Monday, February 10, 2014

"Notable residents" of Stow and Maynard

Update at bottom of article (Julie Berry moved to California). Originally posted July 2013.

A visit to the Wikipedia entries for StowActonSudbury or Concord (neighboring towns in Massachusetts) will in each instance find a list of Notable residents. Notable in this usage is not synonymous with famous – perhaps closer to 'at least slightly famous.'

Names listed by town typically also have links to Wikipedia entries on the persons themselves. But before you start crafting your own autobiographical claim to fame, or decide that a family member or friend needs to honored, entries are supposed to be based on published content about a person, not memoirs and memories.

Stow lists six notable residents: M.T. Anderson – author; Tom Barrasso – NHL Hall of Fame goaltender; Dan Duquette – Red Sox General Manager; Grace Metalious – author of 1950s best-selling novel “Peyton Place”; Lee H. Pappas – publisher of several computer-related magazines; and George P. Shultz – U.S. Secretary of State.

A person who became famous in adult life may be honored at the site of their childhood – think Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood log cabin. Or became famous in place: Alcott, Emerson, Hawthorne and Thoreau are all in Concord’s tally. Finally, those already famous can relocate. These moves typically align with availability of luxury housing and convenience to work. When Shaquille O’Neal rented a mansion in Sudbury his one year in residence matched his brief employment by the Boston Celtics - yet Sudbury claims him as a notable resident.
Reviewing Stow’s notable six, there are three who left before they became famous (Anderson, Barrasso, Shultz) and two who lived in Stow during or after their careers (Duquette, Pappas). The sixth, Metalious, barely qualifies as a resident - her husband accepted a teaching job in Stow just before her book was published, but she did not make the move with him and they separated soon after.

When this was originallywritten there were no entries for notable residents for Maynard. Zero. Zilch. Zip. Was this only an oversight? Can't history can be dredged to find those who were famous later, famous here or arrived already famous?

Let's start with the town's founder. Amory Maynard was so central to the town’s formation that it was named after him while he was still alive. There are hints that this was his idea, although one history book claims that it was by unanimous vote of the residents (Ha). Prior to the town's formal birth all those south of the Assabet River were residents of Sudbury and those north of the river, Stow. Amory Maynard's fame did not extend beyond the town’s borders. He lacks a Wikipedia entry of his own, and anyway, he is adequately covered in Wikipedia's entry about the town [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maynard,_Massachusetts]. 

Ken Olsen you say? Olsen put Maynard on the map as the “mini-computer capital of the world,” but while this was the site of Digital Equipment Corporation’s headquarters, he never lived in town, only worked here.

Scanning the various history books about Maynard turned up one candidate. Waino Kauppi (1899-1932), an immigrant from Finland, was a child-prodigy musician on the cornet, who by age 14 was touring with big-name bands. According to authors Paul Boothroyd and Lewis Halprin, Kauppi was considered the best cornet player in the country. In Massachusetts he was featured soloist with the Edwin J. McEnelly's Orchestra. Although not identified, Kauppi is probably one of the Orchestra members in the Victor Recording tracks that can be listened to at http://www.rivermontrecords.com/1140.html.  In New York, he was billed as "Wizard of the Cornet" in the well-known, radio broadcasting, Goldman Band (see link, below). All that is needed to qualify Kauppi as notable is a concise Wikipedia write-up.        

The alternative to being home of notables is to remain a place of no one notable. Yes, Maynard has a few people-named buildings and parks, but who remembers for whom? Fowler School? Crowe Park?

In truth, Stow is no better and Maynard no worse for borrowed glory or the lack thereof, respectively. Tourists do not flock to one and avoid the other. (Actually, tourists never wander far from Concord.) There are no souvenir shops selling T-shirts and coffee mugs emblazoned with STOW or MAYNARD followed by some pithy epigram. And that’s just fine.

Julie Berry, author
After drafting this column other plausible Maynard-linked names have surfaced. Four even have their own Wikipedia entries. In alphabetical order: Julie Berry - author; John "Red" Flaherty - baseball umpire; Michael Goulian - airshow performer and race pilot; Waino Kauppi - cornet player; Jack Mendelsohn - Unitarian minister and author;  Leo Mullin - CEO of Delta Airlines; Frank Murray - college football coach; Jarrod Shoemaker - Olympic triathlete; William Tapply - author; and Stephen Weiner - author and graphic novels expert. Links to mentions of Maynard's potential notables:





Julie Berry: http://www.julieberrybooks.com/
John "Red" Flaherty: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Flaherty
Michael Goulian: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Goulian
Waino Kauppi: http://mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1925-81-13/MTR-1925-81-13-42.pdf
Jack Mendelsohn: http://www.uuworld.org/life/articles/279161.shtml
Leo Mullin: http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/biography/M-R/Mullin-Leo-F-1943.html
Frank Murray: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Murray
Jarrod Shoemaker: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jarrod_Shoemaker
William Tapply: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_G._Tapply

NOTE: After this article was published in the newspaper and posted to this blog, someone (not me) used this list to revise Maynard's Wikipedia entry. And then someone else delisted a few - the criteria appearing to be a lack of a separate Wikipedia entry on those persons or independent confirmation they they did or do live in Maynard. So as of March 2014, Maynard officially has eight "Notable residents." Stow's count was increased to seven: Henry Gardner (1731-1782), who was born and lived most of his life in Stow, was the first Receiver General-Treasurer for Massachusetts when it joined the other colonies in separating from England. Henry was the son of Reverend John Gardner, the second minister at Stow. Henry's grandson, Henry J. Gardner, was Governor of Massachusetts 1855-1858. As of 2014 Julie Berry and family have moved to California. However, Wikipedia's "Notable" criteria allows former residents to stay listed, so JB stays on the list. 

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