Recent Posts

Origins Stories in the CRC, Then and Now

Origins Stories in the CRC, Then and Now

Origins stories have a “mythic” function. By “myth” I don’t mean “bad history” because the facts are wrong or made up. I mean stories that people tell to explain who they are, where they come from, and why they matter. Stories about identity. We all […]

Learning to be Dutch Reformed (Origins Vol. 39, No. 1)

Learning to be Dutch Reformed (Origins Vol. 39, No. 1)

The spring 2021 issue of Origins: Historical Magazine of The Archives (vol. 39, no. 1) is being printed and mailed and soon will be in mailboxes. It focuses on education, broadly defined. Included in this blog post, below, is a link to a free essay […]

Dutch Heritage – From a Novel to an Archive II

Dutch Heritage – From a Novel to an Archive II

The previous blog post by John Meyer told the story of his growing interest in Dutch American history, culture, and language. This post continues his story, focusing on his work on the Van Raalte collections of Heritage Hall. A Dutch pastor, Van Raalte led the […]

Dutch Heritage – From a Novel to an Archive

Dutch Heritage – From a Novel to an Archive

You never know where a story is going to take you. One that I read as a child led me to a digitization project in the Heritage Hall Archives at Calvin University. Now I am working on the collections associated with Albertus C. Van Raalte, […]

Christian Reformed Veterans of World War II

Christian Reformed Veterans of World War II

“Christianity isn’t passive–it’s active,” said a WWII veteran in 1945, recalling the lessons he learned during the war. Over 16 million Americans served in the United States Armed Forces during WWII. In 1991 the Christian Reformed Church conducted a survey of veterans and their experiences. […]

Navajo Missions and Glass Slides

Navajo Missions and Glass Slides

Heritage Hall has several small collections of glass slides, sometimes called “magic lantern” slides. A couple of the collections seem to be the product of traveling in Europe, the traveler buying the slides (perhaps for use in a classroom) rather than photographing sites himself or […]

From Collecting Postcards to Working in an Archive

From Collecting Postcards to Working in an Archive

When I was a child, my cousin sent me a postcard from Peru, where he was working at the time. It wasn’t the first postcard I’d received, but it was the one that sparked in me an interest in collecting postcards from around the world, […]

Tragedy and an Immigrant Voice — Willem de Lange

Tragedy and an Immigrant Voice — Willem de Lange

Boys racing homemade bobsleds down the Bridge Street Hill in Grand Rapids hit Willem Hendrik de Lange in January 1874. “On the evening of this accident,” De Lange’s father-in-law reported, “he left our house in good spirits.” Shortly after, six to eight big boys on […]

Chimes and American Violence 50 Years Ago

Chimes and American Violence 50 Years Ago

This week I thought it might be interesting to see what was being discussed 50 years ago in Chimes, the student newspaper of Calvin College, now Calvin University. As I scanned the 5 March 1971 issue of Chimes, several articles caught my eye. Two stories […]

Life- and World- View for Young Calvinists

Life- and World- View for Young Calvinists

The Reformed tradition has a reputation in Christian circles for being very serious about ideas, especially doctrine, but also Christian philosophy and thought generally. I remember, as a teenager, Calvinists sometimes being described as the “frozen chosen.” And I remember being delighted in my early […]

Dutch Immigrants and the Alamosa Disaster in Colorado

Dutch Immigrants and the Alamosa Disaster in Colorado

On November 30, 1892, on a train from Hoboken, NJ, to Alamosa, CO, Marinus Aalbers glanced at his wife and children sitting across from him in their seats. They had left the Netherlands 23 days ago and expected to arrive at their last stop in […]