha Barrett, Mistress of Ceremonies Keynote - Eleanor Clift Silent Sentinel Award - Presented by Jane E. George, incoming President of the League of Women Voters of Fairfax County and Jane Barker, Steering Committee Chair for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial. Awardee: Hon. Eleanor Holmes Norton. Turning Point Suffragist Memorial - John Houser, Manager, Occoquan Regional Park, Site of the Memorial
2009 - Feb. 14. Sacha Boissevain dies on Valentine's Day.
Sacha was the daughter of Menso Boissevain. She headed the KLM flight attendants' union and as a benefit upon retiurement received a lifetime ticket to travel on KLM on a space-available basis. She used the ticket to visit Hilda van Stockum and the Marlin family frequently. Photos of her and some concversations with her are provided below. She died three days after her birthday in 2009.
2009 - March 5. The Algemein Handelsblad Merges Again
The Handelsblad, which merged with the Rotterdam paper NRC to become NRC Handelsblad, has further merged with Het Parool, the World War II socialist newspaper.
2008 - December 12. From Olga
Today is Daddy's 14th Anniversary... his dies natalis, birthday into Heaven. I'm thinking a lot about him today, there with Mommy, Gerard, all our relatives, together with God and His angels and saints. Daddy was such a noble person. I'm sure he pleased God very much during his life on earth and will be enjoying his reward in Heaven. Apart from what I saw myself, I remember many stories that Mother told me about him.
Newly posted: Letters from Dorothy Day to HvS and HvS's Ireland-Europe Album, 1954. Dorothy Day describes the difficulties of earning a living as a writer and the constraints imposed on her and her daughter by the small living quarters they had. The Ireland-Europe album is a unique insight into a unique place and time, as HvS wrote back to her Irish friend Joan Dowling about bringing her children on a pilgimage around Europe to cathedrals and shrines.
2008 - March 20. Letter to HvS from Eleanor Roosevelt
Connecting with Frontier Women, USA, 1916 and 2008. Camille Paglia’s reference to the importance today of campaigners connecting with "frontier women" (see her essay in in Salon) rang a bell with me. My mother's aunt Inez Milholland died in 1916 trying to connect with frontier women in the run-up to the Suffrage Amendment (i.e., what became the 19th Amendment, ratified in August 1920). Two delegations assembled in New York in 1916 and went west to try to persuade the enfranchised frontier women not to vote for President Wilson because he would not support for the Suffrage Amendment. One was the pro-Hughes train of Republican women who were derided as "wealthy political meddlers" and were greeted by Democratic protesters. The other was a contingent from the Congressional Union, working with the Woman’s Party of Western Voters (what became the National Woman’s Party), of just two women - Inez and her sister Vida Milholland - who were welcomed in part because they were on their own, tough, and not formally affiliated with either major party. While castigating Wilson, Inez Milholland did not promote Hughes and presented herself as just pro-Woman. The Milholland team was far more successful at gaining support than the Hughesettes. Reference: Linda J. Lumsden, INEZ: The Life and Times of Inez Milholland (2004), p. 155. Inez’s death set in motion a meeting with Wilson and then a picketing of the White House that was followed by Wilson’s reversing himself. He supported the Suffrage Amendment in 1918, the House voted for it the same year and the Senate followed in 1919.
In July 2004, a commentator on the presidential election noted it was 156 years since the Seneca Falls convention for women's rights. Even though Barack Obama was giving the keynote speech that month at the Democratic Convention, the commentator said it would be "ridiculous" to associate the 1848 convention with the Democratic Party. Now it's the 160th anniversary year of Seneca Falls and there are many good reasons for associating that historic event with the Democratic Party, starting with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. When Elizabeth Cady Stanton proposed adding votes for women to the convention's wish list, her co-instigator Lucretia Mott was appalled, arguing it would make women look "ridiculous!" But the editor of Rochester's North Star, Frederick Douglass, the only black person at the Convention, argued decisively that the vote was crucial because it is "the power to choose rulers and make laws, and the right by which all others are secured." The suffrage goal passed narrowly, and indeed the media made it sound ridiculous. When the Union won the civil war, adult male suffrage was made universal with the 15th amendment in 1870. Stanton and Susan B. Anthony the year before had organized to advocate a federal amendment to give votes to women, but Douglass split with them, arguing that it wouldn't pass if everyone was included and black men needed the vote more than white women. Not for another 50 years, not till after Inez Milholland Boissevain's death, when Alice Paul's National Woman's Party picketed the White House nonstop and went on a hunger strike in prison, did President Wilson support the suffrage (19th) amendment, leading to its ratification in 1920. More. See also International Women’s Day.
November 8, 2008 NOW - NY State Convention The Road to Equality: From Seneca Falls to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Celebrating the 160th Anniversary of the First Women's Rights Convention Holiday Inn, Waterloo/Seneca Falls, NY
9:00 am – 10:00 am Presenter: Elaine Miller, "A Woman in the White House? Cartoonists on Hillary Rodham Clinton's '08 Presidential Bid more 10:00 am - 11:00 am - Welcome to Seneca Falls: Hon. Diana Smith, Mayor 11:00 am - 12:00 pm. Speakers Judy Wellman, Martha Burk, Barbara DeBapiste 12:15 pm - 1:30 pm - Luncheon and Awards 2008 NOW NYS Woman to Woman Award to Muriel Fox, Founding Mother of NOW 2008 Legislator of the Year Award to NYS Assemblywoman Deborah Glick 1:45 pm - 1st Presbyterian Church in Seneca Falls (Location where Alice Paul first proposed the Equal Rights Amendment) Special Speakers:
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Eleanor Smeal, Sandy Rapp-Singer
2008 - June 8. INEZ GRAVEYARD MEETING AT VASSAR - 100TH ANNIVERSARY
2008 - October 15. The Ardeche, France. The Ardeche was a center of the Catholic-Protestant conflicts in France before and after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The Ardeche mirrors what happened in the Dordogne, whence the Boissevains originated. A brief history of the Ardeche conflicts and economy is provided here. We visited St. Sauveur, St. Pierreville and Albon over two days.
Visiting a Farm in the Ardeche
10/12/08 Visit with Jan Willem and David Boissevain at Kleine Kalfje, Amsterdam. Alice and John Tepper Marlin met with David and his father Jan Willem Boissevain at the Kleine Kalfje (Little Heifer), a restaurant on the Amstel that is a popular spot for rowers and cyclists. Jan Willem Boissevain is an avid rower and has rowed with his company's eight (he works with Logica, an IT firm) in the Head of the Charles Regatta. He rows four times a week near where he lives in Wassenaar. The Amstel is the site of an annual eight-kilometer race from the center oif Amsterdam. We talked about the need to scan in old letters - English and Dutch - and to post them on the Boissevain websites so that they can be translated. The Dutch Boissevains would like to find the original (Dutch) version of a Second World War letter that appears to have been translated into English by Hilda van Stockum. John also expressed interest in having Hilda van Stockum's five books on Holland translated into Dutch and published in Holland. He will send copies of the books: The Winged Watchman, Andries, The Borrowed House, Gerrit and the Organ, Kersti and St. Nicholas.
10/11/08 Visit with Sacha Boissevain and Francesca van Hamel at Bosbaan, Amsterdam. Alice and John Tepper Marlin met with Sacha and Francesca at the Bosbaan. Francesca said she would be willing to translate some letters in Dutch into English. The Tepper Marlins last saw Francesca and her daughter Sonja at the opening of the Babar exhibit at the Pierrepont Morgan Library in Manhattan, where Laurent de Brunhoff was visiting. Laurent is the son of the original author of the Babar series, Jean de Brunhoff, who was a friend of Olga Boissevain, mother of Hilda van Stockum. According to family legend, the original Babar manuscript had the Old Lady dying (as well as Babar's mother at the beginning of the book), and Olga B. persuaded Jean de Brunhoff not to have two females die in the same book. The Bosbaan is a long rectangular lake created for rowing regattas (more here).
10/10/08 Spoke with Marcel Salome about Hilda van Stockum. John Tepper Marlin spoke with Marcel of Re-Art, a high-quality art book publisher, about doing Dutch or English (or both) editions of books, or books of Magic Lantern slides, by Hilda van Stockum. Two books high on the list are Kersti and St. Nicholas and A Day on Skates. John was referred to Marcel by painters of the Imaginary Realism school of art, for whom Marcel has done books of impressively high quality.
Jan Willem and David Boissevain, John Tepper Marlin
John Tepper Marlin, Francesca van Hamel, Sacha Boissevain
Francesca van Hamel and Alice Tepper Marlin
9/15/08 Visit of Francesca van Hamel to New York.Francesca van Hamel connects to the Boissevains via her grandmother Clara Maria van Stockum, who was the sister of Bram van Stockum, husband of Olga Boissevain, mother of Hilda van Stockum Marlin. Clara and Bram were children of Dirk Johannes van Stockum. Clara Maria married Anton Gerard van Hamel, who was a professor of Romance Languages at Gronigen University in the north of Holland. Francesca and her daughter Sonja attended the opening of the Babar Exhibit at the Pierrepont Morgan Library because Sonja worked on the graphics of a book about the Babar series.
John Tepper Marlin and Francesca
4/9/08 Chris Oakley and Gregory Grene Meet in New York City.Chris Oakley and Gregory Grene came to dinner at the Tepper Marlins. Both are fans of Willem van Stockum and there was more discussion of Pic Gwynne. Spike Marlin wrote in a letter on September 25, 1942 that he had met Pic on Grafton Street and spoke to her briefly, finding her to have become "school-marmish. This is the same impression that Gregory had from his father - that a light went out in the lives of both Pic and Willem when they did not get her father's blessing on Willem's proposal of marriage, circa 1920. Willem's continuing disappointment may have contributed to his volunteering for the air force in WWII. He was killed in action in 1944.
Chris Oakley and Gregory Grene
2008 - February 18. New York: Dinner with Gregory Grene. Alice and I just returned from a wonderful and nostalgic dinner with Gregory and Smitha, with their lovely daughter Andi on hand for the beginning of the evening. Gregory and his twin brother Andrew (who is a peacekeeping strategist with the UN, now based in Haiti) are the sons of David and Ethel Grene, a doctor who has done some poetry translation from the Dutch and also assembled David Grene's memoirs. By his first wife, Marjorie Glicksman (a well-known Heidegger scholar), David Grene had two children, Nicky (an English professor at Trinity, Dublin) and Ruth, a scientist at Virginia Tech. The big news for me is that David Grene spoke with Gregory many times during his life with feeling about Willem van Stockum and especially about Willem's disappointment in not marrying Pic Gwynn, the daughter of the Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, as was Willem's own great-great uncle (i.e., the uncle of Emily Boissevain). Apparently Provost Gwynn did not favor the marriage and - since Willem and Pic chose not to elope - that was the end of it. David said that Willem never got over the disappointment of not marrying Pic. (See references to Pic in Willem's Letters, December 6, 1934 and January 26, 2005). It was after the shock of having to say goodbye to Pic that David and Willem went together on an extended tour of Spain.
2008 - February 13. New York: Connecting to the Grenes. Just got an email from Gregory Grene, a music producer in New York City. He found us through the Internet, because we typed up and posted some letters that Willem van Stockum (brother of Hilda van Stockum and son of Capt. Bram van Stockum and Olga van Stockum-Boissevain) wrote. He mentions David Grene, Gregory's father, a few times, including in a mock story of a robbery. Willem and David were contemporaries at St. Andrew's College (a preparatory school) and Trinity College, Dublin. They went on a long trip through Spain together while they were at Trinity. An amazing NY Times obituary of David Grene, who became a prominent professor of Greek at the University of Chicago and a founding member of the Committee on Social Thought, is here.
A memoir by Grene titled Of Farming and Classics was published posthumously by the University of Chicago Press in 2006. Grene, a friend and colleague of prolific author Saul Bellow, is the father of Gregory Grene, lead singer and accordionist for Irish jig-punk band The Prodigals. He is also the father of Andrew, Ruth and Nicholas Grene. Nicholas Grene is Professor of English Literature at Trinity College Dublin, where his father took his first degree.
2008 - January 21. Amsterdam: Visit with Sacha Boissevain at the Concertgebouw. Sacha joined John and Alice Tepper Marlin at dinner at the Keyzer restaurant at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and they commemorated the 120th anniversary of the creation (1888) of the concert hall, when as Sacha said "grass grew" on the spot. Credit for the creation of the hall has gone to the editorial and personal support of Charles Boissevain, editor of the Algemein Handelsblad, the newspaper that was for Holland what the NY Times has become for the United States. The Amsterdam leaders who sustained the concert hall included Sacha's father Menso. When young Wilhelm (Willem) Mengelberg was selected in 1895 to conduct the orchestra in the Concertgebouw, Charles Boissevain’s children became friends of their contemporary. Mengelberg in turn was a friend and devotee of Gustav Mahler and, beyond that, his promoter and interpreter. On the 25th anniversary of the Concertgebouw, Mengelberg did all ten Mahler symphonies in nine concerts.
Mengelberg, Mahler, Boissevains
The husband of Hilda Gerarda de Booy-Boissevain, Han de Booy, took the iconic photo above of Mahler. On the Zuiderzee by Valkeveen, March 1906. From left to right: Alphons Diepenbrock, Mahler, Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), Willem Mengelberg. Sitting: M. Mengelberg-Wubbe, Hilda G. de Booy-Boissevain, P.J. Boissevain en Maria B. Boissevain-Pijnappel. (Dutch custom is to hyphenate with the wife's maiden name at the end. Three of the women are daughters of Charles Boissevain.) Behind the camera: Han de Booy. The photo has been featured on Dutch postage stamps. The late Engelien de Booy told John Tepper Marlin that she used to get phone calls from strangers asking if she was the daughter of "the photographer Han de Booy". Photography was a hobby for him. For more about Mengelberg's sad later life, go here.
Tinnakill Castle, Ireland - Ancestral Home of Emily MacDonnell Boissevain, wife of Charles B
Eugen and Inez Milholland Boissevain
About This Website
- George Santayana - "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
- George Bernard Shaw - "We learn from history that we learn nothing from history. We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future."
This website is open to stories from all American Boissevains. At present it focuses on the following three children of Charles Boissevain (see graphical genealogy under 1842, his birth year) who emigrated from the Netherlands to the United States, each for a different reason.
- Olga Boissevainfollowed her daughterHilda van Stockum (see also Hilda van Stockum website) to the United States. She married Capt. Bram van Stockum in 1906. Two of her children emigrated to the United States - Hilda van Stockum (married American E. R.Marlin in 1932) and Willem Jacob van Stockum. Willem was killed piloting an RAF bomber over Laval in 1944. E. R. (Spike) Marlin died 50 years later, in 1994. Hilda died 12 years after Spike, on All Saints Day, 2006. The six Marlin children are living in four countries on three continents - Olga in Nairobi, Brigid in Berkhamsted, UK, Randal in Ottawa, Sheila in Garston, UK, John in New York City and Elisabeth in London.
- Robert Boissevain left Holland because of family problems. He emigrated from Amsterdam after a failed marriage to Rosie Phipps, leaving behind his wife and children. He found work in New York City and was remarried in 1919 to New Yorker Ann Deterling. They had two boys in the New World, Robert and Alfred. Robert is deceased; Alfred Boissevain lives on a vineyard in California.
- Eugen Boissevain emigrated after meeting suffragette lawyer Inez Milholland on a vacation visit to New York in 1913. They were married weeks later, in July 1913. Unfortunately, she died within three years during her suffrage campaign to the West Coast. Seven years later, he was remarried to another famous woman of the time, Edna St. Vincent Millay. He helped raise the money for John Reed to go to Russia to report on the Revolution ("I have seen the future"...) During the years between his two marriages, he became a successful coffee importer and friend of Charlie Chaplin and Max Eastman.
For the main Boissevain Family site in Holland (in both Dutch and English) go
here. It has articles about the present and the past of the Boissevain family. On the Dutch site, the articles are sorted by year of publication in the Boissevain bulletin. The descendants of Lucas Bouyssavy are shown in both graphical and genealogical overview.