Our Radio Show and blog celebrates the extraordinary life and work of trailblazer Dr.May Edward Chinn, medical doctor, cancer researcher, and musician.
Our article of the month is “The Hotel that Humility Built” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM. Without the Waldorf Astoria Video sent by teacher and mentor Bernice Victor Smith this article would not have been possible!
Included are two articles on how listening to classical music in the background of a school classroom improves students concentrate and focus on their work. The first article is about Maryl Arbuckle Case our Radio Show’s“Lifetime Achievement Award” winner in 2015. Our second article is about Nancy Gray Scott our “Radio Show’s 2017 Teacher of the Year” award winner.
Radio Show Feature Question for November 2018: How does classical music play a part of Dr. May Edward Chinn’s life as a medical doctor, cancer researcher, and musician and what musical instrument did she play?
May Edward Chinn’s childhood & early years:
May Edward Chinn was born on April 15, 1896 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts to Lulu Ann Evans, a Native American from the Chickahominy Indian reservation close to Norfolk, Virginia. and William Lafayette Chinn, a former Virginia slave from Cheyne (Chinn) plantation. She grew up in New York City.
Dr. Chinn said, “When she was a child of 6 her mother, Lulu Chinn sent her to boarding school for Negro children in Bordentown, N.J.with the money she had saved from her domestic wages.It was as peaceful and orderly as New York had been loud and turbulent. She contracted osteomyelitis in her lower right jaw. Nine operations were required to cure the rilsobasP, and for almost a year May attended classes with a large bandage wrapped around her head. Often, she was in so much pain that meals and lessons were brought to her in bed. Finally, the school had to send her home.”
Dr. Chinn said “Her mother found employment as a live‐in cook on the estate of Charles Tiffany along millionaires’ row in Irvington‐on‐Hudson. She joined her mother there. Life on the estate was idyllic. Treated almost like a member of the family, May took lessons in French and German and ate her meals with the other children. On Saturday mornings she would be taken into the city to see Broadway shows and musical concerts. But when Charles Tiffany died in 1902, Lulu’s services were no longer needed, and mother and child eventually had to return to New York City.”
In New York City they May and her mother, Lulu reunited with William moving “just behind what is now Lincoln Center in the San Juan Hill area.”
Studying the piano:
May Edward Chinn began to study the piano at the age of eight.
The importance of education:
Dr. Chinn said, “She was able to get a good education in the elementary schools nearby. This was very important to my mother. She would wait to see a neighborhood opening up and she would be among the first Negroes to move in before the whites all moved away and the landlords began letting the buildings run down. The schools were still good because there were some white children left in them.”
Later the Chinn family moved “to 99th Street and Central Park West, and then to 320 Mott Avenue in the Bronx, not too far from Morris High School, the best in the city. The family rented an apartment in a five-story brick tenement house near the Krakauer Brothers piano factory.”
Dr. Chinn said, “Her parents had dragged a broken down upright piano from one apartment to another across the city. In the Bronx, as a present on her 16th birthday, they gave her a Krakauer piano so fresh from the factory that it had to sit un played for three days while the varnish dried.”
She says, “Her mother allowed her to sing at local musical events and even to act in plays. When America entered World War I, she began playing and singing popular songs like “Danny Boy” and “Mighty Like a Rose” for the colored soldiers.”
Dr. Chinn said her mother, Lulu Chinn had, “Secretly had been saving money all this time, and every night she had worn the cloth to bed in the room she shared with her daughter. Not only did Lulu provide the money for May to go to college, but she also moved the family from the Bronx to Harlem so May could walk to classes.”
In 1917, she began her studies at Columbia University Teacher’s College as a piano major. During her first year of college she wrote a paper for her hygiene course. Her instructor, Dr. Jean Broadhurst was impressed and “encouraged her to consider a major in science.”
In Chinn’s autobiography she says, the faculty told her “because I was of African descent, that unless I could afford to go to Europe for final ‘polishing’ in my music, I would probably end up singing in a cabaret in America. If I chose science, my chances were better for a good future.”
May Edward Chinn in the 1920’s was the pianist for Paul Robeson.
Dr. May Edward Chinn,“I was continuing to play and sing at little concerts around New York. One day, just before a concert, I heard a deep voice apparently addressed to me. ‘I understand you’re a marvelous accompanist,’ the voice said. ‘My accompanist is late, I’m afraid, and I wonder if you would be kind enough to accompany me.’
“I turned, and almost at my eye‐level, a golden football and a golden Phi Beta Kappa key were dangling from the chain of an extremely tall, handsome, brown‐skinned man.” It was Paul Robeson, Rutgers University graduate and valedictorian of the class of 1919, star of four varsity sports, and All‐America in football. Soon he would be an internationally famous stage and screen actor. But his greatest glory was always his deep voice, which critic Alexander Woollcott once called “the finest musical instrument wrought by nature in our time.” “Everyone had heard of Paul,” Dr. Chinn says. “At that time, people from all over the East would travel to hear him sing in his father’s church in New Jersey. I was flattered that he would ask me to accompany him. ‘Of course, Paul,’ I said. They made such a splendid team that they performed together on dozens of occasions over the next three or four years. Their repertory included folk songs, spirituals like “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” and light classics such as “The Volga Boat Song.” (Dr. Chinn’s interview with George Davis April 22, 1979 for the New York Times)
Chinn receives her Bachelor’s degree in Science from Columbia Teachers College in 1921:May Edward Chinn was the first African American women to graduate from College.
Dr. May Edward Chinn graduated Bellevue Hospital Medical College in 1926 and in 1928 completes an internship at Harlem Hospital:
Dr. May Edward Chinn was “the first African American woman to graduate from Bellevue Hospital Medical College.”
As an African American physician in the mid 20’s she was “not granted admitting privileges or special residencies at any hospitals, so after graduating from Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York and completing an internship at Harlem Hospital in 1928, Chinn opened a private practice on Edgecombe Avenue, working with other African American physicians at the Edgecombe Sanitarium for non-white patients.”
Dr. Chinn opens her medical office and goes to the patient’s homes:
Dr. Chinn sees her patients at her office and in their homes “even for surgery in some cases. Her interest in the early cancer diagnosis developed during these years, as she saw many patients who were very ill with terminal diseases, often late-stage cancer.”
Dr. Edward May Chinn “described her early practice in Harlemas akin to an old-fashioned family practice in the rural South a century earlier. She performed major medical procedures in patient’s homes, while minor procedures were done in her office. She told George Davis of the New York Times Magazine “that conditions were so bad that it seemed that you were not making any headway.”
Many Forms of Discriminations:
Dr. Edward May Chinnsaid,“African American male doctors were another source of discrimination. In a New York Times interview with Charlayne Hunter-Gault in 1977, she described three types: “those who acted as if I wasn’t there; another who took the attitude ‘what does she think that she can do that I can’t do?’ and the group that called themselves support[ive] by sending me their night calls after midnight.”
In the 1930s and 1940s, like other black physicians she was barred from working in the New York city hospitals. As she observed advanced cancer in her terminally ill patients she asked for city hospital for “research information” on her patients and was refused.
Dr. Chinn “decided to accompany her patients to their clinic appointments, explaining that she was the patient’s family physician.” By doing this, she learned “more about biopsy techniques while securing a firm diagnosis for her patients. Such resourcefulness typified Chinn’s approach to the barriers she faced during her career.”
Dr. Chinn, M.D. studies with Dr. George Papanicolaou, M.D., Ph.D. in the early 1930s:
Dr. Chinn determined to help her patients fight against cancer studied with Dr. George Papanicolaou, M.D. “noted for his work on the Pap smear test for cervical cancer, becoming an advocate for cancer screening to detect cancer at its earliest stages.”
In 1933, Dr. Chen earned her Master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University: She wanted “to get at the roots of poverty”.
Dr. Elise Strang L’Esperance, MD founder of the Strang Cancer Clinic at Memorial Hospital hires in 1944 Dr. May Edward Chinn, MD to work “in the Tuesday afternoon cancer clinic ”. In 1945, Dr. L’Esperance hires Dr. Chinn “at the Strang Clinic at the New York Infirmary” where she works for the next 29 years when she retires in 1974. Dr. Chinn “promoted cancer screening methods for non-symptomatic patients, routine Pap smears, and the use of family medical histories to predict cancer risk.”
Honors: “In 1954 Dr. May Edward Chinn became a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, and in 1957 she received a citation from the New York City Cancer Committee of the American Cancer Society. In 1980 Columbia University awarded her an honorary doctorate of science for her contributions to medicine.”
Dr. May Edward Chinn, medical doctor was an African American woman,
cancer researcher, and lifelong pianist dedicated to saving the lives of her patients in Harlem and giving them the best medical care possible for fifty-three years. She was a trailblazer, “the first African American woman to graduate from the University and Bellevue Hospital Medical College”. She was a “tireless advocate for poor patients with advanced, often previously untreated diseases, she became a staunch supporter of new methods to detect cancer in its earliest stages.”
“Like other African American women physicians of her era, Chinn worked long hours but never got rich from her practice.” In 1978 Dr. Chinn began “examining African American students as a consultant to the Phelps-Stokes Fund.” On Dec. 1, 1980 at age eighty-four Dr. Chinn was at a reception at Columbia University honoring a friend where she died.
The Hotel That Humility Built by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM
Most hotels are built of brick and mortar, yet one hotel was built on the foundation of humility.
What can you learn about customer loyalty from them?
It was a dark and stormy night. An older couple came into a small hotel in Philadelphia. The older gentleman said, “Would you have a room for the night?”
The young friendly and smiling clerk looked at the couple and explained, “There are three conventions in town. I’m sorry, but all of our rooms are taken. It’s 1am, and the weather is terrible outside. I can’t send a nice couple like you out in these elements. Would you be willing to sleep in my room? It’s not exactly a suite, but it will be good enough to make you folks comfortable for the night.”
First the couple declined replying, “Where are you going to sleep, young man, if you give your room to us?”
“Oh, I am young and healthy and can sleep at the reception area. I will be just fine,”
The older couple accepted the young clerk’s offer and stayed “the night in his personal room”.
The older and well rested gentleman offered the young clerk a reward before leaving the hotel as an expression of his gratitude.
“Please don’t embarrass me with an offer of money for my room. I didn’t give you my room expecting any monetary compensation. I just wanted to help you.”
The older gentleman was really touched by the young man’s compassion and said, “Finding people who are both friendly and helpful is rare these days. You are the kind of manager who should be the boss of the best hotel in the United States. Maybe someday I’ll build one for you.”
The young clerk looked at the couple and smiled. As the older couple drove away they agreed that the helpful clerk was exceptional.
Two years passed, the young clerk was promoted to manager of the hotel. Opening his mail one day, he received “an envelope with a train ticket to New York, with an invitation letter to attend an inaugural function.”
The young hotel manager traveled to New York and was welcomed by his host, the older gentleman he had helped two years before. His host took him to the corner of fifth avenue and 34th street and pointed to a beautiful new palace like structure built of reddish stone, 16 stories high.
“That,”said the older gentleman, William Waldorf Astor, “is the hotel I built for you to manage.”
“You must be joking.” replied the shocked innkeeper.
“I assure you I am not.”
George C. Boldt, the former young clerk, accepted the offer and became the Manager of the Waldorf-Astoria.
The Waldorf Astoria Hotel was the first luxury hotel complete with electricity, private bathrooms amenities and service. If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to stay at a Waldorf, you realize that the Waldorf Astoria symbolizes elegance and grace. It is much more than a room. It is an experience.
George Boldt was compassionate, kind, and selfless to others. He played at a higher level than was required, and the payoff was making a difference in the world to the person he had the opportunity to help.
The Gold Standard of Customer Experience at Hotels:
George Boldt was committed to setting the gold standard of hospitality at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. He imparted legendary levels of humility and grace to his staff of nearly 1000 people, which motivated them to follow his example. Boldt built the blueprints of today’s growing luxury hotel industry.
1) By his leadership example he modeled and trained his staff to be helpful, kind, compassionate, to create an extraordinary customer experience. “The customer was always right!”
2) He introduced room service
3) His senior staff inspected the lobby around-the-clock to keep the area tidy and inviting for his guests.
4) He insisted that all guests must have fresh flowers and a copy of the day’s newspaper in their rooms.
5) At the Waldorf Astoria Hotel restaurant, the food was delicious and impeccably served.
George C. Boldt was committed to making the Waldorf so comfortable that guests will never go to another place.
For over 100 years the Waldorf Astoria symbolized elegance and grace. He was the manager for 23 years until his death in 1916.
He also made sure that his legacy extended well beyond the time he was at the Waldorf. George C Boldt sympathized with an eager student whose only impediment to higher education was a lack of funds. During his life George C. Boldt “helped put at least 75 young men through college, doing this anonymously”.
George C Boldt “also assisted those in business who were having financial difficulties and told employees at his hotels if they were having monetary problems, his door was always open to them.”
He also donated to “Cornell University, the American Red Cross, many local hospitals and built a library at Alexandria Bay, New York.”
Zig Ziglar, “When you encourage others, you in the process are encouraged because you’re making a commitment and difference in that person’s life. Encouragement really does make a difference.”
Anne Frank said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”
What can you do to improve customer loyalty at your business?
What will your legacy be and who will you help? © 2018 Madeline Frank
If you need a speaker contact Madeline at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Teachers have used classical music in the background of their classrooms with great success:
“Maryl Arbuckle Case our 2015 “Teachers’ Lifetime Achievement Award” winner for advancing the knowledge of students for 50 years in teaching mathematics from algebra through calculus in middle school, high school, and college in Colorado. In her high school class, “the students asked for music in class. I told them I would play only Mozart. At first, they objected but soon decided they liked the music, because it made them feel better and able to focus more on their lessons. Consequently, not only did the grades get better, so did the discipline. Then the students began requesting Mozart.”
She has inspired, motivated, and instilled in 5 generations of students the joy of learning mathematics. Her music activities have greatly enriched her life as well as the lives of those around her.” Maryl Case says, “My one but not only purpose was to cause students to be able to use analytical thinking to help them have a constructive and successful life that would benefit the people they meet.”
To read Maryl Case’s blog/article for Sep. 2013:
To hear Maryl Case’s Radio Show Interview for September 2013: Maryl Case, how did you use classical music in your classes to teach high school math to your students in Colorado and what were the results?
Nancy Gray Scott our “Radio Show’s 2017 Teacher of the Year” award winner. Mrs. Scott is a master mathematics teacher, retired Master Sergeant of the U S Air Force, mother of two children, and musician. Mrs. Scott is passionate about her family, teaching mathematics, classical music, and helping others. She has taught in the public schools of Hampton, Virginia for seventeen years teaching students in grades 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th . She says, “Students perform better on tests and quizzes while listening to Mozart Symphonies in the background.”
Radio Show Feature Question for June 2017: Nancy Gray Scott is our “Radio Show’s 2017 Teacher of the Year”. Mrs. Scott, can you share with us your approach for teaching and motivating your students?
To read Nancy Gray Scott’s blog/article as our Radio Show’s 2017 Teacher of the Year award winner:
“The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. is available in book form, and newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook:
Barnes and Noble(Nook)
“Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun way, through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award is available in book form, newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook.
Barnes and Noble(Nook)
Tips on how to use “Musical Notes On Math”
Madeline’s Midnight Melodies- Music From around the World”. This CD complements her books with a blend of dance music, gigues, tangos, ballet and favorites including “Danny Boy”, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”, Debussy’s “Claire De Lune” and others. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” is music to relax by and to move by for music therapy. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” CD is now available for purchase by downloading a song, downloading the album, or by CD by clicking below:
Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is available through amazon. To order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” as an e-book on Kindle click on the following link:
Wishing you and your family a happy Thanksgiving from Your Non-Invasive Medicine Music Expert, Madeline
For over 30 years, Dr. Madeline Frank has helped children and adults overcome problems through Classical music. Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an award-winning teacher, author, researcher, speaker, conductor, and concert artist. She has found a scientific link between studying and/or listening to musical instruments and academic and societal success. Madeline Frank earned her Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Her education has included scholarships at the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the University of Cincinnati and she has a violin performance diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts. (C) 2018 Madeline Frank.