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HILDA VAN STOCKUM MARLIN, 1908-2006

This website was assembled during the year 2006-2007 after the death of HvS on November 1, 2006. It is being left alone as it was at the end of 2007 and a new website has been created for HvS and her family. Go to www.boissevain.us.

HAPPY ST. NICHOLAS DAY 2007!

Here is a St. Nicholas Day message from Hilda van Stockum, writing 50 years ago, when we lived in Montreal and Dad worked for the U.N. Given the way the 21st century has opened, with the dot-coms, Enron, Global Crossing and Global Warming, and now the spreading subprime-mortgage problems, the issues HvS was raising are in stark relief.

CONSCIENCE AND MONEY by Hilda van Stockum (December 6, 1957)

It strikes me that the whole area of finance has imperceptibly crept outside the boundaries of moral awareness. People tend to think in terms of profit and loss, not in terms of good and evil. Yet nowhere is ethical consideration so necessary. How much of our life is dominated by buying and selling, how much is being changed by modern trends in manufacture and trade, yet no one seems to think it necessary to ask: "Are we furthering the right principles?" More

CENTENARY EVENTS, 2008

#1 NEW YORK, NY, USA, 2009
A celebration of HvS's literary life and work is being planned in New York City at the Harvard Club of NYC in 2009. Anyone who has signed the HvS Guest Book and has left a contact email will be invited to the event.

Shakespeare Identity Controversy Heats Up. HvS believed intensely that the works of Shakespeare were written by Edward deVere, Earl of Oxford, because she believed the plays could only have been written by a person who was educated and well-traveled, which in those days meant someone with an independent income. When she and her husband-to-be Spike Marlin were students in Dublin, they knew Orson Welles, who was a prominent advocate of the argument that Shakespeare was not the Bard, but rather a beard for someone else. The controversy has recently intensified with a coalition arguing for reassignment of authorship. More on the coalition.

News, July 24, 2007: New Lead to Vina de Vesci Screenplay on Canadian Summer. In the late 1940s, Renaissance Films of Toronto (defunct by the early 1950s) optioned Hilda van Stockum’s Canadian Summer for a movie. At the time, Alfred Hitchcock was in Canada and expressed interest in doing children’s films. Vina de Vesci had already written a screenplay that was produced by Renaissance Films. She looked through a carton of books sent to her by Viking Press as possible movie material and she selected Canadian Summer. For years the Marlin family has been trying to find the screenplay that Hilda van Stockum said had been written from her book. In July 2007, the relatives were located. HvS sons Randal and John have spoken to Dennis Daines, who took custody from his sister of a few items from Vina de Vesci’s property. Dennis's great-nephew will be looking through a family chest to see if he can find anything about the script. Stay tuned.

News, July 24, 2007: Book Featuring HvS’s Brother Willem Jacob van Stockum. David Toomey's book, New Time Travelers (New York: W.W. Norton, 2007), has appeared. It is about scholars who have written in-depth about time travel. One is HvS’s brother Dr. Willem Jacob van Stockum, a mathematician who was the first to show (in 1937) how Einstein's theory of relativity implied possibilities for time travel. (See his Wikipedia entry.)

WEDDING OF SPIKE MARLIN AND HILDA VAN STOCKUM
TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN, JUNE 27, 1932
(75th Anniversary, 2007)
Through this website, we met Sir Michael Craig-Cooper, son of Olive Macdonald and nephew of Jean, Marcia and Nola Macdonald, who were all bridesmaids. In the photo, Jean is the standing six-year-old girl; she held the train of HvS's dress. On May 15, 2007, John Tepper Marlin and Brigid Marlin met Jean in London. The interview, some of which was captured on a video camera, yielded a wealth of new (to us!) information about those in the photo. Left to right:
Back row: Elizabeth Oliver-Thompson ("Olive") Macdonald (later Craig-Cooper), Dick Chalmers, who was best man, Charlotte ("Charley") Pike, E. R. Marlin ("Spike," 1909-1994), Hilda van Stockum Marlin, Pic Gwynn, Marcia Macdonald.
Front row: Brigid O'Brien (later Ganley, seated), Jean Macdonald (later Farquhar), Nola Macdonald (later Jackson).


A DAY ON SKATES - New commemorative edition (Two Amazon 5-Star Reviews also posted under "Books" button above)

"Beautiful" - May 2007 - The STUDEO blog alerts us to a tribute to HvS on the Catholic Homeschool Carnival. It also says: "I just got a copy of the newly reprinted A Day on Skates by Hilda van Stockum and it is beautiful! Yes, you do want a copy and don't bother with an old one from eBay...."

The new edition of A Day on Skates includes a retrospective on HvS's life's work. It may be ordered from Bethlehem Books.


THE WINGED WATCHMAN (See "Books" button for the latest three of eleven 5-Star Reviews on Amazon)

"Hilda van Stockum and Hope" January 9, 2007 - STUDEO blog - We had a teen discussion last night on Hilda Van Stockum's The Winged Watchman, a family story set in Holland during the terrible day of the Nazi occupation during World War II. There were ten teens and four moms and we had quite a wonderful discussion. Even though it can be considered a simple children's story, it has a great deal of depth and wisdom in it. We spent a lot of time discussion details of the story - conflicts in people's hearts and families because of the war, character development, perspective and lots more. It was also a nice opportunity to discuss how we are affected by stories and what the author accomplishes through her characters. We thought it was a bit of a "soft" story in a way - no real sharp edges, you know. The Verhagen family is a family we can relate to even though circumstances force them to be "more than" themselves. It seems that the author also uses them as a sort of lens through which we can understand some more difficult things as well. For example, though the mother of the Verhagen family is admirable and heroic and suffers through fear and want, we can relate to her because she is not so very far from ourselves. And yet, through her, we better understand the heroism and deprivation in those we are less able to relate to. She helps us understand them better (in an "even more so" sort of way), but she also (Mrs. Verhagen still in case this is getting too confusing) shows us a path of action that we could imitate if we found ourselves in difficult circumstances. Mrs. Verhagen must make difficult decisions, unselfishly, and she helps us to believe that these choices, in the end, will make us happier.

Movie Option - The Winged Watchman has been optioned for a movie. This means a producer is exploring the idea of making a movie out of the book and has purchased the exclusive right to do this for a certain period of time. HvS's six children are excited about the possibility that the movie will be made.

HvS OBITUARIES

Also:
HvS English-Language Wikipedia Entry, HvS Dutch-Language Wikipedia Entry.

USA
New York Times, Nov. 4, 2006, New York Sun, Nov. 3, 2006, Children's Literature Network, Bethlehem Books, Publishers Weekly, Horn Book, Ana Braga-Henebry's Journal, Love2Learn Mom, Top Ten Sources - Children's Media, Hiram Library, Karen Edmisten Blog, Mailgate.
CANADA Toronto Globe and Mail, Nov. 2, 2006, National Post, Nov. 9, 2006.
IRELAND Irish Times, Nov. 18, 2006.
UK Books for Keeps, Jan. 2007, Berkhamsted Gazette, Nov. 8, 2006, World People's Blog, Achockoblog (Achuka). NETHERLANDS (in Dutch) Het Parool (Amsterdam, WWII Underground Resistance Newspaper), Nov. 9, 2006, Leesplein. GERMANY (in German) German-Language Wikipedia. KENYA Daily Nation, Nairobi, Nov. 14, 2006, p. 38. NEW ZEALAND Dorothy Neal White Newsletter.


HvS MEMORIAL SERVICES AND FUNDS

The life and memory of Hilda van Stockum was celebrated with a funeral mass at the Sacred Heart Church, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, U.K., on Saturday, November 18, 2006, at 11 a.m. Following the mass, a lunch reception was held at Garston Manor (see "Tributes" under Family and photos and an attendance list under Photos). Thanks for sending flowers for the funeral and reception to the following: Bjorn, Francesca, Joost and Jan van Hamel; Peter Jackson; Alan and Jane Jones; Jack and Jill Ray; Albert, Barend, Wolter and Jan Willem Blankert (sons of the late Albertina Blankert-Verbeek, a childhood friend of Hilda); The Lait Family (O'Neills); Olga Marlin and her Nairobi family; David and Barbara Fenner; Bethlehem Books; Colleagues of Lis at the London Deanery; Mary Craig.

You are invited to read and sign the HvS Guest Book. If you haven't signed in yet, please do. HvS was at the center of a large circle of people she loved and prayed for. If you signed already and have something else to add, sign in again!

The family is grateful for gifts commemorating the life of Hilda van Stockum such as Mass cards and contributions to religious and other charities such as Oxfam. Two charities suggested by the family are:

In the UK, Cafod's Hilda van Stockum Candlelight Fund. A contribution may be made ONLINE or may be mailed to Candlelight Fund #13562 (Hilda van Stockum), Romero Close, Stockwell Road, London SW9 9TY, UK. Gifts online by Cafod as of March 4, 2007 (a new gift in February from Edith Comins) add up to £245, plus £41 in Gift Aid, for a total of £385. Another £170 was contributed through the mail (two new gifts in February from Ruth Smith and Jean and Peter deLisle), for a total of £555.

In the United States, the New York Community Trust, Marlin-van Stockum Fund, 909 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022, USA. The Trust is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization which supports a range of approved charities. The gift total as of March 4, 2007 was $15,200 with two new gifts recorded from Mr. and Mrs. Warren Boeschenstein and Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Edelsack.

BEST HvS SOURCES

Best Newspaper Obituary: Stephen Miller's in New York Sun, Nov. 3, 2006 (he had read her books).

Most Complete Summary of HvS Book Output (new photos of HvS covers added in January 2007): Children's Literature Network.

Best One-Stop Source to Buy Used HvS Books: BookFinder4U - AbeBooks (USA or UK), a consortium of bookstores, is likely to show up as among the lowest-price sources, and HvS collectors praise their service.

Best Source to Buy New HvS Books: Bethlehem Books, which pioneered in bringing HvS books back into print.

Best Place to Find the Nearest Library with an HvS Book: World Catalog

Best Source for Valuation of HvS Art: AskART or alternatively here. Note: HvS is listed variously in the AskART directory as Hilda Marlin or Hilda van Stockum Marlin.

HILDA VAN STOCKUM, AWARD-WINNING CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHOR AND ARTIST, DIES AT 98

Hilda van Stockum, internationally noted author and illustrator of such children’s classics as The Mitchells, The Winged Watchman and A Day on Skates, for which she took Newbery honors, died at 98 on All Saints Day, November 1, 2006, in Berkhamsted, UK, after a stroke. She won the Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

Van Stockum was known for her warm and vivid, but realistic depictions of family life, often in the face of difficulty or danger. Her most famous book, The Winged Watchman (1962, named a "Notable Book" by the American Library Association), tells the story of two young boys living in a windmill who help the Dutch resistance during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.

Her books were originally published primarily by Viking Press, during what has been called a "golden age" of children's literature shepherded by the inspiring and author-friendly editor May Massee. Van Stockum's books were widely and favorably reviewed, and were also favorites among librarians because they celebrated family life and dealt with issues of good and evil - and because librarians noticed that the books held the attention of children.

The Mitchells (1945) was a semi-autobiographical account of how van Stockum’s family coped in Washington, D.C. during World War II. Someone asked van Stockum who the protagonist of the book was, and she immediately answered: “The family is the protagonist. The family weathers the storms.” The Mitchells includes a description of her brother Willem van Stockum, who was killed in 1944 on an RAF mission. She often used her family as models for the written and illustrated characters in her books.

In addition to writing and illustrating her own books, van Stockum translated and illustrated editions of many other authors, including editions of Afke’s Ten, Hans Brinker, Little Women and Little Men, and Willow Brook Farm. She was a charter member of the Children’s Book Guild and was the only person to have served as its president for two consecutive terms.

While van Stockum was best known as a writer, she was also a painter of some note, showing frequently in galleries in Dublin, Geneva, Ottawa, and Washington, D.C. She was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Hibernian Academy and her paintings are in the National Gallery of Art and other major collections of 20th century Irish artists. In 1993 her still life, "Pears in a Copper Pot," was chosen to appear on an Irish postage stamp as part of Ireland's Europa series honoring contemporary art.

Hilda Gerarda van Stockum was born in Rotterdam in 1908. Her father, Abraham Jan van Stockum, was a naval officer and her mother, Olga Emily Boissevain, was the daughter of Charles Boissevain, a prominent Dutch newspaper editor, and his Irish wife Emily MacDonnell.

As a child, van Stockum grew up in Ireland and the Netherlands and traveled with her family to France, Switzerland, and the East Indies. Constantly filling notebooks with stories and pictures, she wrote and illustrated a book for her younger brother, Willem, when she was five.

In 1932, in Dublin, van Stockum married the roommate at Trinity College of her brother Willem (a gold-medal-winning mathematician famed among time-travel aficionados), Ervin Ross (Spike) Marlin.

Two years later, the Marlins moved to New York. Van Stockum lectured on the use of Montessori materials and published her first children’s book, "A Day on Skates" (1934). The book, which includes a preface by her aunt, Edna St. Vincent Millay, took Newbery honors in 1935.

The family moved to Washington in 1935 when Marlin won by exam a U.S. civil service position in the Administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was posted to several agencies including the Social Security Administration and the Federal Security Agency (later renamed the Secret Service). Van Stockum continued to teach, study art, and write children’s books in Washington during the war, while her husband was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services in Dublin and London.

After the war, her husband was with the U.S. delegation at the founding of the United Nations in 1945, and then served as director of technical assistance for the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal and as senior director of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. The Marlin family followed him to these posts. He retired first from the UN, then became Director of International Recruitment at the State Department and retired a second time. Then he was asked by the AARP to form the International Federation on Ageing, retiring finally for the third time in 1973. The Marlin parents moved from Washington to Berkhamsted, England to be near most of their children and grandchildren. He died in Berkhamsted in 1994.

Van Stockum's books, which are set in Holland, Ireland, Canada, Kenya, and the United States, were published by Harper & Brothers, Viking Press, and Farrar Straus. The Cottage at Bantry Bay (1938) was the first of three books about the O’Sullivan family in Ireland. Canadian Summer (1948) and Friendly Gables (1960) continued the saga begun with The Mitchells as the Marlins followed their father to Montreal. Many of van Stockum’s works have been reprinted by Bethlehem Books and continue to have a strong following among home-schoolers.

Painting, however, was van Stockum’s primary passion throughout her life. She studied at the Dublin School of Art, the Amsterdam Academy of Art and the Corcoran School of Art. In the 1920’s, she worked as an illustrator for the Dublin-based publishing house, Browne & Nolan. She illustrated her first book, an Irish reader, in 1930, and her last book in 2001, giving her a 71-year career as a book-illustrator.

Van Stockum converted to Catholicism in 1939, influenced primarily by such leading Catholic writers and intellectuals of her day as G.K. Chesterton and Monsignor Ronald Knox. During the years before her death she wrote several chapters of her autobiography.

Van Stockum is survived by her six children living in five countries on three continents (Olga in Kenya; Brigid, Sheila and Lis in the U.K.; Randal Marlin in Canada, and John Tepper Marlin in the United States), 18 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

NOTES OF CONDOLENCE AND APPRECIATION

(Many more are on the HvS Guest Book, which remains open for comments.)

Heather Remoff, Eagles Mere, Pa., June 7, 2007 - Dear John, If I was deeply touched by your gift to Maeve of A Day on Skates when you gave it, I hardly have words for the gratitude I feel after reading the book.
Your mother will never die. She pulled me immediately into a world of such immense kindness, love, and light that reading her work is transformational. What a lovely story. What a lovely person.
The book captured all the dreams of my childhood and made them, for a moment, real. My daughter, Ingrid, and her daughter, Maeve, are going to love this book as much as I do. Your mother has a whole new generation of fans.
And just in time. Whenever the evening news leaves me ready to throw up my hands and declare humans a doomed species, I will turn to your mother and draw hope that there are children being socialized with her values. Thanks.

Angela Bradbury, Keno, Ore., May 25, 2007 - I recently read about Hilda in a Bethlehem Books catalog and felt an instant connection to her and her work. My husband Ron and I have five children and love every minute of it. Yes, even the difficult times. I especially love the encouragement and support your mother gave for large families and family life in general through her writing and art. God Bless You, our sympathies are with you. We are investing in a collection of Hilda's books!

Meghan Lueck, London, UK, May 2, 2007. - I am University student studying here in London for the semester. I grew up in Southern California and I now go to school at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. When I was little, the Hilda van Stockum books were my absolute favorite. I can not even tell you how much they touched my life and how much they mean to me now, years later. I am traveling to Ireland for the first time with my mom in about two weeks. I actually have Bantry Bay set into my itinerary because they books meant so much to me. This morning, as I planned my trip, I decided to look up Hilda van Stockum on the internet. I had not realized she passed away last year, and I wish you my warm regards of sympathy to your family. As a personal tribute to her, I was wondering if there was any way I could visit some of the sites from her life. Is her burial place open to the public? Could I perhaps place some flowers by her grave? I would also like to know if there is any way I can purchase any of her Out of Print books. I remember when I was a little girl I would check up on the list to see which books of hers I had read. Is there no way those other books are attainable? Thank you so much for your time. I do hope you know how much Hilda van Stockum's work touched my life.

Monica Schott, Washington, D.C., April 14, 2007. Dear John - Your mother was my first painting teacher. She sent me on my way, via the Corcoran School of Art, to become a lifelong teacher myself! She was so gifted and such an inspiration, through her beautiful work - she can never be forgotten!
I still mention her to students and I treasure the few works of hers I own.

Adele Wick, Greenland, N.H., April 19, 2007. John - Your mom's books got buried... I just recently unearthed them. I'm about to finish The Winged Watchman. I don't want to finish it. The story, the style, and the illustrations I savor. I particularly love the beginning, making its young readers feel the war through hunger, and the father's line about preferring to think about what people do out of church to in. I usually don't look at illustrations, but hers draw me in with their delicacy, feeling and power. Thank you for introducing me to Hilda van Stockum.

Sir Michael Craig-Cooper, London, UK, April 6, 2007 - Dear Mr. Marlin - You were kind enough to send to my mother, Olive Carroll-Leahy (formerly Craig-Cooper, nee Macdonald) information concerning Hilda van Stockum, to whom my mother and her sister were bridesmaids. My mother suffered a stroke... I wished you to know how touched she was to receive your letters which my cousin Gina Macdonald supplemented with a photograph of your parents' wedding with all the bridesmaids. [See photo above.] Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

Muriel Hone, Kilkenny, Ireland, December 29, 2006 - Dear John - I have to tell you that Oliver [son of Evie Hone's first cousin - Evie herself had no children and was never married - JTM] died in May 2005, after which I sold the Dundrum house and moved to Kilkenny to be within reach of my daughter and granddaughter. He suffered from angina and was gradually debilitated by Parkinson's, a difficult combination borne with great courage. He was buried on his 88th birthday, the day before what would have been the celebration of our Diamond Aniversary. I hope Hilda's stroke was not drawn out as she was such an active person with so much to her credit. We were especially pleased when she proved so active in Dublin art circles with her still life studies. Her friendship latterly in Evie's life has put a crown on the letters over the years of being apart. It was a long time for Hilda to have outlived Spike. My condolences to you all - she was a character one would miss - and thank you for telling me. The Irish Times gave her a good obituary. It is a curious life without Oliver - I feel a shadow, but content to have him out of the physical difficulties.

Helen Mahut, Cambridge, MA, November 10, 2006 - Thank you for the announcement of Hilda's death. I remember well your sister Elizabeth. Hilda had a long and good life. I remember so well your father working for ICAO in Montreal and your hospitable home in Westmount, and Hilda's sustaining friendship when I was doing research at McGill, before I came to MIT.

Aleck Crichton, Beltra, Co. Sligo, Ireland, November 25, 2006 - Dear John, Thank you so much for sending me the sad news of Hilda's death... I can remember Olga [Boissevain van Stockum, Hilda's mother] came to live in the upstairs flat in our home at 26 Fitzwilliam Square with Hilda, Willem and Jan about 1927, or earlier. I remember so well a Christmas party in my grandfather's house with Peter and Billy Kirkwood when Hilda produced a lovely illustrated booklet for them - I think in English verse. I hope you have it. Very entertaining and amusing. Clever as paint! We saw a lot of each other, i.e., my parents Brian & Violet, and my sister Sheila. Jan and I were great friends & competed hard at ping pong! Willem was older & we played chess together. Later he spent time with me here trying to teach me the calculus. In the end he was as gallant as one would expect [Willem piloted a bomber for the RAF in WW II, was shot down and is buried in Laval, France]... Spike and I saw quite a bit of each other and I liked him greatly... Hilda lived to a grand great age. She and Spike were married you say for 62 years. Joan and I had 63 years together. With best wishes to you all, with all my sympathy.

Elisa Halvegård, Sweden, HvS Guest Book, February 23, 2007 - We all have a precious picture of Hilda inside our hearts. I met her in 1975 in England and she made a deep impression on me. I was a bit shy and unsure and spoke a terrible English, and she gave me a lot of love and confidence and read my hand. I still remember what she said. ... She later gave me a copy of The Mitchells in Norwegian... We included each other in our prayers, I as a Buddhist and she as a Christian. ... Now when I heard she had died she somehow visited me. She was about in her thirties and was ice-skating on a Dutch canal, waving and smiling, as to say I am all right, all pain has gone and I can do what I want to do! ... Now in England I read The Borrowed House and The Winged Watchman at my friends house. They don´t age, all young should read them to understand our times better as well as history.

Marcia Murphey, Victorville, Calif. - HvS Guest Book, January 28, 2007 - "When all my children are grown, I'm sure they will remember the stories of The Mitchells and how we enjoyed them together as a family. When I read of her life, I felt humbled, and I hope that I can have just a fraction of the impact on my children's life..."

Shariffa Keshavjee, Nairobi, Kenya - HvS Guest Book, January 11, 2007 - "The picture of this fine old lady in her arm chair, so accepting of life as it unfolded is clearly etched in my mind. She gave me a copy of The Mitchells: Five for Victory. As I stood humbled by her gift, she took a pen and sketched a picture of a young boy with a twig behind him with the casual ease of signing her name. I was touched and have the book by my bedside to date. I learn from her that life is a joy and has to be lived as such without fear and anxiety - with love and grace and thankfulness of all the bounties that God has blessed us with.”

Nan and Don Fisk, Boulder, Colo. - "Your parents came after Eric was born and were really interested in that baby. That visit was the bright spot in those first weeks... One time when we were at their house for dinner, Hilda had finished a self-portrait. It was a good one and I could see her look at it repeatedly. I know the feeling exactly..."

Sydney Harvey, Portlaoise, Ireland - "I, my brother John and our families send our belated sympathies. We have drawings your mother took of our three children Richard (now 29), Victoria (28) and Charlene (24). My wife Valerie and I still live by the family farm, at Derrycarrow in Camross..."

Bishop Javier Echevarria, Prelate of Opus Dei, Rome - "Heartfelt thanks for... the beautiful self-portrait of Hilda. I pray for your whole family, every day..."

Tyna Coles and John Karl, Washington, DC - "[We were] saddened to read about your mother in the NY Times. We wish you peace..."

Dorianne Beyer, New York, NY - "I know that her paintings, particularly those of your families, continue to spread their magic throughout your family's homes."

Judy Kunreuther, New York, NY - "I always will remember your mother with great warmth and affection. She was a remarkable woman... What an incredible legacy she leaves... Steve and I send our heartfelt condolences..."

Daniel and Barbara Fenner, Twickenham, UK - "We first met at St. James's Church Twickenham, introduced by Fr. Tony Potter. We stayed three weeks with Hilda and we had some wonderful days together. She painted Barbara's portrait."


For more information about plans for future memorials, check back on this website or contact: In USA: John Tepper Marlin, +1-212-924-3280. If link doesn't work, use teppermarlin@aol.com. In Canada: Randal Marlin, +1-613-234-2233. In Britain or Ireland: Brigid Marlin, +441-442-864454. In Kenya: Olga Marlin.

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