Recent Posts

Why Origins Online?

Why Origins Online?

Origins Online? Why? I am a digital person. I have a blog and several social media accounts. But I remember when life was analog. I learned to type on a manual typewriter in the early 1980s. In college I wrote papers and an undergraduate thesis […]

The Smells and Tastes of Being Dutch Reformed

The Smells and Tastes of Being Dutch Reformed

What shapes an identity? What makes a community? I grew up in Dutch Reformed immigrant communities in towns and farm communities in Ontario, Canada, in the 1970s and early 1980. My father was the “domine” in a series of congregations from the Ottawa region to […]

The Dutch Teamster and the Mob

The Dutch Teamster and the Mob

In my previous blogpost, “The Minister and the Mob,” I wrote about the struggles of a man leading a congregation against evil in the world. This post is a distinct but related story about a man standing up for his beliefs and what he knew […]

Adjusting to Immigrants

Adjusting to Immigrants

“Immigration is taking place under greatly changed situations, and in a different land. So in that very real sense, history is not repeating itself.” If you read this quotation with current headlines in mind, you might have wondered whether it is about debates over immigration […]

The Minister and the Mob

The Minister and the Mob

In the face of evil, it can be hard to take a stand. Reverend Edward J. Masselink was one of those who did. He mobilized his church to stand up to the Chicago mob. Edward Masselink graduated from Princeton Seminary and received his Th.D. from […]

Enemy Aliens?  World War I and Dutch Americans

Enemy Aliens? World War I and Dutch Americans

World War I transformed life for Dutch Americans. Many Americans became hyper-patriotic when the U.S. declared war on Germany and its allies in 1917. Ordinary liberties came under assault. The government jailed some pacifists and socialists who criticized the war. Ordinary citizens sometimes became vigilantes, […]

A Digital Future for Old Postcards

A Digital Future for Old Postcards

In November 1918, young George Faber sent a postcard home to Michigan from Russia. He was part of the 339th Infantry Regiment and American Expeditionary Force, North Russia that intervened in the Russian civil war after the communist revolution of 1917. It was known as […]

Christmases Past in the Christian Reformed Church

Christmases Past in the Christian Reformed Church

Our traditions usually feel age-old, as if we’ve always done them that way. But those traditions often are recent in origin or at least recent in the peculiar way we celebrate them. This is true of our “liturgies” of Christmas and the New Year. In […]

Dutch Frontier Women in the North American West

Dutch Frontier Women in the North American West

This blog post will resonate with anyone familiar with the Little House on the Prairie novels and TV series. The “little House” stories were based on the real history of the Ingalls and Wilder families but altered by Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter Rose […]

The Dutch and Furniture City (Origins Vol. 37, No. 2)

The Dutch and Furniture City (Origins Vol. 37, No. 2)

The fall 2019 issue of Origins: Historical Magazine of The Archives (vol. 37, no. 2) is now available in print! It focuses on Dutch immigrants and the furniture industry in Grand Rapids. You can access one of the articles for free, below. As Janet Sjaarda […]

“Ideals for the School” — Calvin University in 1926

“Ideals for the School” — Calvin University in 1926

Calvin “University” is about five months old. The idea of a “Calvin University” goes back almost a century, to the founding era of Calvin College as a four-year, bachelor’s degree-granting school. In 1926 to mark Calvin’s fiftieth anniversary, supporters published the Semi-Centennial Volume: Theological School […]