Winifred Meiselman

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Winifred Meiselman
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BornJune 4, 1934
DiedDecember 18, 2021
  • Founder
  • Historian
  • Social worker
  • Art therapist
  • Poet
  • Artist

Winifred ("Win") Meiselman (born Winifred Charm, June 4, 1934-December 18, 2021) was the founder of the media accuracy group Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, a historian of the American Civil War and specifically of Confederate spy Laura Ratcliffe, social worker, art therapist, poet, and artist.

Personal life

Born in Brighton, a neighbourhood in Boston, Massachusetts to Louis Charm, an engineer (graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1926) and one of the electrical engineers working on the particle accelerator on the United States' Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Maybelle Charm. Meiselman attended Brighton High School (Brighton, Massachusetts) and lived on Wallingford Rd. in Brighton.

Win's older half-brother was Stanley E. Charm, founder of Charm Sciences Inc. in Lawrence, Massachusetts.[1] She married David I. Meiselman, an important Economist|American economist and prominent monetarist, in 1965; he was then working at the World Bank in Washington, D.C..

Education and Early Career

Meiselman attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she was president of The Poetry Group; she met with prominent American poets such as Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas, and Robert Penn Warren. She later graduated with a BS in Early Child Development from the University of Minnesota and an MS in art therapy from George Washington University.[2]

While living in St. Paul, Minnesota, Meiselman was first introduced to politics through protests of the Vietnam War on the campus of the University of Minnesota. Meiselman subsequently worked on the campaign of Eugene McCarthy in his Eugene McCarthy 1968 presidential campaign|1968 challenge against President Lyndon Johnson.

Meiselman worked as a child psychologist and art therapist in Washington, DC following her move there with her family to Merrybrook in Herndon, Virginia in July 1971.[3]

Meiselman first worked at the Northern Virginia Family Services in Oakton, Virginia and subsequently worked as the coordinator for outpatient services for the Department of Behavioral and Mental Health at Sibley Memorial Hospital in The Palisades (Washington, D.C.).

Founding of CAMERA

Win and David Meiselman were active in fundraising for Jewish and Israel causes[4], and hosted a major fundraiser for Israel immediately following the 1973 Yom Kippur War at Merrybrook.

Meiselman was active in Jewish and Israel causes early on in her career, and met and became inspired by William R. Perl and his wife, Lore, who were instrumental for the idea and inspiration for her creating the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America through their active friendship.

During this time, Meiselman was also active in fundraising for other social causes, including the Jewish Family Services of Northern Virginia and Russian-Jewish immigrants in the United States, as well as Cambodian humanitarian crisis|Vietnamese-Cambodian immigrants following the war.

The initial inspiration for the creation of Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America|CAMERA was the invasion of Lebanon in 1981 by Israel and reported on the subject by the Washington Post. The investigations into media bias continued to newspapers such as the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and outlets such as NPR, PBS, and ABC News. Under Meiselman's leadership, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America|CAMERA grew and opened branches in Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.

Meiselman formed the Advisory Board to Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America|CAMERA with prominent Washingtonians such as Saul Stern and Bernard S. White, who were active in the charities in the D.C. area.[5] Meiselman also recruited Senators Rudy Boschwitz and Chuck Grassley, Congressman Tom Lantos, journalist M. Stanton Evans, Ambassador Charles Lichenstein, Pastor Roy Stewart, and Rabbi David Yellin. Other personalities were close to Meiselman and the organization, such as Tom Lantos and Charles Krauthammer.

Meiselman organized a major event in the history of CAMERA, the 1989 CAMERA conference in the Boston Park Plaza|Park Plaza Hotel in Boston. The conference drew a crowd of more than 1000 attendees, and featured speakers Norman Podhoretz, Alan Dershowitz, Ruth Wisse, Jerold Auerbach|Jerold Auerbach, and David Wyman. Joining these speakers were Win, Andrea Levin, later CAMERA leader, and the new Boston chapter director Charles Jacobs (political activist).

In addition to her CAMERA leadership activities, Meiselman would debate issues surrounding Israel's Media coverage Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and public policy on television, including Phone-in on C-SPAN.[6]

Meiselman retired from Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America|CAMERA in 1991 due to health problems, and the leadership of the organization passed to Andrea Levin.

Despite her retirement from CAMERA, Meiselman continued to actively fundraise for Jewish causes, including her 2004 art auction at Merrybrook for the benefit of Jewish education in the former Soviet Union. Many artists contributed work for the auction, including donated works by Shalom Moskovitz (Shalom of Safed), Michoel Muchnik, Phillip Ratner, and more.

Merrybrook and Friends of Laura Ratcliffe

Following her retirement from Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, Win worked as a private art therapist in Herndon.

The Meiselmans regularly opened Merrybrook for tours and teaching about the American Civil War. During the 1990s, Suburbanization and commercialization in the Silver Line (Washington Metro) lead Win to seek National Historic Preservation Act of 1966|Federal protection of Merrybrook from developers, and the fear of encroaching urbanization was a constant one for the Merrybrook Estate.

The home and property is historically important for Fairfax County, Virginia history, as an Architecture of the United States|18th century Farmhouse|farmhouse in Northern Virginia, and most prominently a place of importance for the Confederacy during the American Civil War. As the home of Laura Ratcliffe from the earliest days of the Civil War until her death, it was Laura's only remaining property and the likely hideaway spot for Confederate soldiers during the Bristoe campaign.

The home also had unique and historical architectural features, such as the 1793 kitchen ceiling being cut from the curved flank of an Pennsylvania Barge Club|18th-century Pennsylvania Barge|barge, original Glassblowing|blown-glass windows (which cracked from the rattling of the ground from the Concorde during liftoff at Dulles International Airport), a Jefferson Monticello modeled after the one in Monticello, a hallway with an upward-diagonal ceiling (following its destruction by the Union Army burning during the Bristoe campaign and subsequent rebuild), and an elegant 19th-century Washingtonian drawing room.

The property also has historically-important structures such as a 19th-century Loudoun barn|Barn and an 18th-century Well|well, as well as a Slavery in the United States|slave's quarters built during the early 19th century.

Win and David successfully had the home preserved by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and on the Virginia Historic Landmark|Virginia Historic Landmarks Register..[7] This included the introduction of the 2007 Merrybrook Law to the Virginia General Assembly introducing Curator|resident curatorship to historical properties in Virginia. Win's work as leader of the Friends of Laura Ratcliffe, as well as her work fundraising and building awareness, was instrumental in Merrybrook's preservation and awarded status[3]

Poetic and Artistic Legacy

Meiselman left hundreds of poems in manuscript, a selection of which she independently published in 2017[2]. Meiselman was also an artist, painter, and gardener.


  1. "DR. STANLEY E. CHARM Obituary (2020) Boston Globe".
  2. 2.0 2.1 Meiselman, Win: I Would Live and other poems (Merrybrook Press: 2017)
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Civil War Home Seeks National Recognition".
  4. "Winifred Meiselman Obituary (2021)". Retrieved 2021-12-26.
  5. Estrada, L., Bernard S. White, Jewish Activist, Dies. Washington Post, 2001
  6. "Arafat and the U.S. Visa Denial |".
  7. "Observer Online | Merrybrook Could Join Nat'l Historic Register". September 27, 2007.

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