Book Summaries

An Enduring Hope
An Enduring Hope: A Sesquicentennial History of Hope College, 1866-2016. Forthcoming

Jacob E. Nyenhuis is lead author and editor of this sesquicentennal volume. The publication is a detailed record of the rich history of the college, including academics, athletics, social life, financials, architecture and much more. Preorder price is $99 plus shipping and handling through the Hope Geneva Bookstore. Preorders available soon.

Seeds of Hope
Seeds of Hope, Seeds of Hate: A Love Story (Begins). Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press, 2016.

Seeds of Hope coverIn October 1944, as war raged across the globe, Ed and Ruth Luidens set sail with unbounded optimism from Philadelphia to a life as missionaries in the Middle East. After three grueling months of stop-and-start trekking, the young couple arrived in Basrah, Iraq, to begin two years of intensive Arabic language training. They were immediately thrust into a world rent by the ravages of colonialism, by massive ethnic and religious migration, and by lingering battlefield hostility. Throughout this experience they wrote vivid descriptions to their parents, letters which form the basis of Seeds of Hope, Seeds of Hate.

The letters reveal that Ruth was introduced to the private domain of Iraqi women, Moslem and Christian alike. In the harems, sanctuaries for wives and children, she learned of women’s hopes and fears, of their growing restiveness with a hide-bound structure which closeted many of them while their husbands met the world outside. At the same time, Ed encountered the men in the public arena, discovering their growing nationalism, their frustration with centuries of imperial domination and manipulation, and their hopes for a better future for their fellow citizens. This volume sets the stage for the story of their decades of work among Arab folk from Bahrain to Beirut, a story which is still to come.

Paperback: 107 of pages

Hope Beyond Borders
Stephen I. Hemenway. Hope Beyond Borders: The Life and Letters of Paul Fried. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press, 2014.

Hope Beyond Borders coverPaul Fried occasionally spoke of a desire to write an autobiographical memoir or a novel based on his wartime experiences, but he never completed this task. Indeed, he seldom even spoke about the many traumatic events that peppered his life from 1919 to 1945.

After examining Fried’s extensive autobiographical notes, carbon copies of at least 10,000 personal letters that he wrote and preserved, and other personal papers, Hemenway has produced a fully researched biography of one of Hope College’s most endearing and brilliant professors. This book is at once a serious treatment of discrimination and persecution, refugee status, unsuccessful efforts to save family members and WWII exploits, and a humorous look at Paul’s passion for automobiles, food and travel as told by Paul with insight and wry humor.

Paperback: 454 pages

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Enduring Legacy
Jacob E. Nyenhuis and George Harinck, eds. The Enduring Legacy of Albertus C. Van Raalte as Leader and Liaison. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014.

Enduring Legacy coverThe celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Albertus C. Van Raalte in October 2011 provided a distinct opportunity to evaluate the legacy of one of the best known Dutch immigrants of the 19th century. By focusing exclusively on him and his leadership, rather than on the community that he founded, we are able better to understand his character, his challenges and his contributions.

These essays were all presented at the international conference held in Holland, Michigan, and Ommen, Overijssel, the Netherlands, with the conference theme of “Albertus C. Van Raalte: Leader and Liaison.” They are here presented in three broad categories which serve as the organizing principle for this book: biographical essays, thematic essays and reception studies.

Hardcover: 517 pages

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Holland, Michigan
Robert P. Swierenga. Holland, Michigan: From Dutch Colony to Dynamic City. 3 vols. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014.

Holland, Michigan volume 1 coverThe first-ever, comprehensive history of Holland and the surrounding regions recounts the remarkable transformation of this area from its humble origins as a Dutch immigrant colony and college town into one of the most significant and prosperous communities on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. By dint of hard work, thrift and sharing, the enterprising residents developed thriving industries in leather, fine furniture and food processing and in the 20th century, shipbuilding, automotive parts and office furniture.

The All-American City, with a high rate of homeownership and rated second nationally on the Happiness Index, is rich in churches, public and Christian schools, social services, and cultural and leisure opportunities. The town-gown relationship is strong, and the senior citizens center is unparalleled nationally. Eighth Street — Holland’s “Main Street” — is alive with shops and eateries. With this publication, Holland is that rare city with a comprehensive account of its history from Indian habitat to dynamic and thriving city. Nearly 900 photographs, documents, maps and charts illuminate the text and make this monumental work a “big splash” in a small city.

Hardcover: 2,618 pages

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Dutch Americans and War
Robert P. Swierenga, Nella Kennedy, and Lisa Zylstra, eds. Dutch Americans and War: United States and Abroad. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press, 2014.

Dutch Americans and War coverPapers from the Nineteenth Biennial Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Dutch American Studies (AADAS), Pella, Iowa, June 2013.

Since the mid-nineteenth century, the successful prosecution of American wars involved the entire population. Wars had become total, including immigrant groups, like the Dutch, who were caught up in conflicts before they had mastered the language of the land or before they had even become citizens. Wars actually hastened assimilation as immigrants stood shoulder to shoulder with Americans of all nationalities in fighting the nation’s wars and defending the home front by their labor and sacrifice.

This volume recounts Dutch American responses from the Civil War to the Vietnam War, both as citizens and soldiers.

Paperback: 400 pages

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Diverse Destinies
Nella Kennedy, Mary Risseeuw, and Robert P. Swierenga, eds. Diverse Destinies: Dutch Kolonies in Wisconsin and the East. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press, 2012.

Diverse Destinies coverPapers from the Eighteenth Biennial Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Dutch American Studies (AADAS), Sheboygan, Wisconsin, June 2011, as well as some lectures presented at the conference organized by the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center in 2008.

The role of Dutch American immigration to and settlement in Wisconsin — in contrast to the accounts of the Dutch in Michigan and Iowa — has been overlooked or minimized over the years. Early scholarship often betrayed the anti-Catholic bias of Protestant researchers, and the settlements in Wisconsin were clearly more isolated from each other than those in Iowa and Michigan, which allowed them to develop patterns unlike those elsewhere. The papers from this conference begin to explore the heretofore largely untapped history of Dutch kolonies in Wisconsin and the East.

Paperback: 278 pages

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Across Borders
Jacob E. Nyenhuis, Suzanne M. Sinke, and Robert P. Swierenga, eds. Across Borders: Dutch Migration to North America and Australia. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press, 2010.

Across Borders coverPapers from the Seventeenth Biennial Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Dutch American Studies (AADAS), Ancaster, Ontario, Canada, June 2009.

The theme “across borders” was chosen for this conference in part to reflect the literal passage across borders, which this meeting in Canada entailed for AADAS members from the United States. Yet “across borders” also embodied more figurative meanings, such as comparisons between generations, as well as the search for identity which meant replicating or replacing previous ideas and practices in a new setting or because of different circumstances. Separation also featured prominently in the theme of Christian institutions: churches, labor unions and other groups. The ringing attention to religion found in previous AADAS conferences resonated even deeper in this case. In other ways, the conference echoed and amplified topics from the past.

Paperback: 269 pages

Dutch American Arts and Letters
Robert P. Swierenga, Jacob E. Nyenhuis, and Nella Kennedy, eds. Dutch-American Arts and Letters in Historical Perspective. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press, 2008.

Dutch-American Arts and Letters coverPapers from the Sixteenth Biennial Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Dutch American Studies (AADAS), Holland, Michigan, June 2007. This conference was devoted to the exploration of the arts in the formation of a Dutch American subculture.

The result of “this colorful palette of essays” (as Hans Krabbendam says in his introduction to the book) shows that “Although developing the arts was not a priority of the pioneers, they did develop, thanks to a well-developed network of communication” and were important in the “process of selecting and preserving elements of the past for future use in shaping cultural and ethnic identities on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Paperback: 234 pages

Envisioning Hope College
Elton J. Bruins and Karen G. Schakel, eds. Envisioning Hope College: Letters Written by Albertus C. Van Raalte to Philip Phelps Jr., 1857 - 1875. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011.

Envisioning Hope College coverThese 94 letters of Albertus C. Van Raalte, founder of the city of Holland, Michigan, to Philip Phelps Jr., who became the first president of Hope College, are significant for two reasons in particular. First, of all the publications about Van Raalte — beginning in 1893 with the first of five biographies — none reveals fully who the man really was, since Van Raalte’s words are rarely quoted. In these letters, Van Raalte’s voice is unscripted and clear. The reader can learn much about his character and personality from what he wrote to Phelps, his coworker and friend.

Second, these letters are deeply personal because they were written to his close friend and confidant. The extant letters of Van Raalte number in the hundreds, but few of his correspondents were as trusted as Phelps. Van Raalte’s dominant personality, as well as his drive to develop the Holland colony that he founded in 1847, left little room for the development of close friendships. Phelps was part of Van Raalte’s inner circle, and due to their kinship and the common cause of Christian higher education, Van Raalte opened his mind and heart to an extent that he rarely did with others. These letters therefore reveal more of his personality and inner feelings than any other of his extensive body of writings.

Hardcover: 520 pages

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Albertus and Christina
Elton J. Bruins, Karen G. Schakel, Sara Fredrickson Simmons, and Marie N. Zingle. Albertus and Christina: The Van Raalte Family, Home and Roots. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.

Albertus and Christina coverThis volume records for the first time a fully documented family history and genealogy of the primary leader of Dutch immigration to West Michigan, Albertus C. Van Raalte, and his wife Christina de Moen. Drawing on previously compiled genealogical information, archival records, and family letters and photographs, the authors worked diligently to “set the record straight” and provide a document future historians and genealogists can build on. The book includes brief biographical sketches and an account of what happened to the Van Raalte papers and homestead and traces what happened to their seven children and their descendants.

Hardcover: 250 pages

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Dutch Leader and American Patriot
Albertus C. Van Raalte: Dutch Leader and American Patriot coverJeanne Jacobson, Elton J. Bruins, and Larry J. Wagenaar.  Albertus C. Van Raalte: Dutch Leader and American Patriot (Holland, MI: Hope College, 1996).

A fully illustrated volume that celebrates the life of Rev. A. C. Van Raalte, the founder of Holland, Michigan, and cofounder of Hope College with Rev. Philip Phelps Jr. (see Envisioning Hope College above), and presents his vision for the future as it has been realized 150 years later.

Hardcover: 251 pages

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Pope of the Classis
"Pope of the Classis"? coverLeon van den Broeke. “Pope of the Classis”? The Leadership of Albertus C. Van Raalte in Dutch and American Classes. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press, 2011.

“Pope of the classis” was a name critics gave Rev. A. C. Van Raalte. It is usually not a compliment when Protestants call each other Pope; this word has been a weapon in ecclesiastical battles. Is it true that Van Raalte acted as Pope of the Classis of Holland? This book studies, among other issues, Van Raalte’s attitude in the Dutch classes and his influence in classical matters, both in the Netherlands and in the United States.

Paperback: 100 pages

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A Dream Fulfilled
Jacob E. Nyenhuis and Jeanne Jacobson. A Dream Fulfilled: The Van Raalte Sculpture in Centennial Park. Holland, MI: Hope College, 1997.

A Dream Fulfilled coverThis volume details the history of the sculpture of the Reverend Albertus C. Van Raalte, created in honor of the sesquicentennial of the city that he founded in 1847. Included are photographs of the bronze-casting process, the installation of the sculpture and Centennial Park. Appendices include a biography of Van Raalte, the ship’s passenger list for the Southerner on which Van Raalte and his followers sailed in September 1846 from Rotterdam to New York, and a history of Centennial Park, including the names of all area members of the armed services who died in wartime from the Civil War to the Vietnam War.

Hardcover: 122 pages

Old Wing Mission
Robert P. Swierenga and William Van Appledorn, eds. Old Wing Mission: Cultural Interchange as Chronicled by George and Arvilla Smith in Their Work with Chief Wakazoo’s Ottawa Band on the West Michigan Frontier. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans/Reformed Church Press, 2008.

Old Wing Mission coverThe story of the Ottawa Indians in West Michigan is told here primarily through the diaries and memoirs of George and Arvilla Smith, a Protestant missionary and his wife, who lived and raised their family among the Ottawa Indians. Memoranda and letters are also included, giving a fuller picture of the trials of frontier missionaries. The book begins with an introductory chapter on the history of Old Wing Mission.

The Smiths established their mission near modern-day Holland, Michigan, in the 1830s; their outpost was called the Old Wing Mission. The Smiths provided worship services, education for the children, and, in addition, communicated with the federal government on behalf of the Ottawa Indians. The diary and memorandum of George Smith cover the period 1838–49; Arvilla’s diary begins and ends earlier, 1832–45. Also included in the book are Arvilla Smith’s memoirs, published in the Grand Traverse Herald, Traverse City, Michigan, in 1892; an essay on the “Life and Work of the Late Rev. George N. Smith: A Pioneer Missionary,” by Etta Smith Wilson, his daughter; and relevant correspondence in the records of the Michigan Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 1839–50.

Hardcover: 684 pages

Aunt Tena
Jacob E. Nyenhuis, Robert P. Swierenga, and Lauren M. Berka, eds. Aunt Tena, Called to Serve: Journals and Letters of Tena A. Huizenga, Missionary Nurse to Nigeria. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans/Reformed Church Press, 2009.

Aunt Tena coverFocusing on her service in remote Lupwe, Nigeria, through the Christian Reformed Church from 1937 to 1954, this volume provides insight into the foreign-mission experience of long-time medical missionary and nurse Tena A. Huizenga. It tells the story primarily through her correspondence with family and friends, her journals and her published articles, and includes chapters by historian Harry Boonstra which provide biographical and historical context concerning Huizenga and her service as well as the Christian Reformed Church’s support of missions in Nigeria.

“This intensely human volume guides us through 17 memorable years of Nigerian mission history,” said Eugene Rubingh, former executive secretary of Christian Reformed World Missions. “Drawn from Tena Huizenga’s own letters, the events are sketched through the lens of joy and tears, of small victories and unimaginable obstacles. Both candor and love transform mundane facts into a warm and lively account of a life poured out for God.”

Hardcover: 976 pages

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Hendrik P Scholte
Eugene P. Heideman. Hendrik P. Scholte: His Legacy in the Netherlands and in America. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015.

Hendrik P. Scholte coverThe purpose of this book is to make available to American readers who do not read Dutch a more nuanced knowledge of the thoughts of Scholte during the years from 1834 to 1847 as revealed in articles in De Reformatie and in his correspondence with colleagues. This book is not a biography of Scholte, although it does contain biographical material. By making available information about events in the Netherlands between 1815 and 1847, this book enables American readers to come to a better understanding not only of the contribution of Scholte but also of several issues that led to controversy among the leaders in the Secession. More detailed knowledge of those issues can also help Reformed denominations in America and Canada move beyond 19th- and early-20th-century polemical writings about the Secession of 1834 that still hamper moving forward in cooperation today.

Paperback: 270 pages

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We live presently under a waning moon
George Harinck. “We live presently under a waning moon”: Nicolaus Martin Steffens as Leader of the Reformed Church in America in the West in Years of Transition (1878-1895). Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press, 2013.

"We Presently Live Under a Waning Moon" coverThis book introduces Nicolaus Martin Steffens and his impact on the Reformed in Western Michigan by discussing four aspects of his life:

  1. His biography up to his Michigan years and then in Michigan
  2. As a churchman
  3. As a professor
  4. As a journalist

The focus is on the way Steffens functioned as a leader within his community, with special attention given to his relationship to the most impressive renewal in Reformed theology of his days, Neo-Calvinism.

An English translation of the collection of letters and postcards Steffens wrote to Abraham Kuyper is contained in an appendix. These documents offer Steffens’ intimate view on American and Dutch issues in a more personal tone.

Paperback: 198 pages

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The American Diary of Jacob Van Hinte
Peter Ester, Nella Kennedy, and Earl Wm. Kennedy, eds. The American Diary of Jacob Van Hinte. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans/Reformed Church Press, 2010.

The American Diary of Jacob Van Hinte coverThe Van Raalte Institute and the Van Raalte Press are very pleased to present this valuable addition to the understanding of Dutch immigration to America. For decades, this diary of Jacob Van Hinte, author of the monumental Netherlanders in America, has been hidden in the archives of the Van Hinte family. Until now, it has been available only in Dutch.

Van Hinte’s diary is quite compressed, yet it is rich in insights and detail. We travel with him in our imagination from Rotterdam by ship to America, in and across America by all the means of transport available in 1921 — steamboat, taxi cab, ferry boat, street car, subway, train, interurban railway, automobile and paddle boat. We get his immediate response to the cities, towns, and villages that he visited — from New York to Chicago, from Grand Rapids and Holland, Michigan, to Pella and Orange City, Iowa, and all the scenery in between.

Paperback: 196 pages

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Family Quarrels
Robert P. Swierenga and Elton J. Bruins. Family Quarrels in the Dutch Reformed Church in the Nineteenth Century. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.

Family Quarrels coverFamily Quarrels focuses on the religious history of the Dutch Calvinist emigration from the Netherlands to West Michigan and the church struggles of the early settlers. It explores the reasons that prompted Dutch religious separatists to emigrate to the United States, founding settlements like Holland and takes a close look at major events in their history such as the Holland Classis joining the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church in the United States, the 1857 secession that produced the Christian Reformed Church and the Masonic controversy that led to more division in 1882. Although the book deals with the division and strife within the Dutch Reformed Church, it grew out of a spirit of reconciliation and an ardent desire for unity.

Paperback: 150 pages

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Faith, Family, and Fortune
Peter Ester. Faith, Family, and Fortune: Reformed Upbringing and Calvinist Values of Highly Successful Dutch American Entrepreneurs. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press, 2012.

“For me, the greatest pleasure comes not from the endless acquisition of material things but from creating wealth and giving it away,” Jan Van Andel, “An Enterprising Life” (1998)

Faith, Family, and Fortune coverWest Michigan has a striking presence of successful Dutch American enterprises or perhaps more accurate, enterprises founded by Dutch Americans. Several of these companies have turned into megabusinesses. Dutch American entrepreneurs have done well and have left their mark on the West Michigan economy. But most of these Dutch American entrepreneurs are committed Protestants, active members of Reformed churches and firm believers in Calvinist doctrines. Somehow Calvinism and entrepreneurship go well together and, in combination, prosper in the American cultural context. To clarify this relationship is one of the main goals of this study.

Paperback: 111 pages

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A Goodly Heritage
Jacob E. Nyenhuis, ed. A Goodly Heritage: Essays in Honor of the Reverend Dr. Elton J. Bruins at Eighty. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans/Reformed Church Press, 2007.

A Goodly Heritage coverA Goodly Heritage is a collection of essays celebrating the career of Elton J. Bruins, who is retired from the Hope College faculty (1966–92), where he was the Evert C. and Hattie E. Blekkink Professor of Religion, chairperson of the department and dean for Arts and Humanities; he also is retired from directing the Van Raalte Institute (1994–2002). This festschrift was presented to Dr. Bruins in honor of his 80th birthday.

The 15 essays in the volume fall into three categories, all reflecting different aspects of Bruins’s career. The first 10 concern church history and theology, the next two focus on different aspects of the life of Rev. A. C. Van Raalte, and the final three deal with local history. The topics range from religious conflict in the 19th century to the Civil War, to Hope College history, to the effort to create the Joint Archives of Holland, to recent ideological conflict in the field of Reformation history, to contemporary issues in the Reformed Church of America.

Hardcover: 412 pages

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Tools for Understanding
James Hart Brumm, ed. Tools for Understanding: Essays in Honor of Donald J. Bruggink. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans/Reformed Church Press, 2009.

Tools for Understanding coverThis book is a collection of 12 essays in honor of Donald J. Bruggink to celebrate the occasion of his 80th birthday and to mark the publication of the 60th volume of the Historical Series of the Reformed Church in America, of which Bruggink serves as the general editor. 

“History as a tool for understanding” was a favorite phrase used by Bruggink when he was teaching classes in historical theology at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. That phrase is a reminder that history helps us understand the church, our churches and the scriptures. In this volume, the essays are tools for understanding four areas of Bruggink’s life and ministry: Western Seminary, where he spent significant time for half of his life; the study of history, a passion of his since Central College days; theological education, the primary vocation for most of his ministry; and the nature of God and the Church. Architecture of worship spaces, a primary interest of Bruggink, is integral to an essay in the final section.

Hardcover: 352 pages

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Historic Dutch Sites
Robert P. Swierenga, author; Jacob E. Nyenhuis, ed; Mark Cook, maps; Historic Dutch Sites In The Holland/Zeeland Area, Van Raalte Press, 2015

Historic Dutch Sites book coverThis guide is a revision and expansion by Robert P. Swierenga of one by Henry Ippel, which was published in 1996 by the Dutch American Historical Commission (DAHC).

This new version of Dutch Sites has 18 additional sites, many new photographs and some excellent detailed maps by Mark Cook. One of the most significant changes is the addition of colored maps as a centerfold and as a separate enlargement that has been tucked into every guide. A special feature of this guide is the addition of the Elfstedenfietstocht (Eleven-City Bicycle Tour), which is modeled after the Elfstedentocht (Eleven-City Tour), which consists of a skating tour to eleven cities in the northern provinces of the Netherlands held whenever the canals are frozen solid. The route for the bicycle tour was developed by an ad hoc committee of Greg Holcombe, chair; Henk Aay; George Heerema; and Jacob E. Nyenhuis.

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