Month: November 2019

Bessie Vander Valk and Missions in Cuba

Bessie Vander Valk and Missions in Cuba

Bessie Vander Valk was an unlikely candidate to church plant in Cuba. She was from Paterson, New Jersey, and did not speak Spanish.  Nonetheless, she felt called to evangelize the island nation despite opposition from her family and home church of Bethel Christian Reformed Church […]

Family, Land, and Church –  Founding Drayton CRC

Family, Land, and Church – Founding Drayton CRC

The stories of churches and families are intertwined. My grandfather, Frank Visscher, and his family emigrated from the Netherlands in March 1949, arriving in Canada on the RMS Aquitania in early April. He had been a prosperous farmer in the Netherlands. But he wanted land […]

The Strange Career of Pierre Van Paassen

The Strange Career of Pierre Van Paassen

Pierre Van Paassen lived a life of contradictions. He was a pacifist who set aside his principles to serve in the Canadian military and later returned to pacifism of a sort. He was a journalist who made up stories and bounced around jobs from Canada […]

Dutch Imperialism? – “Little Empire on the Prairie”

Dutch Imperialism? – “Little Empire on the Prairie”

Tulip Time in Pella, Iowa, seems so innocent in this mid-twentieth century postcard from the E.C. Kropp Co. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. But was this ethnic festival a sign of something untoward in the American heartland? Were Dutch Reformed “colonies”–as the immigrants themselves called them in […]

The Madison Campus, Then and Now

The Madison Campus, Then and Now

The current Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary campus–named after the “Knollcrest” farm, purchased in 1956–is the fourth for two institutions. Earlier Calvin campuses, going back to 1876, were on William Street, Madison and Fifth, and Franklin Street. This rephotography post focuses on the Madison […]

Klaas Niemeijer and the Dutch in Chicago

Klaas Niemeijer and the Dutch in Chicago

Klaas Niemeijer’s life was typical for an immigrant, and yet quite unique. He was a man on the move, first back home in Europe and then in his new home in America. Niemeijer moved to Germany around 1900  to work in a coal mine and […]