- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 12, 2005

A story of love

That was Olga Hirshhorn celebrating her 85th birthday with 40 of her closest friends at K Street’s Teatro Goldoni yesterday. The grande dame is best known for her lifetime commitment to art through the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

How did it all begin?

A Smithsonian Institution insider recalls the tale of how Olga met and married Joseph Hirshhorn. Actually, they met over the phone, when Mr. Hirshhorn was advertising for household help. Olga was running the employment firm.

“Hirshhorn soon called again, for a cook, then a maid, then another maid. He liked Olga’s efficiency, her independence and her voice. He called her a lot, like 10 times a day,” the story goes.

“One day he asked, ‘Say, Mrs. Cunningham, how old are you?’ She said she was 41, and came right back at him: How old was he?

” ‘Sixty-two,’ he replied. Later he asked, ‘Say, how tall are you?’

” ‘Five feet even,’ she replied. This was fine with him: He was 5 feet 4.”

The couple married in 1964.

“My life revolved around him,” Mrs. Hirshorn said after her husband’s death in 1981.

Fighting pirates

The National Music Publishers’ Association and its president and CEO, David Israelite, are celebrating the grand opening of NMPA’s Washington headquarters this month.

The headquarters here will better help the association guard the interests of songwriters and music publishers across the country — especially against pirates.

Earlier this year, for example, more than 27,000 songwriters and publishers, including legendary Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier and the rock ‘n’ roll songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, filed briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court charging Internet music companies with “facilitating copyright infringement on a massive scale.”

Pass the popcorn

Make plans early to attend Sen. Tom Coburn’s “safe-sex” slide show — “Revenge of the STDs” (sexually transmitted diseases) — at 11:45 a.m. on May 26th in Room HC-5 of the U.S. Capitol.

“As a practicing physician, I have seen the ravaging effects of … STD’s first hand,” the Oklahoma Republican writes to Hill colleagues. “I would therefore invite you, your staff and interns to join me for my ‘safe’ sex slide show. This presentation will be a frank, interactive medical forum about the emotional and physical consequences of the STD epidemic.”

Elected to the Senate in November after serving three terms in the House, Mr. Coburn’s other priorities include reducing wasteful spending, balancing the budget, improving health care access and affordability, and protecting the unborn.

In 2002, President Bush chose the doctor, a two-time cancer survivor who is married to a former Miss Oklahoma, as co-chairman of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.


Viola Herms Drath and her husband, Albrecht Muth, both natives of Germany, welcomed guests to their Georgetown home with a bagpipe serenade as they hosted a dinner party this week to commemorate the 60th anniversary of V-E Day.

Among the guests (Mrs. Drath serves on the executive committee of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy) were the chaplain of the U.S. Senate, retired Navy Rear Adm. Dr. Barry C. Black, and British Embassy military attache Brig. Edward John Torrens-Spence.

His father, the late Capt. Michael Torrens-Spence, was the hero of the Battle of Cape Matapan, hailed by Winston Churchill as the greatest British naval victory since Trafalgar, which opened southern Italy to allied invasion.

Mrs. Drath spoke of her own memories of V-E Day as a girl in Germany: “Germany had been liberated. The long nightmare was over. At last, freedom was within our grasp.

“Regrettably, my distinguished uncle, Ambassador Freddy Horstmann, who had sacrificed his diplomatic career on account of his marriage to the daughter of one of the country’s leading Jewish banking dynasties, could not see the blooming of democracy in Germany.

“Although an ardent opponent of the Nazi regime, Freddy would fall victim to starvation in a Soviet prisoner-of-war camp behind an emerging Iron Curtain.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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