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 […]

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 […]

Windmills, Wooden Shoes, and Politics (Origins Vol. 37, No. 2)

Windmills, Wooden Shoes, and Politics (Origins Vol. 37, No. 2)

The fall issue of Origins: Historical Magazine of The Archives (vol. 38, no. 2) is now available in print. It focuses on Dutch Reformed immigrants, their descendants, and politics. Included, below, in this blog post is a link to a free essay from the fall […]

Harold Botts, Community Church, and the Detroit Riots of 1967

Harold Botts, Community Church, and the Detroit Riots of 1967

Reverend Harold Botts sensed a call to start a church in the African American community of Detroit in the early 1960s. He followed it and decided to serve a population that recently had been displaced by “urban renewal.” He had no idea that his church […]

A Home for Dutch Sailors and Immigrants in Hoboken, NJ

A Home for Dutch Sailors and Immigrants in Hoboken, NJ

Last week, Calvin University got word that alumnus and long time librarian Conrad Bult had passed away. Conrad was a periodicals and reference librarian and a historian, and he was much loved in Hekman Library, Heritage Hall, and the history department. This morning I was […]