posted September 29, 1998

Larry Wagenaar Concludes Term As State Historical Society President

Larry J. Wagenaar, director of the Joint Archives of Holland, concluded his second and final term as president of the Historical Society of Michigan at the annual State History Conference, held in Midland on Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 19-20.  The society is Michigan's oldest cultural organization.

          In his farewell address, Wagenaar emphasized the
  value of the people committed to Michigan's unique history.
  "The Historical Society of Michigan is the main membership
  organization committed to advancing the cause of our state's
  heritage" he remarked.  "We need to mobilize our members and
  communities to better understand their heritage as well as
  how they fit into the greater tale of Michigan's past."
          Wagenaar also paid tribute to a committed board of
  trustees, which stayed fully engaged throughout the past
  several years.  "After a few years of challenge, the society
  is now on firm ground and is well positioned to make an even
  greater impact in advancing Michigan history," he said.
          During his term in office, the Historical Society
  of Michigan reversed a trend of budget losses, posting two
  consecutive years of a budget surpluses and membership
  gains.  The society also made major strides through an
  expanded Michigan History Day, refinanced longterm debt to
  ensure financial stability, worked to improve the historical
  journal "Michigan Historical Review" and attended to a
  number of important capital projects.
          Wagenaar is an associate professor at Hope College
  and director of the Joint Archives of Holland, a position he
  has held for 10 years.  His other professional leadership
  positions have included serving as president of the Michigan
  Archival Association and the Association for the Advancement
  of Dutch American Studies (AADAS), service on a number of
  boards and committees, and being volunteer director of the
  Holland Area Historical Society.  His most recent
  publications include "A.C. Van Raalte:  Dutch Leader and
  American Patriot" with Jeanne Jacobson and Elton Bruins, and
  the AADAS conference proceedings "The Sesquicentennial of
  Dutch Immigration: 150 Years of Ethnic Heritage."
          Wagenaar is a graduate of Hope College and Kent
  State University.  He has served on the board of trustees of
  the Historical Society of Michigan since 1992.
          Tawny Ryan Nelb of Midland is the society's new
  president, and the society's executive director is Hugh
  Gurney.  The Historical Society of Michigan was founded in