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Sam Gold is an Apple fanboy.
For his bar mitzvah, he chose a visit to San Francisco — and the company’s headquarters — over a party.
His YouTube channel covered Apple the way the British press covers Harry and Meghan.
But Sam’s greatest accomplishment may be The (Unofficial) Apple Archive. Painstakingly and lovingly, using tools like the Wayback Machine, he amassed over 15,000 print and TV ads, keynote speeches, internal training videos and other material — even macOS and iOS wallpapers. The earliest is from 1979.
Previously, the material was posted on his own YouTube channel, and a Google Drive folder. Earlier this month, he uploaded all the video — nearly a terabyte of data* — to Vimeo.
Last week, the $1 trillion company sent him hundreds of takedown notices. Apple had removed nearly every video. Just 200 or so remain.
Sam is a Staples High School senior.
The news rocketed around the internet. The Verge — Vox Media’s tech news network — noted:
The takedowns shouldn’t really surprise anyone, since 1) these videos do presumably all belong to Apple, not Gold, 2) companies generally have a duty to protect their intellectual property, and 3) because Gold and Apple have seemingly been playing a game of whack-a-mole for a while now.
First came shock. “Do you know what it’s like getting 700 email notifications on your wrist in like 2 minutes?” Sam asked The Verge, referring to his (of course) Apple Watch. “Your wrist sorta goes numb from the vibrations.”
Then Sam fought back.
“My videos may be down but my spirit is up,” the homepage of Sam’s Apple Archives reads. “Standby please.”
Sam — who has not heard directly from Apple or its lawyers, despite emailing Apples’s VP of marketing communications — told The Verge that company employees, both past and present, have shown “overwhelming interest and support for what I’m doing.”
He understands that Apple “doesn’t dwell in the past.” But, he adds, “public company history preservation is invaluable for their devoted consumer base and researchers alike.”.
Sam would love to work with Apple, to create an official archive.
But for now, he’s figuring out how to get his massive archives back online.
Any copyright lawyers want to help? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a bonus, Sam will help you with any tech questions you have, for the rest of your life.
*Exactly how much is a terabyte? “A shitload,” Sam explains.
The United States has never had a female president.
Then again, 101 years ago women were not allowed to vote.
As the nation celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment — women’s suffrage was ratified in 1920 — the Westport Library joins in. A year-long series of events looks back on that then-controversial decision.
They’ll also examine the current voting landscape. A century after half the country finally joined participatory democracy, our country grapples with issues like voter suppression, and the security of our ballots.
The library’s programs are part of its first-ever year-long WestportREADS initiative. Formerly a one-month event, it’s now expanded into a full campaign: “Westport Suffragists — Our Neighbors, Our Crusaders.”
More than a year ago, Westporters Lucy Johnson and Marcia Falk asked director Bill Harmer if the library could note the upcoming 19th Amendment anniversary.
He embraced the idea, and suggested it fall under the WestportREADS umbrella. The program encourages the entire community to read the same book, and organizes events around that theme.
Last fall’s kickoff featured journalist Elaine Weiss. She discussed her book “The Woman’s Hour,” a riveting account of the far-harder-than-it-should-have-been political and social drive to pass the amendment.
The next book event focuses on fiction. On Tuesday, March 3 (7 p.m.), Kate Walbert welcomes Women’s History Month with a discussion of “A Short History of Women.”
Her novel explores the ripples of the suffrage movement through one family, starting in 1914 at the deathbed of suffragist Dorothy Townsend. It follows her daughter, watches her niece choose a more conventional path, and completes the family portrait with a great-granddaughter in post-9/11 Manhattan.
But that’s only part of the WestportREADS schedule.
Here are just a few other events:
- The League of Women Voters tells its story (February 9, 1:30 p.m., Westport Woman’s Club)
- “Battle of the Sexes” video, about the groundbreaking tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs (February 18, 2 p.m., Westport Library Komansky Room)
- Opening reception for an exhibit on Westport women central to the suffrage movement (March 6, 6 p.m., Westport Library Sheffer Room)
- Talk about Lillian Wald, social activist and founder of the Henry Street Settlement who retired to Westport (March 18, 7 p.m., Westport Library Forum).
Authors, historians and journalists will present other panels and exhibits through August. That month — marking final ratification of the 19th Amendment (you go, Tennessee!) — WestportREADS sponsors a final, big program. Details will be announced soon.
Working on this project has been enlightening, Johnson says.
“The fight for suffrage began long before the 20th century,” she notes. “It took a long time. But without television, the internet or social media — through sheer will and determination, with marches and lobbying, state by state — people got it done. It was an amazing feat.”
The library has partnered with the League of Women Voters. Representatives will be at every event, to enroll new voters.
All women are encouraged to register.
All men, too.
(For more information on the “Westport Suffragists” WestportREADS program, click here.)
The Westport Senior Center is filled with active, interesting retirees.
Next week — after 15 years of serving them — Ben Palmer joins their ranks.
In 2005, Ben was hired as Senior Center receptionist. He did much more, and was rewarded with a new title: administrative assistant.
According to director Sue Pfister, “Ben has greeted thousands of seniors. He makes each and every one feel special. His gregarious demeanor and warm smile makes even the most hesitant feel welcomed and comfortable.”
Like clockwork, Sue says, Ben shows up in his Hyundai Kona (he misses his Saab terribly) at 7 a.m. He makes sure everything is set to go when the doors open at 7:30.
Throughout the day Ben answers numerous questions, takes many reservations and gives advice. His opinions are valued and respected.
Devoted member Paula Schooler calls him “patient, kind and efficient.”
After the Senior Center, Ben’s second love is visiting friends in Provincetown.
“Ben, you’ve earned your sunsets,” Sue says. “Go and enjoy your next chapter. Thanks for all you gave to the Senior Center, and the town of Westport!”
This week — as the world remembers the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz — alert “06880” readers Morley Boyd, Wendy Crowther and John F. Suggs share a stunning World War II discovery.
Last week, the Westport Museum of History & Culture opened a compelling exhibit about Sigrid Schultz. “Dragon Lady” honors the pioneering female reporter, social justice activist — and longtime Westporter — who played an important role in exposing the growing Nazi threat during the lead-up to the war, and beyond.
Yet no one knew how truly perilous that role actually was for Schultz — until now.
Boyd, Crowther and Suggs have spent several years researching this remarkable, often overlooked hero. In this exclusive story for “06880,” they share a stunning discovery. They write:
Serving as the Chicago Tribune’s Berlin bureau chief from 1926 to 1941, Sigrid Schultz masked her intense loathing for the Nazis in order to cultivate contacts at the highest level of the Third Reich. Among her many accomplishments, Schultz interviewed Adolf Hitler several times. She also fearlessly cast a barb at Hermann Göring for his failed attempt to have her arrested.
She boldly covered the persecution of Jews, was one of the first to report on abuses at the German concentration camps, and was once called “Hitler’s greatest enemy.”
She also had a big secret: She was Jewish.
This fact appears to have been missed by every scholar and historian who has studied her thus far — including her own biographer, and the Westport Museum.
In 1938, as tensions escalated in Germany, Schultz’s mother Hedwig left Berlin, and bought a house on Westport’s Elm Street.
On the ship’s manifest, Hedwig is identified as “Hebrew.” According to traditional Jewish law, a person’s Jewish status is passed down through the mother.
Back in Germany, as the persecution of Jews became more aggressive, Schultz likely wondered whether her lineage would be discovered and used against her.
In a 1940 letter to her Chicago Tribune publisher, she detailed the growing threats and attempts meant to intimidate her. She noted, “I’ve even been denounced as being Jewish…”
Four months later, after learning of failed assassination attempts on 2 of her best German sources, Schultz fled Germany for the house on Elm Street. Based on her extensive knowledge of Nazi Germany’s inner workings, she was recruited as a high level intelligence operative in the OSS, the precursor to today’s CIA.
When Schultz’s mother died in Westport in December of 1960, it appears that Schultz went to extreme lengths to obscure her Jewish identity.
On Hedwig’s death certificate, Sigrid wrote “unknown” in the space reserved for her maternal grandmother’s maiden name and birthplace.
In fact Schultz was quite close to her mother, having lived with her most of her life. She also personally knew both her maternal grandmother and maternal aunt, and was in possession of historic family documents (including those related to her maternal grandfather, Louis Jaskewitz).
We believe that Schultz would have been quite knowledgeable about her family tree. It’s doubtful she did not know her own grandmother’s maiden name and birthplace.
Schultz did confide in a few people. One was her good friend, Ruth Steinkraus Cohen. In a November 10, 1986 interview with Sigrid’s biographer, Cohen said:
Schultz also divulged her secret to a young Staples student who interviewed her at her Elm Street home in 1976, as part of an assignment for Joe Lieberman’s English class.
Student Pamela Wriedt-Boyd quietly took notes as Schultz spoke about the importance of maintaining journalistic professionalism –- no matter what.
By way of example, Schultz recounted a chance meeting with Hitler at the Hotel Kaiserhof in Berlin. Schultz had been chatting in the lobby with Göring when Hitler suddenly appeared. After Göring introduced the two, Schultz said that Hitler “bowed down, grabbed my hand, kissed it, then raised his head and with his eyes, tried to stare deeply into mine. That kind of soulful stare had always repulsed me, and I failed to show the appreciation he expected.”
As if to underscore the point of her story, Schultz added, “He didn’t know I was Jewish!”
Pamela received an “A” for her report. She provided us with a notarized statement attesting to the story Schultz told her that day.
While only a few people in Westport knew the truth about Schultz’s Jewish identity, her father’s relatives in Norway were never in the dark. We tracked down Schultz’s nearest living next of kin — a first cousin, twice removed — who lives there. He said:
Schultz was a pro at keeping secrets. There were many reasons her life and livelihood depended on it.
Our research continues. We are developing a more in-depth piece about Schultz that will not only cover this topic but others. Many have never been explored before, including her later life in Westport.
In the meantime, we are finalizing details of a bronze plaque that we intend to affix to a stone pillar on Elm Street near Schultz’s former house. (The home — located in what is now a parking lot — was unceremoniously torn down soon after her death).
The narrative on the plaque will be brief. But it will certainly make mention of the fact that Sigrid Schultz was a courageous Jewish American patriot, whose actions helped defeat one of the greatest evils the world has ever known.
In late 2018, organizers announced the end of Westport’s First Night celebration.
Recognizing a need for family-friendly New Year’s Eve activities, the Westport Historical Society filled the breach. In just a matter of days, executive director Ramin Ganeshram and her staff organized “First Light.”
Performances, horse-drawn carriage rides, face painting, a digital caricaturist, a henna artist, food trucks, a bonfire — it was all there. And (despite the rain), it was greatly appreciated.
This year, the Avery Place institution — now called the Westport Museum for History & Culture — continued the new tradition.
This year’s First Light included horse-drawn carriages, a live band, short films, tarot reader, henna tattoos, teen game night at Toquet Hall, stargazing with the Westport Astronomy Club, ballroom dance instruction — and that warm bonfire.
As with previous First Nights, and last year’s First Light, attendees wore buttons for admittance to all events. They cost $10 online, $15 on site.
Ganeshram gave credit to the town of Westport, for helping support the event.
That support includes police officers, fire fighters, logistics — and funding.
On December 11, Ganeshram asked for town assistance “from the fund formerly attributed to the First Night Celebrations.” She detailed “projected costs as they exist to-date for the First Light Festival on New Year’s Eve.”
The organization’s spreadsheet showed that the horse and carriage would cost $1,300. The band was $250, the tarot reader $200; Branson Hall rental $200; marketing materials and buttons $100.
There is also a line item that reads “(1630-2130 hours x at holiday rate (#82.50 per),” at a total cost of $1,213.
In addition, the Museum requested that the town reimburse half the cost of the salaries of 5 Museum employees. They were projected to spend anywhere from 30 to 80 hours each on First Light activities, at fees ranging from $11 to $25 per hour.
The employees work in several areas for the Museum, including programs, operations, marketing, administration and administrative support.
Four of the employees would be reimbursed by the town for half of their hours worked: $750, $600, $600 and $500. The administrative support staffer was projected to work 30 hours at $11 per hour, for a total of $330. The Museum requested $330 from the town for her salary, but confusingly also said they would contribute $330 to it.
The total reimbursement request to the town for Museum employees’ salaries was $2,780.
Executive director Ramin Ganeshram was listed as spending 20 hours on First Light, at $50 an hour. Her $1,000 was covered fully by the Museum.
The invoice was sent December 26, and received at Town Hall 2 days later. A check for the full amount requested — $5,943 — was issued to Westport Historical Society, Inc. on December 30.
I asked 1st Selectman Jim Marpe about the use of town funds to cover salaries of Museum employees. He responded:
For nearly 30 years, the Town of Westport co-sponsored “First Night,” a family-friendly, substance-free New Year’s Eve celebration that offered an array of musical and variety performers, kid-oriented activities, bonfires, carriage rides and even fireworks.
This event took place through a combination of volunteers under the volunteer leadership of enthusiastic residents such as Barbara Pearson-Rac and her husband Frank, the late Bill Meyer and Allen Bomes, donations from local business and fund-raising organizations, and also town funding in the range of $7,000. First Night also sold admission badges to help fund their budget, and the town provided some of the venues for various events.
The First Night concept was very popular around Connecticut and New England for many years, but in recent years, Westport became one of the few towns to offer this NewYear’s Eve option. Unfortunately, it became virtually impossible to stage a fireworks show in the downtown area, and rising costs and the dwindling number of volunteers began to limit the variety of entertainment options.
While the Town budgeted $7,000 to support the 2018 to 2019 New Year’s Eve First Night (last year), it became clear in the early fall that we would not be able to conduct the First Night event as we had in prior years.
The then-named Westport Historical Society stepped forward and offered to produce a mini-version of First Night called First Light. The town approved the use of a small portion of Veterans Green for a bonfire, and provided financial support to underwrite the carriage ride and other out-of-pocket costs for performers as well as Fire Department oversight of the bonfire activity. It was (and is) our belief that a substance-free, family alternative to celebrate the new year is a good thing for Westport and its residents of all ages.
In anticipation of this year’s (2019 to 2020) New Year’s Eve, we budgeted another $6,000 in case the now-named Westport Museum of History & Culture decided to conduct another First Light event, which in fact they did with some expansion of their offerings and venues.
It was always the intention of that money to cover the costs of outside services such as the carriage rides, musicians and other performers and marketing material which the director of finance and I approved.
I was surprised to learn in the past week that the Town’s support was also used to cover a portion of the salaries of several Museum employees.
It was never our intent to subsidize the costs of non-town employees, and I’m concerned about the potential inappropriate use of town funds for this purpose.
I have asked our director of finance to look into this matter immediately, and to determine the appropriate course of action regarding this payment.
As I noted earlier, I believe that events like First Night and First Light are good for our community and add to our reputation as a family friendly community, particularly when they are supported by volunteers and non-for-profit organizations such as the Museum.
The town has always been willing to consider financial or in-kind support of specific services for events that serve the whole community, but it has never been our intention to subsidize the salaries of individuals who work for those organizations.
Plenty of Westport moms work outside the home.
Plenty of others don’t.
For women who move to here with young children — sometimes leaving the workplace — meeting others in their situation can be hard.
Nearly 2 years ago, newcomer Nathalie Jacob tackled the problem. With Sonam Sethi and Samreen Malik — who had similar ideas — they created a Facebook group. “Westport Stay-at-Home Moms” brings mothers of babies and toddlers together.
There certainly is a need. Nearly 400 members meet for play dates, trips, Moms Night Outs, potlucks at the beach and more.
The newest event is Play2Give. These are play dates at which the mothers help their children do activities for charity. For the holidays, moms and toddlers picked out food at a supermarket, and packed it up for donations.
“What we have in common is that we all have children of a similar age,” Nathalie says. “We’re enjoying this amazing new stage in our lives as parents of babies and toddlers.”
“Many of our own parents live far away. Through this group, we’ve made friends who feel like family.”
Members mirror the diversity that is part of Westport, but not always seen. They come from more than 30 nations — the UK, Italy, Serbia, Australia, Greece, India, Russia, China, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Guyana, South Korea, Paraguay, Jamaica, you name it — which adds great energy and variety to activities.
Moms in nearby towns are welcome. So are working mothers — and fathers. They’ve even formed a sub-group. “Yo DAD” gets together once a month.
A pleasant surprise: “Not just the moms, but our husbands and kids have become close as well,” Nathalie says. “It feels like an extended family, where our kids have a ton of ‘cousins and aunties.’
“We celebrate holidays together, watch each other’s kids in emergencies, and even travel together. We all feel at home, because we have created a family in Westport.”
Anyone can design or host a play date or event, anywhere they choose — “their home, a playground, the aquarium, wherever,” Nathalie explains.
“We all vote on big decisions, like the group’s rules. Everyone always has a say and a voice.”
Feedback is great. One woman says the group helped out of a shell of loneliness. Another says she has met her closest friends, who help her feel “connected, support and loved. A third called it “life-changing — no exaggeration. I met the most amazing moms, with equally amazing toddlers.”
Moving to the suburbs can be tough. Moving without the tether of outside work can make it even tougher.
Say what you will about Facebook. For hundreds of women, its Westport Stay-at-Home Moms group makes the move work.
Every day — at all hours — the Westport Weston Family YMCA pulses with activity.
The gym, pool, spin center, yoga and fitness rooms — all are filled with boys and girls, men and women, all active to whatever degree of intensity works for them.
It’s a friendly, vibrant place. Many members come regularly. They greet fellow basketball players, swimmers, runners and Zumbaists with smiles and waves.
Some of the heartiest greetings go to members with special needs. They may be in wheelchairs, or come in groups with aides. They may talk loudly, or not at all. All are welcome at the Y.
Their swims, workouts, classes and social interactions are among the highlights of their days. The folks who share the pool, fitness center and classrooms are happy to see them too.
The Westport Y offers group membership programs to 5 group homes in Fairfield County. Over 100 clients take advantage of the facility off Wilton Road.
Membership director Brian Marazzi says that STAR has the longest association with the Y: more than a decade. Clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities take part in a wide array of activities. Some arrive independently, to exercise.
St. Catherine Academy — a Fairfield-based private school — uses the warm pool for recreational swim and aqua-therapy for severely disabled clients. The group then socializes with a large group lunch in the lobby.
St. Catherine’s appreciates the family and dependent care locker room, which includes a private special needs shower and changing room. Staff also store equipment at the Y.
Ability Beyond and Keystone House clients focus on the Wellness Center. Members of Abilis — the newest group home to join the Y — primarily walk on the treadmill, and use the gym.
Some of the more independent clients come on their own. A few have become volunteers themselves, meeting and greeting guests.
But that’s only part of the way the Westport Y serves the special needs population.
Sixty kids and young adults ages 8 to 21 play basketball and floor hockey, swim and do track and field, under the guidance of paid and volunteer coaches. Many are involved in Special Olympics, but that is not a prerequisite for Y participation.
The Sunday morning swim program is particularly popular. A 1:1 ratio of volunteers — many of them members of the Westport Water Rats team — to athletes ensures education, safety and fun. The special needs swimmers are also called Water Rats, and proudly wear the team’s logowear.
Strong bonds are clear. Over Christmas break, as volunteers returned from college, there were joyful reunions and hugs. Parents of special needs swimmers develop their own community too, as they watch from the deck or gym.
Oliver Clachko has made a special impact. He was last year’s near-unanimous choice as Westport Weston Family Y Volunteer of the Year. He enjoys working with the special needs program so much, he’s recruiting friends and classmates to help too.
This spring, the Y hosts its first-ever special needs swim meet.
Up in the gym, basketball players hone their skills. They compete too, in a “Hoopla” against other area Ys.
Special Needs Teen Nights are another popular event.
Marazzi says the Y has gotten very positive feedback — from clients, group home workers, parents of special needs youngsters, and other Y members too.
Occasionally, he says, members complain about noise or behavior. Marazzi quickly counters, “We love having them here. We’re very inclusive.”
It’s the Westport Weston Family YMCA, remember.
And don’t forget: There are many ways to define family.
(The Westport Y’s Special Olympics and other special needs programs rely in part on fundraising. Starting on her 10th birthday, Chloe Kiev asked that instead of gifts, friends and family donate to the effort. Click here for more information.)
Among the many longtime Westporters — and Westport Historical Society volunteers — who are saddened, distressed and/or outraged by the recent decision of the newly rechristened Westport Museum for History & Culture to remove the Sheffer name from the exhibition gallery to accommodate a new donation, it’s hard to find one with a deeper, stronger connection than Eve Potts.
She joined the WHS board in the 1970s. Here are her thoughts on the changes at the downtown institution, whose own history dates back to 1889.
This is a sad, sad story. The present Westport Museum for History & Culture embarked on making a transformational change without the benefit of any knowledge of its own history.
Unfortunately a huge vacuum, left by the deaths of an incredible number of faithful, knowledgeable unpaid volunteers like Barbara Raymond, Katie Chase, Susan Wynkoop, Mollie Donovan, Barbara Van Orden and Maggie Fesko, enabled a strategic plan to be put into place that changed the focus of the Society and decommissioned the period rooms, to make way for “museum quality programs and exhibits.”
And now, the announcement that the Sheffer Gallery will be erased and replaced by a name that is totally unknown to most Westporters: the Offutt Gallery.
I have been on the board of the Westport Historical Society since the late 1970s, when we used the home across the street as our headquarters and looked longingly at handsome Wheeler House, then occupied by the elderly Mrs. Avery.
At the time, Betty Sheffer (Ann Sheffer’s mother) and Shirley Land curated the costume collection. They spent many hours conserving and documenting the vintage materials.
The Sheffers, from the very start, were totally supportive, and financially available to help achieve the goals of the Historical Society (as well as every other non-profit organization in Westport).
Ann has always had a world-view vision, and a hands-on ability to bring together diverse factions to reach the goals we all were striving to meet. For Ann, Bill and her family to be handled in such a thoughtless and cavalier fashion by the present board is simply not in the tradition of the stated mission of the Westport Historical Society.
When Mrs. Avery died, I went over to Town Hall to check out the Probate Court records. I discovered that the house had been left to Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.
Along with Eleanor Street, Joan Dickinson, Barbara Elmer, Bob Gault, Peggy Henkle, Mollie Donovan, Fran Thomas, Barbara Van Orden and a group of other active unpaid volunteers, we worked with the church to put together a plan to purchase the house.
Our goal was $300,000. Through massive fundraising events — and the support of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and the combined fundraising efforts of Jo Fuchs, Connie Anstett and many willing volunteers — we managed to come up with the funds, as well as the expertise to refurbish the house to its Victorian era splendor.
In 1987 I wrote the book, “Westport…A Special Place,” with Howard Munce as its graphic designer. All of our efforts and expenses were totally without charge to the Society. In addition, we contributed all funds (well over $100,000) from that effort to the WHS, to support future publications to benefit the Society.
Those funds have supported the publication of a whole string of other important historical publications and videos. [NOTE: The Eve Potts Book Fund supported publication of my own book, “Staples High School: 120 Years of A+ Education.” — Dan Woog]
In 2014, with incredible support from then-president Dorothy Curran and the board, we mounted a very successful exhibit. “Cover Story” (in the Sheffer Gallery!) was admired by Fiona and Andrew Bentley, along with thousands of visitors.
So intrigued were Andrew and Fiona with the artistic New Yorker history of Westport that Andrew got in touch with me. We collaborated on a book about the New Yorker covers.
Thanks to the vision of Ed Gerber, who was president at the time, the book — “The New Yorker in Westport” — was published without cost to the WHS, with funds from the Bentleys and from the Potts Book Fund.
All funds raised from the sale of that publication have gone directly to the Society’s regular yearly budget. They were desperately needed at that time for necessary repairs, including a roof, new furnace and lighting system. The book continues to sell well, and funds continue to go to the WHS annual budget.
It is pitiful to see how all the hard work of so many dedicated Westport volunteers over so many years has been totally disregarded in a determined effort to erase the past by the unwitting actions of the present Westport Museum hierarchy.
Seen at tonight’s 2nd annual First Light Festival, sponsored by the Westport Museum for History & Culture (formerly the Westport Historical Society) …