Tuesday, August 29, 2017

CONTEST! | Quibble and Win a Prize! (Updated Aug. 30, 2017)

Hilda van Stockum Marlin, with her six children, c. 1950.
Clockwise: Hilda, John, Brigid, Randal, Sheila, Lis, Olga.
The fact that our dog HachikĊ just won Second Prize in the Springs Agricultural Fair led me to thinking: We should have a contest. 

So here it is.

Don Rittner of the Albany Times-Union wrote an excellent article on Hilda van Stockum, "Not an Ordinary Woman," at the time of her birthday earlier this year. This has inspired me to announce a contest relating to the article.

The article is thoughtful and far-reaching, and much welcomed. Here it is.

Contest Announcement
I found a couple of minor errors in the article. It's hard to get it all right. As someone who is working on a couple of biographies, I know how hard it is to get everything right. So test your knowledge of Hilda van Stockum and see how many incorrect details you can sleuth out (ignore any mistakes in the associated advertising), number the errors, and send them to me.
Prize: Any book of your choice by Hilda van Stockum that is in print as of the end of September, 2017, delivered to your door. 

Contest Rules
1. Send your entry by email to by 11:55 p.m., September 30, 2017. Entries received after that day cannot be considered for a prize.
2. Include your email address (required) and photo (optional) with your submission. We will not sell, exchange or give away your email address to anyone else.
3. Entries become the property of this blog, for us to report and comment on.
4. Entries will be judged on the number of errors correctly identified and the correct replacement noted. 
5. The final judge of the number of errors correctly identified will  be John Tepper Marlin. Neither he nor his spouse is eligible to enter. He will not discuss the contest in person until after September 30.

Monday, August 21, 2017

HvS | Blog passes 70,000 page views.

L to R: Hilda, Olga, Willem,
Bram van Stockum.
The HvS Blog has passed 70,000 page views. 

Thank you for reading.

Here are the top ten posts by number of page views, since the blog began:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

HvS | WW2 1944 to ERM, OSS Jan-Nov

HvS>ERM 1944-1-4
From: Hilda Marlin
3728 Northampton St.
Washington, DC

To: Mr. E.R. Marlin
O.S.S. Detachment
APO 887
Postmaster New York City

Jan. 4, 1944

Dear Husband, 

Your letters came on New Year’s Day and were much appreciated by all the children. It was a lovely surprise. 

I agree with you about the photographer but he could only spoil me so it didn't matter. I had to take one nearby since I couldn't go far with that crowd in our overfilled busses.

It doesn't sound as if you are very enthusiastic about "Gerrit" [Gerrit and the Organ]. Anyway, I feel rather tired of writing books and need to have a year off, even if it has disastrous financial consequences. 

Mr. Melcher has given me another [painting] commission and I have another commission for a painting. Mrs. [Kate] Coblentz wants me to illustrate her new book [Bells of Leiden?]. It seems that all reviews have highly praised my pictures (one saying it was more than half the worth of the book!!).

Daniel Melcher told me that he had criticism from the P.T.A. about the anti safety elements of the poster. He seems to think it only funny but I can't help seeing a dangerous lack of proportion in American social welfare tendencies. If they're going to pull Santa Claus off the roof, what's going to become of the world? Might as well object to Hansel and Gretel because children might take to shoving objectionable adults in the fire, or the princess on the pea because it might give them notions. 

Let's hope that American children aren't quite as humorless and stupid as all that! 

However it has given me a feeling that these same people will […next page missing]

HvS>ERM 1944-3-21
From: Hilda Marlin
3728 Northampton Street NW
Washington 15 D.C.
To: Mr. E.R. Marlin
c/o Commanding General European Theatre No. 1
APO 887
Postmaster New York City
March 21, 1944
Dearest Husband.
I am having frightful trouble with my back, can hardly sit up and have to go to bed ever so often. I'm going to Dr. Schwartzman tomorrow. We had no oil for two days during the blizzard. It was rather unpleasant. 
Gordon and Rita expect their first baby in October, Gordon is all flustered over it. 
Sheila told me "Not to put up that stick" and it turned out she meant my frown. 
Randal did a message for Mother and came back saying he was "dead, simply dead."
"You must understand," he explained carefully, giving her back too little change. "That when I do a thing like that after working all day it is very tiring. So I went to the drugstore and took an ice cream." 
The neighbor children were scandalized because he made an airplane out of his honor certificate. He gets very many of them and I fear he does not value them as he should. 
Johnny is getting more charming every day, his eyes are getting brown but his hair is very blond still. 
Sheila is beautiful. She has the real Irish eyes. 
One of Uncle Charles' [Boissevain] grandsons is in Germany on labor [young men in Holland were taken away to Germany for factory and other work] and they haven't heard from him for a year.

HvS > ERM in London, 1944-11-8 [Typed by Jay]
USA Votes in FDR for
4th Term

Hilda Marlin
3728 Northampton Street, NW
Washington D.C. 15

November 8, 1944

Dearest Husband,
Thanks for your last interesting letter. You may imagine that we're happy Roosevelt is elected [his unprecedented 4th term]. That is because an electoral landslide is due, I think, to the evenly divided percentage of intelligence in America. Don't you think so?
I hope you heard Dorothy Thompson when she repeated her speech. Randal and I were the first in the family to know who won. I had gone to sleep at the usual time but Johnny woke me at one-thirty and then Randal cried because he had a stomach ache so I put him in your bed with a hot water bottle and we heard the Republican foreman's speech with the comments afterwards of a roundtable of reporters, and finally [Thomas E.] Dewey’s farewell speech, a handsome one, I must say. I don't think it hurt him as much as [Wendell] Willkie [who was the GOP candidate against FDR in 1940]. He might have liked the honor but he had no real vision and plans; Willkie had.
I forgot to tell you that on Hallows Eve [Halloween] Mother ate with Mr. Smith and his clergyman at Barnhards. I sat at home with a bag of sweets, opening the door all the time to give handouts. Mother and Mr. Smith and the Clergyman dressed themselves up with paper bags and gave the fright of my life, pushing into the house after I had given the clergyman his hand out. (He was the same one you met the first day you came.)
Rita expects her baby any day now. I bought a new hat. I need clothes, Montgomery Ward was sold out on Maternity wear so I bought a nice pattern of a jumper and am going to make my own [Liz is on her way.]. Jumpers always look nice with fresh blouses under them and I'll buy a pretty smock to wear over it when I get too big. Nothing elso really hides you.
Randal is in bed with his stomach. He had to have an enema and may not eat. It's colic or something. I have changed Sheila's hours at school. She goes in the afternoon now. The morning class is too big, Sister Tarcinius couldn't give her enough attention and complications developed with Eddie. Rivalry or something. Sheila refused to go to school. Now she is happy.
I have aired your clothes in the sunshine and when I have time I'll clean out the closet, but I've been very busy. Shopping for Olga's birthday takes a lot of time. She is getting a buffet supper with chicken soup (a whole chicken in it), frankfurters (five pounds of them) with rolls, sandwiches, potato salad, cider and cake. I hope it is a success. Olga is very excited. Mr. Smith will be there too, it s on Sunday.
I haven't heard from May [Massee] yet, which is disappointing. If she doesn't want it now I'm going to send it to another publisher. Enough is enough.
Perhaps it is mean of me, but I suddenly wonder whether May's decision about my Santa Claus story [Kersti and St Nicholas, for which the illustrations meant to be landscape were in portrait position] was influenced at all by having two other Christmas Story books on her list? I think perhaps we writers underrate those factors. That's why it is really much better not to be tied too much to one publisher. Not that the Saint Nicholas story was perfect.
One evening after you were gone Sheila cried: "I want Daddy, why isn't Daddy home?" She sobbed. I explained that you would come back. She loves you very much. I am not going to hunt moths. If it spoils your evenings, what would my life be if I had them cheating me all the time with last year's insects or something?
Love, Hilda
P.S. You are giving Olga a female canary. It only cost three dollars and fifty cents as against fifteen dollars for a male, but she doesn't know that. She'll give you credit for a huge present. I got a nest too and the pet shop has promised to buy the babies when they're nine months. The female took possession of the cage briskly. Our Pete's heart thumped visibly and interest in life went up one hundred percent. But he is already henpecked. Mrs. shoves him into a corner and orders him around with shrewish pecks. Yet he adores her. Aren't men fools!