Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Hiltons: The True Story Of An American Dynasty, J. Randy Taraborrelli

c. 2014

Two years before Donald Trump was elected president, and he plays a role in the history of the Hiltons.

Skimming through the book, it reads a bit like a tabloid or a series of articles from celebrity magazines, but it appears the early history will be very, very interesting.

Family history:

Conrad Hilton: about the same generation as my grandfather, Paul Oksol; Conrad, 1887 - 1969

First generation: four children; about ten years older than my father and his four sibs; for the most part,  born just after the Jazz Age; one exception, Francesca, the oldest of this generation, born in 1947

Second generation: same generation as me and my sibs; these would be the 1950's and 1960's boomers' generation

Third generation: about the same generation as our two older daughters. This Conrad generation would include Paris.


Short vignette: Zsa Zsa Gabor giving her deposition in 1969 when Conrad's will was being contested

Part One: Conrad

Curse of the Ambitious
flashback: 1941; Conrad in Beverly Hills; single after recent divorce; very, very lonely
hotels in New Mexico, Texas, and California; looking to go to New York and international

Humble Beginnings
father: August ("Gus") Halvorsen Hilton -- born in Norway, b. 1854
mother: Mary Genevieve Laufersweiler, born in Iowa; German, b. 1861
strong, rigid Catholics
Conrad: named for his maternal grandfather, Conrad Laufersweiler and the Fort Doge doctor that delivered him, Nicholson -- Conrad Nicholson Hilton
born on Christmas Day, 1887
born in San Antonio, Territory of New Mexico
schooled in San Antonio; at Goss Military Institute in Roswell (later renamed the New Meexico Military Institute)
later to St Michael's College; two years there
book that inspired him at this time: Optimism, Helen Keller
by 1904, "Gus" Hilton rich; part of his wealth from selling a Texas coal mine for $135,000
St Louis World Fair; also site of the Summer Olympic Games, first to be held in the US
scoured California for new home for the family
settled on Long Beach, CA
back and forth to San Antonio to monitor his store, A. H. Hilton
1907: financial panic wiped out Hilton's wealth
family devastated
it was Conrad's suggestion (at age 19) that the family open a hotel; they had a huge house (each child had his/her own room (8 children); he suggested 4 - 5 rooms; the home in San Antonio
within six weeks, news of the "Hilton hotel" reached all the way to Chicago: if you have to break up your sales trip, break it at San Antonio and try to get a room at Hilton's
Conrad took control of the hotel
at age 21, he took control; hotel now called A. H. Hilton and Son
now, back on financial feet, Conrad enrolls a the New Mexico School of Mine at nearly Socorro fairly close to San Antonio; invaluable lessons in higher mathematics for future career, no matter what it was
1911: Territory of New Mexico admitted to the Union; Conrad enters politics; becomes the youngest representative; popular member of Santa Fe high society but incredibly bored
returned to San Antonio, New Mexico: opened the small town's first bank with his own money and some money from friends; the bank failed within a year
1916, age 29: managed his sister/two friends musical trio; again failed
returned to the San Antonio, NM, store
then fate intervened
1915: RMS Lusitania sunk; 1917, US enters war; Conrad commissioned a second lieutenant -- Army assigned him to the Quartermaster Corps in Paris
while in Paris, his father died; car accident; Ford jalopy

to Cisco, Texas, oil boom
idea for a bank falls through
staying at the run-down Mobley hotel; bought it for $40,000 with $35,000 from his mom, "it woudl be the decision of a lifetime"
made use of every bit of space
learned the hotel business; the importance of "service, hospitality"
expanded incredibly fast
by 1923: 500 rooms across Texas; usually small hotels; including the Melba in Ft Worth
soon making $100,000/year -- wanted a hotel with his own name
first hotel with his name: Dallas Hilton, July 26, 1924; he was 37 years old;
first of several Texas hotels over the next ten years: Dallas, Abilene, Long View, Lubbock, El Paso, and Plainview
1927: he was named president of hte Texas Hotel Association

Losing It All
the Crash of October, 1929; the beginning of the Great Depression; everything came to a halt
lost everything; $500,000 in debt; all he had left was the El Paso Hilton
refers back to Optimism by Helen Keller

Georgia On His Mind
the story of meeting Zsa Zsa

Loneliness at the Top
he in NYC; calls Zsa Zsa in Los Angeles; learns she is married

Buying the Town House
corner of Wilshire and South commonwealth in the Westlake district of LA; Conrad's most significant LA purchase up to that time
[fell into disrepair after the LA riots of 1992; closed; sold; now low-income housing]
decides he wants to marry Zsa Zsa; Conrad takes her to meet his 81-year-old mother; they get along fabulously

Catholic Stumbling Block
Zsa Zsa's mother was Jewish; hard to say what her father was; Zsa Zsa was cavalier about religion; Conrad was not
Catholic Church did not recognize his divorce from Mary Barron Conrad

Conrad Breaks the News to Zsa Zsa

Part Two: Mary

The First Mrs Hilton

Business Affairs

Part Three: Zsa Zsa

Conrad's Inner Turmoil

For Love or Money

The Roosevelt

Marriage: His

Marriage: Hers

A Frustrating Business Deal

The Plaza

An Ominous Sign

A Priest's Visit

 Up in Flames

He Never Should Have Done It

What Would It Take?

Zsa Zsa Is Institutionalized

The Divorce

Buying the Stevens and the Palmer House

Zsa Zsa's Daughter

Part Four: Sons of the Father


Raising the Rich

An Offer He Could Refuse

The Question of Francesca

Part Five: Elizabeth

Beautiful Dreamer

Enter: Elizabeth Taylor

The Man Who Bought the Waldorf

Fast Worker

Nicky Takes Elizabeth to Texas

A Party to Celebrate the Caribe Hilton

Nicky and Elizabeth Marry

Honeymoon from Hell

Elizabeth Suffers a Miscarriage

Divorce-- Hollywood Style

Part Six: Spoils of the Rich and Famous

America's Dad

Casa Encantada

"He's Getting Worse"

A Baroness Named Betsy

The Shadow of Her Smile

If Only

Zsa Zsa Finds Her Niche

Flling Elizabeth's Shoes


Magic Words


Marilyn's Party

Dinner at the Manse

Part Seven: The Big Boon

The Hilton Junket

Barron Climbs the Ladder of Success

Nicky's Fast-Paced Life

Eric: From Out of the Shadows

A Troubling Conversation About Francesca

Natalie Wood's Advice


"The Woman to Give My Children Life"

NIcky and Trish Marry

Part Eight: For Love or Money

Zsa Zsa Is Not Wanted

"The Most Beautiful Woman"

Zsa Zsa Teaches Trish About the Hiltons"


Sibling Rivalry on the Rise

Francesca's Summer of Discontent

Olive's Appeal to Zsa Zsa

"Zsa Zsa Who?"

The Simple Life

"It's Going to Be Okay, Brother"

Part Nine: In His Father's House

Nicky Causing Problems

The TWA Merger

"Tired of Being Misunderstood"

Nothing Personal 


A Done Deal

Trish Enters Conrad's Den

Nicky Considers Suing His Family

From Kings to Paupers

Trish Tries Again with Conrad

Marilyn Hilton's Plea to Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Makes a Decision

A Grasp at Happiness

The Death of Nicky Hilton

The Wake at Casa Encantada

Part Ten: Secrets

Conrad's Warning to Zsa Zsa

A Shocking Revelation

Francesca's Requests

"Just in Case"

The Challenge

Part Eleven: Frances

At Long Last Love


A Gentle Nudge

Best Friend's Advice

Family Concerns

The Thorn in His Side

The Marital Agreement

Conrad and Frances Marry

Part Twelve: House of Hilton

Life at the Mansion

"Spoiled Fruit"

Clearing the Air

Barron, Eric, and Francesca

Francesca's Idea

The Great adventure of Her Life

Understanding Zsa Zsa

Death's Door

Conrad Hilton: Rest in Peace

The Way He Wanted It

Part Thirteen: The Fight of Their Lives

Francesca Contests the Will

"Insane Delusion"

Zsa Zsa's Deposition

Smoking Gun?

A Surprise Visitor

Judge's Decision

Part Fourteen: Heir Apparent

Barron's Option

A Windfall for Barron?

The Francesca Factor

Each Other

Eric and Pat Divorce

Barron Is Denied

Donald Trump Makes an Overture

Hostile Takeover?

Trump Meets Hilton

Trump to the Rescue


Part Fifteen: Fini

Zsa Zsa's Lapse in Judgement

Francesca: "The Original Hilton Heiress"


"Rather Silly"?

How Did Conrad Do It?

End of an Era

Marilyn Hilton: Rest in Peace

On the Town with Paris

Epilogue: A Final Toast

Acknowledgments and Source Notes

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Letters Of Ernest Hemingway, Three Volumes -- The Second Volume

First Volume
Second Volume: 1923 - 1925
Third Volume

Second Volume: three-year period that forms the crux of Ernest Hemingway's literary apprenticeship in Paris. Living on the Left Bank with his first wife, Hadley, the author learned about writing from Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound.

1925: In Our Time
1926: The Sun Also Rises (his breakthrough book)
John "Bumby" Hemingway, born

Mark Twain's Autobiography -- Three Volumes

First volume: copyright, 2010, one hundred years following Twain's death, as he directed
Third volume: copyright, 2015

The eulogy, as it seems to be, of Jean, is the last entry of his autobiography, pages 310 - 319 of the third volume. If one has no time to read anything of his autobiography, one needs to make time to read these 20 pages. Jean, perhaps his favorite, died on Christmas Eve morning (or perhaps late in the evening before, 1909). Jean's body was taken from the house Christmas Day evening.

Four children:
  • Langdon, son, died at 19 months of age, diphtheria
  • Susy, 1872 - 1896; at time of Jean's death, mentions that he and his wife had laid to rest Susy thirteen years earlier, age 24 years; full name, Olivia Susan Clemens (her mother was Olivia); nicknamed Livy but family called her Susy; of meningitis;
  • Clara, 1874 - 1962; overseas, in Berlin, when Jean died
  • Jean, 1880 - 1909; living at home with her dad when she died; 29 years old; probably drowned following grand mal seizure; living at home because her dad felt she needed to be watched (due to her frequent grand mal seizures)
Their mother, Olivia, had died 5 1/2 years before Jean died, around1904, that would make it, preceded by the death of three of her four children. Olivia died overseas, Florence, Italy.

Twain was 74 years old at the time of Jean's death.

Family burial plots: Elmira, NY. I will have to confirm this, but apparently Olivia's ancestral home. It was at Olivia's ancestral home, if I have this correct, where Twain and Olivia were married 40 years earlier, according to Twain, which would  make it 1869 -- just a few years after the US Civil War.

Susy died in the Twain house in Hartford; her mother Olivia would never enter it again. Therefore, Twain built a new family house in Redding, CT, two years before Jean's death. Katy was the #1 housekeeper. Susy would ride her horse every morning to collect the mail. I don't know but it sounds like the "station" (post office) would have been about a mile distant. Twain's biographer either lived there or spent much time at the Redding house (Paine, the biographer). 

From marktwainhouse.org:
Most Mark Twain scholars mark Susy’s death in August 1896 as the point at which the lives of the families changed‚ but Jean was diagnosed with epilepsy five months before Susy’s death‚ and this news was also a huge blow. Jean was 15‚ and she was not able to experience the idyllic teenage years her sisters had enjoyed. While in Europe the family sought out doctors to treat Jean in England‚ Sweden‚ Germany‚ and Switzerland‚ but constant travel also took its toll.
Homes in later years:
  • Twain and wife, long-time residents of Hartford, CT
  • home in Redding, CT, where Jean died 
Due to financial setbacks, went to Europe for prolonged period when the two older daughters were young adults; Jean will still only 11; never had the idyllic teen years that her older sisters had.

According to Twain's autobiography, p. 312: "Jean, from her babyhood, was a worshipper of Clara.

A Mark Twain Manuscript In The Last Year Of Jean's Life

In the last year, prior to Jean's death at the end of the year, Mark Twain wrote a long manuscript, which he left untitled, but is referred to as the Ashcroft-Lyon manuscript. It was written over several months, from May to September, 1909.

Ralph W Ashcroft: his business manager since 1907
Isabel V. Lyon, his secretary, housekeeper, and then companion, since 1902

Ashcroft and Lyon: married in March, 1909
Clara suspected them as frauds, taking advantage of Mark Twain
Mark Twain "fired" them and the Ashcroft-Lyon manuscript explains his actions

"Lobster Pot" -- a plot of farmland / homestead that Mark Twain had given to his housekeeper, Isabel V Lyon; in redding CT, apparently  adjoining Mark Twain's property; "Lobster Pot" was a house and 16 acres.

The pages in Volume 3 that cover the Ashcroft-Lyon manuscript: 321 - 440.

Page Separator

I think the three volume autobiography would have been better served with better "divisions." For example, the editor should have place a very obvious section separator between the Ashcroft-Lyon manuscript and the "Explanatory Notes" which begin on page 441.

The "Explanatory Notes" are from page 441 to 636, inclusive.

Then begin the "Appendixes," starting on page 637.

A brief chronology:
  • b. 1835
  • m. 1870, February 2; first home in Buffalo, NY
  • first child, son Langdon, born prematurely November 7, 1870; dies June 2, 1872
  • second child, daughter Olivia Susan (Susy) Clemens born March 19, 1872; she is only a few months old when her brother dies
  • third child, Clara Langdon Clemens born June 8, 1874; never knew she had a brother until told
  • 1874: build a house in Hartford, CT - this is Olivia's house until Susy dies
  • 1880: fourth child, daughter Jean born July 26; must have been born just after they return from full year in Europe
  • 1891 - 1894: financial difficulties: travels and lives in Europe all this time
  • 1895: around-the-world lecture tour
  • 1896: Susy dies of meningitis, in Hartford, CT; Jean is diagnosed with epilepsy; resides in London; anchors: London and Hartford, CT
  • 1897: lives in Weggis (Switzeland) and Vienna
  • 1898: pays creditors in full; lives in Vienna and nearby Kaltenleutgegen
  • 1899: moves to London
  • 1901: returns to America in late 1900; lives in NYC, then Riverdale, the Bronx
  • 1903: moves family to Florence
  • 1905: spends summer in Dublin, New Hampshire, with his daughter, Jean
  • 1908: moves into the Redding house; (Innocence at Home, then Stormfield)
  • 1909: dismisses Ashcroft and Lyon; Jean joins father at Stormfield; Clara marries October 6, 1909; 
  • 1910: severe angina in Bermuda; with Paine, his official biographer, leaves for NYC; dies at Stormfield, April 21, 1910 age, 75 years
Casanova lived 75 years: from 1725 - 1800.
Twain lived 75 years: from 1835 - 1910. Just just missed the Jazz Age, WWI.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

History Of My Life, Giacomo Casanova, Introduction By John Julius Norwich; Everyman's Library

c. 2007 (most recent)

Introduction: ix - xxiii (9 - 23)
Chronology: xxiv - lxvii (24 - 67)
Eleven volumes: 1 -1172
Textual Note: 1173 - 1185
Notes: 1186 - 1402
Index: 1403 - 1429

Author's life, some high points

1725 - 1798 (75 years of one of the most important centuries in US / European history)

1734 - 1737, 9 years old - 12 years old: Padua; to be tutored for career in church; coming of age; falls in love with daughter of teacher; schooled in sex

1737, 12 years old; enrolled at Padua University; studies civil and canon law

1739, 14 years old -- moves to Venice where he lives "largely"

1741, 16 years old -- become an abate; graduates from Padua University

1742, 17 years old -- abandons idea of a life in the church

1743, 18 years old -- busy, busy year; imprisoned; travels to Rome via Naples; affair

1744, 19 years old -- again "expelled" by the church; sent to Constantinople at his own request

1745, 20 years old -- acquires a taste for gambling; loses all his money

1748, 23 years old -- back in Venice; sexual behavior noted by church; again, expelled from Venice

1749, 24 years old -- ends up in Geneva; falls in love with "the love of his life"

1750 - 1752, 25 - 27 years old -- first trip to Paris

1752, 27 years old -- to Dresden

1753, 28 years old -- first play well received; travels Europe, Prague, Vienna, and then back to Venice

1755, 30 years old -- imprisoned

1756, 31 years old -- escapes prison; flees Venice; lives on that story for five years

1757, 32 years old -- second time back to Paris; establishes a state lottery and makes his fortune

1758, 33 years old -- secret mission to Holland on behalf of France to see bonds

1759, 34 years old -- back in Paris; meets Rosseau (unimpressed with Rosseau); departs for Amsterdam

1760, 35 years old -- travels Europe; meets Voltaire

1761, 36 years old -- to Naples

1762, 37 years old -- assists a transgender operation

1763, 38 years old -- Milan, Marseilles, Paris, and then London (probably hoping to set up another state lottery); fleeced by a prostitute; never rich again from this period on

1764, 39 years old -- destitute, leaves England forever

1765, 40 years old -- two audiences with Catherine the Great

1767, 42 years old -- back to Vienna; breaks gambling laws; expelled from the city

1768, 42 years old -- to Madrid

1769, 43 years old -- to France again

1770, 44 years old -- travels Europe again; meets Bonnie Prince Charlie

1771, 45 years old -- admitted to two famous literary Academies; goes to Florence; resolves to change life; fails; expelled from city

1772, 46 years old -- Bologna; works on his translation of the Iliad

I will stop here for now. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Bram Stoker
Barnes and Noble Classics
c. 2003

Jonathan Harker: new solicitor having just passed the bar; sent to County Dracula by his employer, Mr Hawkins
Mina: Harker's fiance
Count Dracula: looking for a place to buy in England; says Mr Hawkins is his friend

From Dracula, new words and comments

Chapter I
  • diligence: a stagecoach used in France and England during the 1700s and 1800s
  • St George's eve: from wiki, St George's Day was a major feast and national holiday in England on a par with Christmas from the early 15th century; April 23, May 6, a moveable feast; at the time considered the most dangerous night of the year; folks were terrified of vampires on this night; vampires most active on eves of St George's Day and St Andrews' Day; vampires and wolves
  • leiter-wagon: a peasant wagon
  • cal├Ęche: drawn by one horse; for two passengers, with driver on own seat on/above the splash board
Chapter II
  • traps: luggage
  • Victorian England: one dined in the afternoon; supped in the evening (explains why Linda made a big deal about dinner at noon; and supper in the evening)
  • Carfax: the name of the estate that Hawkins had found for Count Dracula
  • Kodak: mentions this in passing; does not call it a camera; simply a "Kodak"
Chapter III
  • mentions the Vikings and the Berserkers
  • culverin: a kind of handgun of the 15th and 16th centuries; later, a long cannon
  • half-mothered child:
Chapter IV
  • basilisk: mythic reptile that was said to be able to kill with a single glance
  • devils of the Pit: Satan thrown in to a bottomless pit, Book of Revelation
Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII 
  • the storm; the ship of interest makes it safely to harbor
  • East Cliff, the new searchlight was ready for experiment but had not yet been tried
  • silver sand: fine white sand
  • a nine-day's wonder: something that is of interest for a very short period
Chapter VIII

Monday, September 18, 2017

How The Hippies Saved Physics, David Kaiser, c. 2011

How The Hippies Saved Physics:
Science, Counterculture, and The Quantum Revival
David Kaiser
c. 2011 
DDS: 530.092KAI

See also this post: http://milliondollarliterature.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-age-of-entanglement-when-quantum.html.

Back in 2002, Physics World ranked "science's 10 most beautiful experiments." The list with commentary was featured in The New York Times on September 24, 2002, fifteen years ago.

Here's the list in reverse order, #10 first, going all the way to #1, posted last.
  • Foucault's pendulum, proved that the earth revolved on its axis; 1851: ranked #10
  • Rutherford's discovery of the nucleus, 1911: ranked #9
  • Galileo's experiments with rolling balls down inclined planes, lat 1500s: ranked #8
  • Eratosthenes' measurement of the Earth's circumference, 3rd century BC: ranked #7
  • Cavendish's torsion-bar experiment, determined the gravitational constant, and the weight of the earth, late 1700s: ranked #6
  • Young's light-interference experiment; questioned the theory that light consisted exclusively of particles rather than light, 1803: ranked #5 
  • Newton's decomposition of sunlight with a prism, 1666: ranked $4
  • Millikan's oil-drop experiment; confirmed the existence of the electron and determined its charge, 1909: ranked #3 
  • Galileo's experiment on falling objects, late 1500s: ranked #2
  • Young's double-slit experiment applied to the interference of single electrons, wave-particle duality; a thought experiment until actually carried out in 1961: ranked #1
  • the Cold War nexus of institutions collapsed, other modes of being a physicist crept back in
  • a ragtag crew of young physicists banded together
  • Elizabeth Rauscher and George Weissmann, both graduate students in Berkeley, CA
  • founded an informal discussion group, May 1975
  • Friday afternoons at 4:00 p.m.
  • the two students had ties to the Theoretical Physics Division of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
  • the "Fundamental Fysiks Group"
  • they cultivated a new set of generous patrons, ranging from the Central Intelligence Agency to self-made entrepreneurs like Werner Erhard, guru of the fast-expanding "human potential movement"
  • the Fundamental Fysiks Group cared bout new institutional niches in which to pursue their big-picture discussions
  • most important became the Esalen Institute of Big Sur, CA
  • Fred Coppola, Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey
  • Jack Sarfatti -- and this may be the individual that this book focuses on
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • the city's bohemian North Beach
  • eminent philosopher Sir Karl Popper
  • "how do scientists draw boundaries between legitimate science and something else?" -- Popper
  • "hippie": a few journalists in San Francisco and New York City coined the term "hippie" in the mid-1960s -- to describe the rising youth culture that was mutating beyond the "hipsters" fo the 1950s Beat generation
  • left-leaning hippie movement; "New Left"; Students for a Democratic Society; the Weather Underground
  • LSD, CIA, Kesey
  • New Age, UFOs
  • the group of hippies who formed the Fundamental Fysiks Group saves physics in three ways
  • first: concerned style or method; free-wheeling speculation ala Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, and Schrodinger
  • second: latched unto "Bell's Theorem" and rescued it from a decade of unrelenting obscurity
  • third: concerted push on Bell's Theorem and quantum entanglement instigated major breakthroughs -- the third way they saved physics: the most important breakthrough: the "no-cloning theorem" -- a new insight into quantum theory that merged from spirited efforts to wrestle with hypothetical machines dreamed up by members of the group; the theorem: it is impossible to produce perfect copies (or "clones") of an unknown or arbitrary quantum state
Chapter 1
"Shut Up and Calculate"
  • history of physics
Chapter 2
"Spooky Actions at a Distance"
  • more history
  • starts with a quote from John S Bell, 1964
Chapter 3
  • now the real story begins with the Fundamental Fysiks Group
  • opens with a quote from George Weissmann, 2008
  • John Clauser
  • much, much more
Chapter 4
From [wave function] to Psi
  • opens with a quote from John Sarfatti, 1974
  • again, a lot about Uri Geller -- were they all taken in by the scam that even Johnny Carson saw through?
Chapter 5
New Patrons, New Forums
  • funding from CIA, DOD
Chapter 6
Spreading (and Selling) The Word
  • Esalen's hot tubs
Chapter 7
Zen and the Art of Textbook Publishing
  • catalyzed by Ira Einhorn and his contacts at major publishing firms, helped launch a new type of popular book in the 1970s: accessible books that compared striking features of modern physics, such as Bell's theorem and nonlocality, with staples of the counterculture and New Age revivals, from parapsychology to eastern mysticism
  • [Steve Jobs: b. 1955; almost exactly my contemporary; in the 1970s, in the Berkeley area, he would have been 18 to 22 years old -- right in the middle of all this.]
Chapter 8
  • Sarfatti's dramatic break with Weerner Erhard and est in the summer of 1977
Chapter 9
From FLASH to Quantum Encryption
  • would it be possible to send signals faster than light?
  • RSA
  • Flash
Chapter 10
The Roads from Berkeley
  • after meeting every week for nearly four years, the Fundamental Fysiks Group disbanded early in 1979
  • both Elizabeth Rauscher and George Weissmann, the group's co-founders, had completed their dissertations and were no longer available to manage the group's logisitcs
  • Henry Stapp tried to keep it going; did not have enough time
  • A. Lawrence ("Lawry") Chickering, graduate of Yale Law School; had worked for the conservative magazine National Review; returned to CA to work for Governor Ronald Reagan
  • near the end of Reagan's term, Chickering founded a new political think tank in San Francisco, the Institute for Contemporary Studies, and convinced such leading conservatives as Edwin Meese and Caspar Weinberger to join the Institute's board
  • Chickering quickly became known as the intellectual leader of the "New Age Right"
  • personal responsibility
  • Sarfatti's swing from political left to political right
  • other members of the group discussed; where they ended up

Monday, September 11, 2017

Greene & Greene: Masterworks

Greene & Greene: Masterworks
Bruce Smith and Alexander Vertikoff
c. 1998

The Charles Green House, Pasadena
  • 1901 
  • he called it Oakholm
  • "home of the week" -- LA Times -- August 7, 2005
  • the first of 11 Greene and Greene homes to be built in the Park Place Tract, which has the greatest concentration of the brothers' work in any neighborhood. The Gamble House, the James Culbertson House and the Duncan-Irwin House are among nearby Greene and Greene properties.
  • Pasadena, near the arroyo 
The Culbertson House
  • 1902
  • on the edge of the arroyo
  • Culbertson: one of the wealthy outsiders, an investor in Michigan lumber who wintered in Pasadena
The Darling House
  • for Mary Reeve Darling
  • Claremont, CA
  • first commission outside of Pasadena
The Camp House
  • 1904
  • for Edgar Camp, a prominent lawyer in the midwest
  • Grandview Avenue, Sierra Madre, a neighbor of Pasadena
The Reeve House
  • 1904
  • for Jennie A. Reeve, a relative of Mary Darling's
  • only the second commission outside Pasadena
  • booming seaside resort of Long Beach
The Robinson House
  • 1905
  • for lawyer-financier Henry Robinson, a close friend of Herbert Hoover's
  • a member of the "banker's pool" that financed the 1920s boom in Los Angeles
  • Greene was carrying out alterations to the home of Robinson's mentor, the millionaire David Tod Ford when it was asked to build next door for the Robinsons
  • looks over the Arroyo Seco
The Garfield House
The Brandt-Serrurier House
  • 1905
  • Altadena
  • for A. C. Brandt, a respected local contractor who had already worked on several Greene houses including the home they designed the previous year for Lucretia Garfield, the widow of the assassinated president
  • Brandt did not move into the house; he immediately sold it to a wealthy Dutchman, Iwan Serrurier, the latter already familiar with the Greenes' work having hired them to design another house as a speculative venture
  • the house was later moved across the stree
The Bentz House
  • 1906
  • for John Bentz, a wealthy small business owner
  • Pasadena
The DeForest House
  • 1906
  • for Caroline DeForest
  • lived there for only a short time before selling it to two sisters, Isabell Tabor and Agnes Tabor Vanderkloot
  • 75 years later, 1986, heirs sold it
The Bolton House
  • 1906
  • Dr William and Alice Bolton; asked Greenes to design another house for them
  • their earlier home was built in 1899
  • new home to be on the shoulder of a slight hill overlooking Pasadena's city center
  • Dr Bolton died suddenly; before the house was completed
  • Alice rented out the house to Belle Barlow Bush
  • sold in 1917 to James Culbertson's sisters, Cordelia, Kate, and Margaret, who had decided to move from their 1911 Greene and Greene home, a house twice the size
  • new owners in the 1950s
  • scheduled for demolition; saved when the City of Pasadena and the Pasadena Historical Society took an eleventh-hour stand
The Duncan-Irwin House
  • original date not stated
  • begins deep in the canyon that runs next to it
  • Katherine Duncan probably had it moved to the site overlooking the arroyo about 1901
  • 1906, new owern, Theodore Irwin
The Van Rossem-Neill House
  • 1903
  • young, well-to-do widow Josephine van Rossem commissioned the house as an investment property
  • not far from Arroyo Terrace in Pasadena
  • 1906, James Neill bought the house
The Blacker House
  • 1907
  • built for a wealthy lumber baron's family in Pasadena
  • first of what the scholar Randell Makinson has called Greene and Greene's "ultimate bungalows"
  • by 1947 both Robert and Nellie Blacker were gone
  • a multimillionaire from Texas bought it for $12 million and started to remove the interior before the city of Pasadena stopped any more desecration and new owners renewed it/restored it to original house
The Ranney House
  • 1907
  • set back from the street on the corner of Pasadena's busy Orange Grove Boulevard and the quieter Arroyo Terrace
  • Mary Ranney's house: the last of the cluster of Greene and Greene houses built in the Park Place Tract
  • the area later dubbed Little Switzerland
  • a suggestion of old Swiss, but also an intimation of Japan
  • the client was a college-educated woman who had recently moved to Pasadena from Chicago with her parents and started working for the Greenes
  • her name on two Greene and Greene homes; unprecedented (p. 138)
The Gamble House
  • 1908
  • the last of a number of homes in a small Pasadena neighborhood
  • each house was individually -- uniquely -- designed for its owner
  • the Gamble House was the last
  • for the Cincinnati Gambles of the Procter and Gamble Company
  • the only Greene and green house now open as a museum
  • Mary, David, and two sons
The Spinks House
  • 1909
  • built by Henry when his older brother Charles went to England for seven months -- rest and relaxation
  • similar to the nearby Crow-Crocker House built during the same period
  • constructed on pasture land just two years after and a short walk down the street from teh Blacker House, the home for Margaret B. S. Clapham Spinks and the retired judge William Ward Spinks who had just moved from Victoria, Canada
The Pratt House
  • 1909
  • Ojai
  • another Greene ultimate bungalow
  • Charles Pratt was a wealthy New Yorker who was one of the founders of Standard Oil and a half owner of the nearby Foothills Hotel
  • called his house Casa Barranca and used it for wintering in Califroina
  • his wife, Mary, was the Vassar classmate of Caroline Thorsen and her sister, Nellie Blacker
The Thorsen House
  • 1909
  • now a restaurant?
  • panoramic sweep of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge
  • for William Thorsen, his father, a sea captain; who had left Norway at age 14 to sail as a cabin boy
  • Thorsen  himself, a lumber baron, as his father had become; and his wife, Caroline
  • Caroline, a daughter of one of the great lumbermen of Michigan
  • for his second house in California, he turned to the Pasadena architects who had designed a home for his wife's sister, Nellie Blacker, and her lumber-baron husband, Robert Blacker
  • the Thorsens lived there until their deat in 1942
  • stone's throw from the University of California; furniture sold off
  • bought by the Sigma Phi fraternity
  • the fraternity has spearheaded a restoration and preservation campaign
  • 1996: Sigma Phi and the Gamble House sponsored an exhibition that for the first time in more than a half century reunited the Greene and Greene-designed furniture with the house
The Anthony House
  • 1909
  • on Wilshire Boulevard
  • by 1923 in danger of being torn down
  • silent flm star Norman Kerry stepped into purchase it and had Henry Greene supervise a move to a quieter location in Beverly Hills
  • Earle Anthony, the original owner, was a Packard dealer who later had dealerships in northern and southern California as well as several radio stations
The Culbertson Sisters House
  • 1917
  • the house for the three Culbertson sisters was too difficult for them to maintain; they had moved in in 1911, but sold it in 1917
  • the new owner of the house was Mrs Dudley Allen; she was so impressed with the house, she went up to Carmel, CA, to see the Greenes about another house
  • this was to be the last of the large commissions for the Greenes 
  • it is not easily recognizable as a Greene house
  • unlike the Blacker House across the street, the exterior is not redwood timbering and shingle with clinker brick and cobblestone, it was constructed of earth-toned Gunite, a stuccolike concret material applied with a pressure gun; the roof is of Ludowici-Celadon porcelain tiles glazed in variations of green with the occasioanl dash of burnt red
The Fleishhackler House
  • 1911
  • for Mortimer and Bella Fleishhackler; he, a paper company executive
  • looking to build in Woodside, south of San Francisco
The Ware House
  • 1913
  • Pasadena
  • one of only two houses the Greenes designed in 1913
  • the company would last another decade but the brothers were growing apart; Charles wanted to be a writer; and Henry was left to run the office
  • what work emerged, was mostly Henry's 
  • for Henry Ware, from Winettka, IL
  • to Pasadena for health reasons
  • the Greene's Phillips house built in 1906 was right across the street
  • it recalled James Culbertson's home from 1902
The Ladd House
  • 1913
  • Ojai
  • Charles was working on the Fleishhacker House in Ojai
  • Henry left in charge of the Ladd House, just like he was alone with the Ware House
  • the Ware House recalled what they had known in Boston, but the Ladd House returned to their rustic motif
The James House
  • 1916 Charles Greene moves to Carmel where he spends the rest of his life
  • did more work there than just this one house, but this would be his masterpiece
  • patron, D. L. James, an aspiring playwright; wealthy merchant of fine imported china, glass, silver; lived in Kansas City and only came out to Carmel in the summer; both he and Charles Greene wanted an isolated, bohemian getaway
  • it looks like a Mary Colter abode; it is incredible
The Charles Greene Studio
  • Charles moves to Carmel in 1916
  • rents until 1920 when he has own, new, little redwood house
  • 1923, Greene and Greene dissolved; at age 54 moves into his own studio

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Birth Of The Pill

  • February, 1955
  • James Reson
  • New York Times 

The Birth of the Pill: 
How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution
Jonathan Eig 
c. 2014, 

I assume the four crusaders are:
  • Sanger
  • McCormick
  • Pincus
  • Rock 
Honorable mention: Dr Edris Rice-Wray
Preface to the book:
Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(which was rather late for me) --
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles' first LP. -- Philip Larkin, "Annus Mirabilis"
For me, sexual intercourse began a decade later than for Philip Larkin. By then "the pill" was ubiquitous. It was only later -- much later -- did I really understand the social issues associated with the development and the subsequent use of the pill.

It would not necessarily have been an easy choice for young women to start taking "the pill" in the late 60s or the 70s.

I only knew a few details about the first "love of my life." Our whirlwind courtship was very, very short; and ended too quickly. We parted but I never forgot her. It was our relationship that brought home in very real and very personal terms the meaning of "unrequited love." I will take that "unrequited love" to my grave. She died some years ago, in her prime, of a rare heart disease, complications of a heart transplant. We never got in touch after we departed.

Harry Chapin in "Taxi" tells our story, except her path and my path never crossed again.

So, now in the autumn of my life, to coin a phrase, I try to piece together her biography, something Virginia Woolf might do  (think Mrs Dalloway).

She was a feminist at the time the feminist movement was at its peak. She asked me to read Open Marriage. We discussed monogamy and faithfulness but also independent lives even after marriage. Those "things" converged and all of a sudden I find myself in my "Margaret Sanger phase" and would love to have someone to talk to about her story/life.

It was in my "Margaret Sanger phase" that I stumbled upon Jonathan Eig's book. Reading some of it suggests it will help me put together a biography of the first "love of my life."

Another example of this biography involves the Broadway play Hamilton. While watching a documentary of the play, I learn that the Burr-Hamilton duel was on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River just opposite 42nd Street, NYC.

Looking at the map, I see there is now a Hamilton Park in that area. It is but a 30-minute drive from where the first "love of my life" grew up. I can only assume her father took the family there at least once on some weekend holiday. If not, it certainly becomes part of the make-believe biography I am imagining.

Notes from the Jonathan Eig book will help me better understand that short but tumultuous time of our lives.

Chapter One: A Winter Night

I'm in "my Margaret Sanger phase," and there she is, at the very beginning of the book. The first person named: Margaret Sanger: "She was an old woman who loved sex and she had spent forty years seeking a way to make it better." Born, 1879; died, 1966. In 1950 she would have been 71 years old.

In 1950, her last hope; at age 71 to meet Gregory Goodwin Pincus.

She: one of the legendary crusaders of the 20th century.
He: a scientist with a genius IQ and a dubious reputation; 47 years old.

1949: Hugh Hefner, a graduate student in sociology at Northwestern University, read Kinsey's report (1948) and wrote a term paper arguing for an end to the repression of sex and sexuality in America.


Chapter Two: A Short History of Sex

Chapter Three: Spontaneous Ovulations

Chapter Four: A Go-to-Hell Look

Chapter Five: Love and Fighter

Chapter Six: Rabbit Tests

Chapter Seven: "I'm a Sexologist"

Chapter Eight: The Socialite and the Sex Maniac

Chapter Nine: A Shotgun Question

Chapter Ten: Rock's Rebound

Chapter Eleven: What Makes a Rooster Crow?

Chapter Twelve: A Test in Disguise

Chapter Thirteen: Cabeza de Negro

Chapter Fourteen: The Road to Shrewsbury

Chapter Fifteen: "Weary & Depressed"

Chapter Sixteen: The Trouble With Women

Chapter Seventeen: A San Juan Weekend
  • a great, great chapter to read in light of Hurricane Maria (2017) and Puerto Rico; helps one understand the relationship between the US and Puerto Rico
Chapter Eighteen: The Women of the Asylum

Chapter Nineteen: John Rock's Hard Place

Chapter Twenty: As Easy As Aspirin
  • is this the climactic chapter? no pun intended; I don't know the answer; I am writing this as I am reading the book and reading Chapter Twenty; it's an incredible chapter
  • development of the pill (clandestinely) was happening in lockstep with the polio vaccine ("Polio Is Conquered" -- Pittsburgh Press -- 1955)
  • 1954, three compounds for Pincus to consider
  • norethindrone, Carl Djerassi, Syntex, Mexican-based drug company
  • norethynodrel, Frank Colton, Searle
  • a third, unnamed drug, Pfizer; but Pfizer's owners were Catholic and refused to let Pincus test the compound as a potential contraceptive
  • side-effects
  • norethindrone: some women developed slightly masculine characteristics
  • Colton's formula did not; unexplained; compounds so similar
  • Pincus selected Searle's compound, norenthyndrel
Chapter Twenty-One: A Deadline to Meet
  • March, 1955: Pincus had deadline; he promised to announce his "birth control pill" in Tokyo, on October 28, 1955 
  • March, 1955: Pincus had not yet settled on a precise formula for this pill, nor had it even been tested on more than a handful of women
  • he was not bothered; after all, he had seven months to do all that
  • he decided to test both norethynodrel (SC-4642) and norethindrone; both more powerful than the natural progesterone and seemed to work even if taken orally
  • tested on 23 female medical students in Puerto Rico; if they refused, their instructor said their refusal would affect their grades
  • requirements: diaries, urine test, temperature readings, Pap smears
  • half dropped out: the pills made them sick or the requirements were so "bothersome"
  • Plan B: nurses at San Juan City Hospital -- they refused
  • Plan C: inmates at Vega Baja in Puerto Rico -- the inmates refused
  • Sanger was 76 years old, living in Tucson
  • page 206: "As he prepared to depart for Tokyo, Pincus was about to make one of the greatest bluffs in the history of modern science. He was preparing to announce that an oral contraceptive for humans was nearly ready when, in fact, had not yet decided which form of the contraceptive worked best and at which dose. If that weren't enough, he still hadn't found enough women willing to serve as test subjects."
Chapter Twenty-Two: "The Miracle Tablet Maybe"

Chapter Twenty-Three: Hope to the Hopeless

Chapter Twenty-Four: Trials

Chapter Twenty-Five: "Papa Pincus's Pink Pills for Planned Parenthood"

Chapter Twenty-Six: Jack Searle's Big Bet

Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Birth of the Pill

Chapter Twenty-Eight: "Believed to Have Magical Powers"

Chapter Twenty-Nine: The Double Effect

Chapter Thirty: La Senora de las Pastillas

Chapter Thirty-One: An Unlikely Pitch Man

Chapter Thirty-Two: "A Whole New Bag of Beans"

Chapter Thirty-Three: Climax