Thursday, June 25, 2015

KIN | Hansje van Lennep, 1946 Visit (Updated July 14, 2015)

Matthew Philip (Matt) and Hansje Hyland, at their
home in Washington, DC. It was early January 1995,
the time of the AEA meetings. Photo by JT Marlin.
Hansje van Lennep wrote to her friend Diane Haddick in January 1999, explaining how she knew her Dutch cousin, Hilda van Stockum.

Diane just sent me Hansje's letter.

Essentially, two van Lenneps married two Boissevain cousins. Hilda's mother (Olga Emily Boissevain) was their cousin.

So Hilda was related by marriage to the van Lenneps at least twice. Hansje van Lennep was related to  the Boissevains through the marriages of her Uncle Herman van Lennep and her Aunt Mies van Lennep Boissevain.

Visiting Hilda van Stockum in 1946

Hansje writes:
My mother [Mrs. Cornelis van Lennep, 10 in the list below] was rather concerned that her daughter [10c] was going far away in 1946, to work in the Netherlands Embassy in Washington, DC, and she said this to Hilda's cousin Olga Boissevain van Lennep [1d]. Olga offered to write to Hilda van Stockum to ask her to put me up for a while. Hilda agreed. 
I stayed several weeks at Hilda's house on Northampton Street near Chevy Chase Circle in Washington, D.C., until Hilda's husband (Spike Marlin) was transferred to Montreal by his employer, the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency. During that time Hilda suggested that we would PLAY being real cousins, since both of our families were back in Holland.
Spike went ahead to try to rent a house in Montreal. Not able to find anything right away (it being  summer), he had to settle for a house that was, literally, IN THE WOODS, outside Montreal [in a place called Ste. Marguerite].
So the family moved into this house, with no running water. The smallest of Hilda's six kids was 1 1-1/2 year old Elisabeth. There was no driveable road to the house, so the rented car dropped them off a small distance away. Hilda's widowed mother, Olga ("Aunt Olga" to me) later had to go buy a bathing suit, as did the rest of the family: the "bath" was a lake... As a result, a book was born - Canadian Summer
Thanks to correspondence with Hilda and Aunt Olga, I knew beforehand of some of the adventures later printed in the book. Years later, I spent Christmas with them at Ste. Adele. They had a house near the church and on several occasions the priest (or minister) had to ask the Marlin family to tone down their noise during the church service! That told you a lot about Hilda and her family!! 
Hilda will be 91 on Feb. 9, 1999. She is writing a book about her studies at the State Academy of Arts in Amsterdam and is doing two paintings, RIGHT NOW!"
Details on Links between Boissevains and van Lenneps

Both the Boissevain and the van Lennep families have old names that are protected by Dutch law. One cannot just take one of these names. One must be

  • born with the name, or 
  • be adopted by someone with the name or 
  • marry someone with it. 
In Holland, if a first cousin is much older, one calls the cousin "aunt" or "uncle".

** Herman Jozua van Lennep 1830-1888 &1859 Henriette Wilhelmine Sillem 1836-1907. [Hansje Carla van Lennep's grandparents had ten children, numbered 1 through 10 on the list below; her father is 10 and she is 10c.]

*1 Ernst van Lennep 1860-1922 [son of Herman Jozua van Lennep] &1888 Johanna Louisa van Eeghen 1865-1957
 1a Johanna Louise van Lennep 1890-1950
 1c Anna Caecilia van Lennep 1896-1980 &1919 Leonard van den Honert 1891-1957
 1d Herman Josua van Lennep 1899-1979 &1927 Olga Emily Boissevain [first cousin of Hilda van Stockum] 1902-1993
 1e Anne Willem van Lennep 1905-1977
 o Louise van Lennep 1895-1980 &1918 Jan Daniel Mulder 1890-1932
*3 Robbert van Lennep 1863-1921 &1891 Adrienne Minette Lucassen 1867-1940
 o Minette Adrienne van Lennep 1892-1975 &1930 Alphert Schimmelpenninck 1880-1943
 o Henriette van Lennep 1894-1972
 o Henriëtte Wilhelmina van Lennep 1906-1969 &1937 Jacob Emmer 1901-1958
 o Henriëtte Wilhelmina van Lennep 1906-1969 &1950 Rudolph Theodor Meurer 1898-1979
 o Aernout van Lennep 1898-1974 &1925 Joanna Maria Loeff 1897-1962
 o Anna Maria van Lennep 1901-1999
*5 Karel van Lennep 1866-1923 [Son of Herman Jozua] &1892 Anna Elize Homans 1871-1943
 5a Anna Petronella van Lennep 1894-1984 &1921 Henri Rijnier Boeree 1873-1949
 5b Cornelia Sylvia van Lennep 1895-1986 &1926 Pierre Joseph Eyma 1875-1934

 5c Adrienne Minette van Lennep 1896-1965 [daughter of Karel] & 1919  Jan "Canada" Boissevain 1895-1945  [Jan was first cousin of Olga Boissevain; their fathers Jan and Charles were brothers]

 o Sara van Lennep 1897-1970 &1920 Hylke Halbertsma 1895-1972
 o Karel van Lennep 1901-1949
 o Ernst van Lennep 1908-1908
*6 Henriette van Lennep 1868-1942
*7 Herman van Lennep 1869-1903
*8 Louise van Lennep 1871-1950
*9 Sylvia van Lennep 1873-1945
Cornelis van Lennep (1875-1948), the 10th and youngest child of
Herman Jozua van Lennep. He was the father of Hansje van 
Lennep Hyland (in Dutch, Hyland-van Lennep).
*10 Cornelis van Lennep 1875-1948 &1908 Hyke Albertine Hinrichs 1885-1940
 10a Hyke van Lennep 1909-1983 &1946 Eliasz Wajnztein 1903-1985
 10b Sylvia van Lennep 1909-2001
* Cornelis van Lennep 1875-1948 &1918 Jacoba Johanna van Hell 1898-1970
 10c Hansje Carla van Lennep [daughter of Cornelis] & Matthew Philip Hyland                      
 o Cornelius Sylvius van Lennep & Cordula Wilhelmina Coops

The Jan ("Canada") Boissevain Family in World War II

Hansje's letter continues:
During World War II, one of Hilda's brothers [Willem van Stockum] died overseas; he was shot down. 
The Krauts, who had occupied Holland, first imprisoned the husband of Adrian Minette (Mies) van Lennep [5c above], Jan ["Canada"] Boissevain, then let him free (he was a banker and was accused of lending money to Jews, which was trumped up, as Holland never differentiated among its citizens), then arrested him again and sent him and Mies to two different concentration camps. 
Also taken were their two oldest sons: Jan Karel [Janka] and Gideon [Gi], who were part of an underground resistance group, all in their early 20s. In 1943 they and others were killed by a firing squad in the dunes. 
Their younger brother, Francois Boissevain and the kid's nanny, Jane, were sent to a concentration camp in Germany. They survived the war. Alas, Jan did not - he died one month before Holland's liberation, in April 1945 in a camp near Berlin.    
Mies had been sent to Ravensbrueck in Southern Germany. She was part of a group liberated by Sweden's Count Bernadotte and was sent to Sweden. When she heard that her husband and her two eldest sons had died, she did not want to live any more. But then she looked out of the window of the plane that was bringing them all to Sweden. They broke through the clouds and the sun shone on a quilt of farms and towns below. She decided there was still a lot for her to do on earth.   
When she eventually returned to Holland, she started a movement where people would make quilted skirts out of remnants of cloth left over from the war. Friends and family would donate the pieces of cloth. The called the skirt the "feast rok" (festival dress), to celebrate the liberation of Holland. 
Because of her heroic behavior in the concentration camp, where she would save her fellow prisoners from despair with talk and deeds, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt invited her to come to America as she wanted to thai her and meet her personally. 
Diane Haddick Note

The letter makes Diane wonder if Mies van Lennep Boissevain ever did come to America at Mrs. Roosevelt's invitation, "and if she did, what happened after that?"


I have evidence that. Mies did go on such a tour. I am looking for details.

Monday, June 22, 2015

BOOKS | Three Books Discussed on TV Show

Tim Sullivan just reminded me that he interviewed me three years ago about the books of Hilda van Stockum on his program, "Sullivan's Travels".

The links to the show's archives are now available for the billions of TV watchers who for some unaccountable reason missed seeing this exciting interview.

It was on the East Hampton TV channel, LTV.

Each of the three YouTube segments is ten minutes long and covers a single book.

Here are the links:

Part 1 (discussing Penengro

Part 2 (discussing Patsy and the Pup

Part 3 (discussing Little Old Bear

HvS LETTERS | Spike Marlin to HvS, Nov. 2 and 24, 1932

Ervin Ross (Spike) Marlin, c. 1932
These are the first two letters from Spike Marlin in New York City to his wife Hilda van Stockum in Dublin, Ireland. They had been married June 25. Spike had to take his exams in the summer of 1932, and then he left for New York City to find a job. The first letter (November 2) is a very personal letter - a love letter about his job search, which is illuminating because of the time and place. Spike was looking for an entry-level job in New York City in November 1932, in the depth of the Great Depression, and it was as difficult as could be. However, these two letters span the election on November 8 of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) as President of the United States. 

Hilda van Stockum, 1932.
2121 Belmont Avenue
Bronx, New York

November 2 [Wednesday], 1932
Hilda, dear girl,
Your first letter finally arrived today. It came like a gift from Heaven. I hadn't seen you for such an age, my frenzied activity about New York had set up a formidable barrier of impressions in my mind between our last days together and my present frantic existence. Here was my Hilletje of reality. It was good to read your letter, good to sit with you and listen to your delightful stories on the train, etc. 
You forgot to mention that sad scene at the Greenstown [?] railway station. Didn't our separation affect you the way it did me? How romantic it was! Slowly at first, faster, and faster the train moved away with its precious burden until your dear waving arm was enveloped by the clouds of smoke and steam from the locomotive. Then the curve and your disappeared from my view. Ah! It was thrilling: so moving, so satisfyingly emotional. No motion picture director ever planned it so well.
Now, about myself. Last night I had dinner with the two old Trinity men, Coulter and Dowling at the latter's home! He and his wife occupy a sumptuous flat in a fashionable part of the city but their dinner lacked style. Dowling and his wife brought the meal in themselves, à la camp manner. Maids in New York are great rarities. 
In the course of the evening's conversation we got down to business. Coulter brought back the story of Hackberry jam [something HvS must have written and illustrated]. He said it wouldn't do because it was negative, amateurish, and unsuitable. But he was encouraging; said it was good for a first attempt, that it was original, and that you could draw. That was that. 
As for a job he recommended I should concentrate on my Foreign Service exam. Things here are desperately tight although, as I previously noted, they don't look so different on the surface. He and Dowling invited me to lunch next week to meet a man who was in the Foreign Service and who would give me some inside dope and a recommendation. Very decent of them, wasn't it?
I had come to this conclusion myself. Everything possible for getting a job has been done. Agencies, friends, and influence; I shall see what fruit they bear. But instead of sitting back passively I am going to compensate work for my exams. Today I posted several letters to Washington according to Belovsky's instructions. Perhaps there is another opening in Washington. Tonight I shall write to Hamilton. Your cable came this morning, many thanks. Naturally I felt a wee bit disappointed because I knew you wanted me to get a first-class mod T. I did want one myself but.... As everyone says, in a year nobody will know what I got. Over here they don't know the difference at any time. Could you send me a complete list of the different grades I got in each exam? Don't forget my red book, darling.
Your second letter came tonight, little sweetheart. A lovely letter! Your drawing is wonderful! I'm sure Punch will make the mistake of its history if it turns you down. Excellent! It is very sensible of you not to worry about us, dearest child. I shall move heaven and earth and my lazy carcass to build our house. In about a week I shall have some definite word concerning my future, and then you will be able to mark off the days until your departure. 
Meanwhile you must know how encouraging your sweet letters are to me. They give me new life and strength and a determination to fight any of those dragons you fear. My sole complaint is that I never get an opportunity to meet the dragon face-to-face in single combat. My dragons are more subtle enemies and their chief weapons are discouragement and disappointment. But I swear to you they will never conquer me so long as I can draw strength from our love. 
You are right, sweetheart. I do love you. Every woman I meet confirms my love by comparison, not that I spend my time comparing you with them! No! A supreme contentment, a blissful satisfaction has made me completely indifferent to all women but you. I never want it to be otherwise either. It is as though a powerful desire had been fulfilled to leave my energies unhampered for the fight for existence. 
If the State Department has an exam soon I shall forget all else and work, work, work for it. A few swift months, a series of your incomparable letters and then my little Hilletje waving from the boat, running down the gangway into my outstretched arms. Angelkind, herlije swesje, darling, darling.
Your dogged, determined husband.

One week later, the newspapers were full of the election of FDR. It was a sweep of 42 out of the 48 states.
This was the news, one week after Spike Marlin's first letter.
There were great expectations that things would get better. This is reflected, surely, in the optimistic tone of the letter, and the sense of the need for the country to move in direction that FDR was taking it. My brother Randal Marlin is impressed with the extent to which our Dad was invested in social reform. Not until March, when FDR was inaugurated, would the bank panic end and the economy start to return to normality. Not until after FDR's election would Spike get a job based on a competitive exam - working for FDR. (Not until World War II would the economic boom of the 1920s return.)

2121 Belmont Avenue
Bronx, New York

November 14, 1932
Dearest little treasure,
Three letters of yours arrived this morning together with one from your mother! It was a Gala day for me. I also received a letter from George Prince, an old school boy friend who is recovering from a slight attack of tuberculosis and pneumonia at Saranac Lake, New York. I thought for a brief moment you meant for me to give your regards to George Prince instead of Prince George! He is also married and welcomes us to the inner circle of blessed matrimonial friendship. 
I was very pleased to learn that Jan's disease has been discovered and that he too is gaining back his health. Ireland is not a suitable place climatically for him or you, for that matter. Speaking of climates I must say you will get more zest from life when you experience the dry, sunny, and cold atmosphere here. In the city it makes little difference whether it rains or shines but the country is beautiful, beautiful. Give Jan my best wishes please. I am so glad you joined the gym; I felt somehow that you would like it, and it really is good for you.
Now, about myself. Yesterday I went to the Loesser's house for tea. They are the friends of Jack and myself. Mrs. Loesser, who has had considerable experience with children's books examined "The Day on Skates" which I brought along. The whole family went in genuine raptures about it and if you have heard their put-on raptures you know that these are simply super-, super-loud, long, and luscious. They were crazy about the coloured pictures and they immediately ordered copies of the book for themselves and little cousins as soon as it is published. 
Mrs. Loesser read the story and approved of it heartily. She suggested a few minor changes such as omitting such abstract words as totally and some others, also changing Dientje to a simpler name or else explaining its pronounciation in an explanatory parenthesis. Enthusiastic is not the word to describe their approval my dear! She says we should have no difficulty getting it published. Tomorrow the Literary Guild, through my uncle's influence, will examine it. 
A cousin of mine who is married and going to set up house was so delighted with them that he wants you to do four pictures of the same size, on that hard paper, in water-colours like the book. Each picture will represent a season on the year, i.e. Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. All in Holland with your children in costumes and lots of colour. I didn't like to soak him and I didn't want you to be underpaid so I suggested five dollars each for them. At the present rate of exchange that would be about thirty-two shillings each. The important thing is that he will act as a good publicity man and you will probably get heaps more to do as a result. Mrs. Loesser loved Moedertje and the Indian as much as the others. She says we could do very well with all the pictures by exhibiting them in an art gallery. I feel sure, darling, you will be a great success here!
Today I finished my article on Ireland and I handed it in to the New York Times. Tomorrow I will know whether they are going to accept it. Tomorrow too I am going to Fordham University to persuade the Holy Fathers of the Roman Catholic institution that they should offer a course in Irish History and that I should teach it. Then off to another Irish Roman Catholic institution, Manhattan College, and another, St. John's on a similar mission. Did I tell you that I hoped to persuade all of them and then I would have three jobs! If I am successful you shall come over after Christmas.
Darling, I do miss you. Thousands of ideas are buzzing in my head waiting for their turn to be recorded on paper for an article with your help. I expanded a bit about impressions of America when I wrote to George Prince who is an old newspaper man and he advised me to exploit my ideas, thought them acceptable for our publications. Wouldn't it be great if we were together and could discuss our ideas, collaborate, - I write and you illustrate or, more likely, you write and you illustrate. Perhaps it's the climate or the great movement and life that goes on here. Anyway it's terribly invigorating, stimulating, both for mind and body. 
Maybe I was supposed to be a journalist. I want to write about why revolution would be impossible in this country, the lack of class solidarity here, the tradition of selfish individualism, the absence of idealism. That is another promising theme, of course - the spiritual vacuity of American life. Will this Depression have any effect upon this state of mind and soul? Will the careless, boundless prosperity return? Is the spritual life compatible with a high and general standard of comfort? I think we lose spiritually when we remove ourselves from nature and reality by the mechanical "comforts" of our life in America, and the mechanical music, the mechanical amusements, etc. 
This aspect may be exaggerated; it may be possible to reconcile mental and spiritual development with our civilization. I may be committing the logical error of post hoc ergo propter hoc. Tomorrow I shall give it my full attention. I find that in writing an article the important thing is to decide definitely on the subject, a subject of limited scope, and then to work from that viewpoint. Otherwise one adduces everything or all related to the subject and attempts to incorporate these points in the article. This was the mistake I made in my Irish article and for that reason I don't expect it to be accepted unless they take it for the cartoons which is most likely. They are excellent. Especially the Poe parody. 
You might send me some newspaper clippings of the latest developments in Ireland. I am going to deliver some public lectures here in the city, in order to get the reputation of an authority on the subject. Send me your invaluable opinions and the no less invaluable comments of your Mother and Willem. She will be disgusted with me when she reads what I wrote, if it is permitted. In an earnest attempt to be unbiased I rather erred on the wrong side from her point of view by sympathizing with de Valera.
If you get the opportunity to meet Francis Hachett, who is in Dublin now, do. I know his brother Dominick here, a delightful gentleman, and just as Irish in his ways as when he left the old country years and years ago. A real scholar too although he is a Civil Servant. He would like to meet you when you come.
I've just listened to a talk over the wireless by Cosmo Hamilton, the English novelist whom I once had the pleasure of meeting and hearing personally. He spoke of Arnold Bennett. One thing he said about Bennett reminded me of my own habit. He says that wherever he went, whatever he did, Bennett was always a man with a net that gathered ideas, plots, incidents, reflections. [Arnold Bennett is the person, says Olga Marlin, whose book led Hilda van Stockum to joining the Roman Catholic Church.] In the past week I have been like that; jotting down thought that have risen to the surface of my subconscious, before going to bed, on the subway train, walking in the street - almost everywhere except at home when I sit down resolutely to think consistently. 
O that I had my mind under control! My facility for expression too is limited. I find my feelings are too complicated for words, that is the words at my command. The trouble may be that I read appallingly little of what may be described as "pure" literature.My reading has been serious for the most part. This, I think, is not a bad thing. Better to have ideas with a limited vocabulary than vice versa, especially if you are a reformer, an idealist like myself. Yes, I would prefer to do something for the good of mankind - ridiculous notion - than to earn money by diverting people - not that that isn't a good thing in itself. Not good enough, perhaps. 
I need you sweetheart, and at night I pray that God may give me the opportunity to send for you forthwith. But, we must realize that conditions here are bad, very bad, and that change in our competitive system, the necessary antecedent of a return to prosperity, will long be prevented by the selfishness of the real owners of the country.
My love and my family's to you and your family. Eleven billion kisses.

Comments by Their Children

The letter was typed up by my son Jay as a Father's Day present, June 21, 2015. He has been typing out family letters when he can. None of us remembers seeing these letters before. Comments from emails follow: 

: I was very happy to read Dad´s letter, and get an insight into his interior world. At the time we were growing up he was unable to talk about it (at least to us). We did understand each other, in an unspoken way. Interesting that he writes about Arnold Bennett. Later on it was Bennett´s book, "Now I See" that brought Mom into the Catholic Church.

Brigid: Oh, that letter is so sweet; it made me cry! 

Randal: The first letter was lovely but personal and private. The second letter was very perceptive about society. I thought his views about U.S. culture and the unlikelihood of revolution based on lack of idealism and the over-riding ethos of the self-oriented individual applicable today still. The stinginess of the rich also seems true of today. I would be happy to see this published, especially as the theme of technology and the need for contact with with nature is very much in line with Jacques Ellul's thinking.

Lis: Lovely and a real insight into life in the 1930s as well as their relationship.