Saturday, November 15, 2014

HvS NATIONALITY | What Was Her Citizenship? Religion? (Updated March 19, 2016)

Hilda van Stockum with Fr. Potter and the Catholic
prayer group that met in her Hertfordshire
home in the 1990s.
I just saw an Evi Q&A with this question, followed by a Wrong Answer, so I thought I should clear it up.

Was Hilda van Stockum Irish, Dutch, British, American, Canadian or What?

Hilda van Stockum was Dutch from her birth in Rotterdam in 1908 until her naturalization as an American citizen on May 5, 1936. (She married an American, E. R. "Spike" Marlin in Ireland in 1932, where she had been an art student.) Her naturalization certificate is shown below.

She was an American citizen from 1936 until 1995, the year after her husband died. When her husband was working for the United Nations, she and her children lived in Montreal, Canada; Blackrock and Dalkey, Dublin, Ireland; and Sceaux, outside Paris, France. She moved in 1973 with her husband to Berkhamsted, Herts., England to be near three of her daughters and their children. From 1995, after her husband died, to her death in 2006, she was a British citizen.

Naturalization of Hilda Gerarda van Stockum Marlin as an American citizen on May 5, 1936.
Image © by the Estate of Hilda van Stockum. Published here by permission of the estate.
Bottom line: She was Dutch for 26 years, American for 59 years, and British for 11 years. But she was married in Ireland, and spent more time at art school in Dublin than in art school in Holland, and she is considered an Irish artist more than a Dutch artist. It seems you are identified by the nationality of those who appreciate you most, which makes sense.

What religion was Hilda van Stockum before she became Roman Catholic?

She was brought up in Holland by two parents who were nominally Dutch Reformed Protestants, but neither of whom practiced their religion. Her mother was from an old Huguenot family in Holland but was more of a philosopher than a faithful member of a congregation; her father was a navy captain with unorthodox religious views. HvS was a member of the Church of Ireland during her early married years. She went to meetings of the Oxford Group with her husband, and wrote about her debt to the Group as well as its limitations from her perspective. Finally she converted to Roman Catholicism in 1939, when her eldest daughter Olga was five. A more complete story is here.

1 comment:

  1. I have updated this post with a couple of new links and a copy of HvS's 1936 naturalization certificate. For most of her life (59 years, 1936-1995) she was an American. She started out Dutch and ended up British.