Greenwich Historical Society – Over Here and Over There: The Popular Music of WWI

On February 26, 2015, 7:00 pm and Sunday, March 1, 2015, 4:00 pm the Greenwich Historical Society is presenting a program on music during WWII. The Society is located on 39 Strickland Road in Cos Cob. The event will take place in the Vanderbilt Education Center on the grounds of the Society. Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers. Purchase tickets at or call 203-869-6899, Ext. 10.


Music played a key role in the development of popular opinion during WWI. Lyrics and sheet music art were often designed to influence public opinion As the political climate shifted from neutrality to support for the allies, so did mainstream music.

Prior to US involvement in 1917 many songs supported neutrality with more than one song invoking a mother’s love as a reason enough for a son to stay at home. After 1917, when the United States joined the conflict, patriotic themes became more popular.

Led by Stefanie Kies and Bea Crumbine, the program will juxtapose performances of period music with background information and slides. Also, performing are vocalist Dan Swartz and John Goldschmid on piano.

The Millionaires’ Unit Documentary Film Screening

On January 29, the Greenwich Historical Society is hosting the screening of The Millionaires’ Unit Documentary from 3 pm to 5 pm. at the Vanderbilt Education Center on the grounds of the Society. The tickets are Members: $10; nonmembers: $15 and can be purchased at or by calling 203-869-6899, Ext. 10.


The Millionaires’ Unit is the story of an elite group of college students from Yale who formed a private air militia in preparation for America’s entry into World War One. Known as the First Yale Unit and dubbed “the millionaires’ unit” by the New York press, they became the founding squadron of the U.S. Naval Air Reserve and were among the first to fight for the United States in the Great War. Using the squadron members’ letters and diaries, the documentary chronicles the coming of age of these young pioneers against the backdrop of an event that signaled America’s emergence as a world power.

The film focuses on their service and sacrifice and chronicles a great, untold story of early aviation in America. The documentary was inspired by the book The Millionaires’ Unit by Marc Wortman. After seven years in development and production by co-producers Ron King and Darroch Greer, the film is being presented to the public to commemorate the centennial of World War I.

June fun at Greenwich Historical Society

The Greenwich Historical Society has planned four fun filled events for the month of June beginning with a lecture on June 10 by Dr. Jackson Lears on Two Gilded Ages from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Vanderbilt Education Center.

Dr. Jackson Lears
Dr. Jackson Lears

For some years, historians have theorized that we are living in a second Gilded Age, a reprise of the era that occurred a century ago. The decades between the1980s and the 2010s hold a remarkable similarity to those between the 1880s and the 1910s, both periods characterized by unregulated economic expansion, flagrant corruption on Wall Street, growing class divisions, the concentration of wealth within a conspicuously consuming elite and a series of imperial adventures (or misadventures) abroad.

Dr. Jackson Lears will examine the parallels and differences between the two eras to explain why the growth of inequality 100 years ago provoked widespread demands for reform among the populace (even among the well-to-do, motivated then by a paternalistic sense of responsibility), while contemporary comment on the situation is largely absent.


Connecticut’s Open House Day falls on June 14 this year and the Greenwich Historical Society is planning a collage workshop that will focus on creating two-dimensional collages crafted from papers, fabrics, photographs, found objects and natural materials such as dried grasses, twigs, leaves, or petals. All materials will be provided, but participants may also bring copies of favorite photos, newspaper articles or other items to incorporate into their work. The workshop will take place in the Vanderbilt Education Center from noon to 2:00 pm, and all ages are welcome.


On June 21, from 1:30 to 3:00 pm the Greenwich Historical Society is planning a two-wheeled adventure and will provide a historical bike tour of Greenwich Point as a part of the annual Experience the Sound event. Participants are invited to explore the rich history of Greenwich point looking at everything from its geology to the many features that make it the beloved town park it is today. Participants will meet at the first parking lot on the right after entering the park. As the group travels around the point they will stop to hear stories, take a closer look at some of the ruins and see vintage photos from the Historical Society’s collection. There will also be a scavenger hunt for children. Participants must bring their own bike and helmet and a water bottle is highly recommended. No reservations required and participation is free, but a park or guest pass is required for entry to Greenwich Point. All ages are welcome but children must be able to ride a bike.


The month ends with a Festa Al Fresco, on June 29 from 4 pm to 7 pm a potluck supper to celebrate the history and the community of Italian immigrants who settled in Greenwich in the early twentieth century. The family “festa” was launched last year as part of the Historical Society’s programming for the exhibition From Italy to America and in celebration of the Town of Greenwich’s twinning ( “Gemallagio”) with the Italian cities of Rose and Morra di Sanctis, where many of Greenwich’s Italian early immigrants came from. The event proved so successful that it’s back by popular demand. Guests are invited to demonstrate their culinary skills and to show off favorite family recipes (enough to share with 6-8) in one of four categories: antipasti/appetizers, pasta/main dishes, sides and salads or desserts. Wine, musical entertainment and crafts for kids are included in the price of admission. Mangiamo!

For more information about the Greenwich Historical Society visit

Summer Photography Exhibit at Greenwich Historical Society

Town Hall from Greenwich Avenue by Mary Waldron
Town Hall from Greenwich Avenue by Mary Waldron

“The Perspective of Time” is a collaboration between the Greenwich Historical Society and the Stamford Photography Club. The show of juried images is the result of an invitation by the Greenwich Historical Society to members of the Photography Club to submit photographs that portray aspects of Greenwich history through the eye of the lens. The images will be on display at the Historical Society’s Storehouse Gallery through September 1, 2013.

Table Shuffleboard at Bruce Park Grill by Mike Harris
Table Shuffleboard at Bruce Park Grill by Mike Harris

The varied and fascinating images represent a visual commentary on the ever-changing face of the community–its structures, landscape and institutions–and how aspects of the town as they are today may not survive the next generation. Since its invention, photography has been an invaluable medium for chronicling historical events. But photography can also raise the understanding of history to another level by evoking a sense of time and place on a more visceral level. This exhibition
exemplifies this.

Glenville Bridge by Jean-Marc Bara
Glenville Bridge by Jean-Marc Bara

The Greenwich Historical Society is open Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 4:00 pm. Admission is free to members and children under six. $10 for adults; $8 for seniors and students. Admission is free to all the first Wednesday of every month. For more information call 203-869-6899 or FOr area information

Artist’s Studio Restored

Julius LeBlanc Stewart,
In the Artist’s Studio, 1875, oil on
canvas, 21½ x 28¾ in. Andrea family
private collection, photograph courtesy
Sotheby’s, New York.

To celebrate the restoration of the room at Bush-Holley House that served at various times as the studio of Childe Hassam, John Twachtman and Elmer MacRae, the Greenwich Historical Society will present an exhibition exploring the changing concept of the artist’s studio. Representations of an American art student’s Parisian garret, William Merritt Chase’s opulent Tenth Street studio in New York, Dorothy Ochtman’s view of her father in the studio they shared in their Cos Cob home and the repurposed farm sheds used by artists in Old Lyme: these and other paintings will suggest the wide range of spaces in which turn-of-the-century artists worked and will provide a cultural context for the restored studio.

The studio originally doubled as bedroom and workspace for its occupants. To augment the natural light from windows on the northern and eastern exposures, the owners, the Holley family, added a dormer around 1900. Illuminated by windows on three sides, the room offered views of the abundant gardens behind the house, the millpond to one side and the bustling harbor across the street. Now when you visit the Bush-Holley house, you can more easily imagine the vistas the artists enjoyed.

Dorothy Ochtman,
A Corner of the Studio, 1928, oil on canvas,
30 x 25 in. National Academy Museum,
New York, Bequest of Dorothy Ochtman
Del Mar, 1971, 1749-P.

In addition to depictions of American artists’ studios in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the exhibition presents the models for Childe Hassam’s work in Cos Cob and a sampling of work done outside the studio in the environs by Hassam, John H. Twachtman and Elmer MacRae. A complementary exhibition, Historic Artists’ Homes & Studios, on loan from Chesterwood (the home and studio of Lincoln Memorial sculptor Daniel Chester French), will feature photographs that focus on the fascinating and eclectic living and workspaces of famous American artists including (among others) N.C. Wyeth, Jackson Pollock and Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

Attributed to Frederick MacMonnies
Atelier at Giverny, 1896 or 1897, oil on canvas,
32 x 17 in. Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.91,
Photography ©Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago.

A Good Light: The Artist’s Studio in Cos Cob and Beyond will be on exhibition through January 6, 2013. Wednesday through Sunday, Noon to 4:00 pm. Members: free; nonmembers: $10; seniors and students $8 The Greenwich Historical Society Storehouse Gallery is located on 39 Strickland Road in Cos Cob.

For area information

How Do You Know A Hero ? Find Out November 13th !

On Sunday, November 13th, The Greenwich Historical Society will host a paper crafts workshop led by award-winning children’s author, illustrator and educator Timothy D. Bellavia.

The How Do You Know a Hero? workshop was designed to help kids understand the important role first responders play in daily life. This workshop is a new spin on Bellavia’s well known franchise We Are All The Same Inside® workshop in which children create individual characters with the goal of learning to recognize our common humanity while embracing diversity.

How Do You Know a Hero? will challenge boys and girls to design their very own action figures by transforming plain templates into police officers, firefighters and paramedics. Kids will deck out their heroes with uniforms, badges and other pint-sized accoutrements replicated from objects and photos showcased in the Historical Society’s current exhibition Everyday Heroes: Greenwich First Responders. They’ll then set their creations’ heroic feats against scenes from the exhibition.

The workshop is $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers and will be held at 1:00, 2:30 and 4:00 pm. Please note that reservations required.

For additional information, please visit or call 203-869-6899, Ext. 10.