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A Message from the Director

Out of a deep sense of gratitude I begin our annual report by acknowledging our debt to the Huizenga family. Our benefactors were Elizabeth Bovenkerk Huizenga and her children, Elizabeth Huizenga Buntrock, Suzanne Huizenga Kanis, Peter H. Huizenga, Ginger Huizenga Jurries, and J. C. Huizenga. Their generous gifts endowed the Van Raalte Institute and provide funds for staff salaries and the entire program budget.

The Fellows of the Institute, as good stewards of the family's generosity, continue to research, write, publish, and make presentations before many groups who are interested in Dutch-American studies. The list of my publications and presentations this year, and those of Drs. Swierenga and Kennedy, appear at the end of our annual report. Dr. Jeanne M. Jacobson remains a Fellow of the Institute, affiliated with us at a distance. She has worked this year editing papers and, with Ms. Karen Schakel, the Institute's editorial assistant and office manager, has prepared our annual report.

In this report, we announce the appointment of a new Fellow, Dr. Jacob E. Nyenhuis, recently retired provost and professor of classics at Hope College. He began his appointment on 1 September and has an office now at the Institute.

The work of the Institute is enhanced by the contributions of our student assistants, about whom Ms. Schakel makes a report in this issue. They contribute much to our work. When graduation time arrives, we are always sorry to see them leave but wish them well in the next stage of their life journey.

It is fitting to take note in this report of several anniversaries which are occurring this year. Dr. Albertus C. Van Raalte was born in 1811, 190 years ago. He and his wife, Christina J. de Moen, were married in 1836, 165 years ago. Mrs. Van Raalte died in 1871, 130 years ago. The 125th anniversary of the death of Dr. Van Raalte on 7 November 1876 takes place this fall. We have not scheduled any special events marking these anniversaries, but we do note them. In addition, the sesquicentennial of the founding of the Pioneer School by Van Raalte takes place this year. The school began under the leadership of Walter T. Taylor in October 1851. Geoffrey Reynolds, Director of the Joint Archives of Holland, is mounting a special exhibit featuring this important anniversary. The incorporation of Hope College occurred in 1866, along with the graduation of the first class, 135 years ago.

We share with our readers the sad news that a good friend of the Van Raalte Institute, Dr. Gerrit J. ten Zythoff, passed away last March at his home in Springfield, Missouri. He had taught for many years at Southwest Missouri State University and served as the founder and the first chair of its Department of Religious Studies. Dr. ten Zythoff had an extensive historical library. He donated many Dutch and English works on Netherlands religious history to the Institute's research library. We mourn his passing.

The Institute appreciates the support of Hope College's administration. President James E. Bultman and Associate Provost Alfredo Gonzales are generous with the time and attention they give us. Barry Werkman, Vice President for Business and Finance, and I consult several times a year.

The office hours of the Institute are from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each weekday, and afternoons by appointment. Our telephone number is 616-395-7678, our e-mail address is, and our fax number is 616-395-7120. You are invited to check news of the Institute at our website at

Elton J. Bruins
Director, A. C. Van Raalte Institute