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Heritage Hall

Manuscript Collection

Heritage Hall Manuscript Collection boxes

In addition to institutional repositories, Heritage Hall also contains collections of unpublished materials such as personal papers, letters, records, and manuscripts from individuals and organizations that are related to the story of Calvin University, the Christian Reformed Church, West Michigan, and Dutch Immigration.

Browse our online collection of finding aids or our collection of digitized materials.

Featured Collections

AC Van Raalte and PJ Oggel

Albertus C. Van Raalte Collection

The Albertus C. Van Raalte Collection houses the personal, family, and business papers of A.C. Van Raalte, as well as publications related to him and his work. This collection, which dates from 1829–1997, consists of correspondence, sermons, essays, speeches, articles, business papers, and personal memorabilia, documenting the life and works of A.C. Van Raalte, including his social background as a studious academic and entrepreneur of a brick manufactory in Ommen, his active involvement in the secessionist movement from the Dutch Reformed Church, his encouragement and aid of Dutch immigration to the United States, and his passion for improving the economy and education of the Holland colony.

This collection fits into the broader narrative of immigration to the United States and is unique in focusing not only on the immigration experience of the Dutch, but in examining that experience through the lens of the Holland colony’s foremost leader. In fleeing from religious persecution, the search for freedom colors every page of this immigrant collection, from the most spiritual of sermons to the driest of business papers. Researchers interested in the history of the church Secessionist (Afscheiding) movement, the development of the Holland colony, the background of Hope College, the narrative of the Van Raalte family, and the Dutch immigrant experience—from overcoming colonial struggles to fighting in the Civil War—will all find something to value in this collection.

colorized post card

Conrad and Dee Bult Postcard Collection

The Conrad and Dee Bult Postcard Collection is comprised of 2320 postcards collected by the Bults. The collection is focused on communities with Dutch immigrants. A majority of the postcards picture imagery of Michigan, with a significant portion featuring Grand Rapids and Grand Haven. A section of the postcards feature churches, with one portion of the collection specifically featuring churches from small towns in the United States. Other states are represented in this collection include New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, and Iowa. Iowa is the state that is most represented after Michigan. Many of the cards in this collection are blank, some are personal cards sent through the mail, and some are advertisements.

Browse our digitized postcards

Diet Eman diary

Diet Eman Collection

This collection features diaries, letters, photographs, and memorabilia from the life of Diet (Bernadina) Eman. Eman was born in the Netherlands in 1920 and joined the Dutch resistance when her homeland was invaded by the Nazis. Her diaries, letters, and papers tell the story of her experience of the war and the work of the Resistance. She reflects on her faith, politics, and her love for her fiancé, Hein Sietsma a co-resister who did not survive the war. 

After the war Diet left the Netherlands, eventually ending up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was persuaded to tell her story and worked with James Schaap to write her book, Things We Couldn't Say. 

Peter De Vries cartoon

Peter De Vries Collection

Author, Peter De Vries was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1910. His father wanted him to become a minister for the Christian Reformed Church, so De Vries enrolled at Calvin College. De Vries pursued his Calvin education as an English major and played basketball. After graduation, De Vries returned to Chicago picking up odd jobs, including a part-time job as associate editor for the magazine Poetry. In 1943, De Vries married one of the magazine’s contributors, Katinka Loeser.

Between 1940 and 1944 De Vries wrote three books, which quickly went out of print. For Poetry, De Vries wrote a flattering essay on James Thurber. Thurber was so taken by the essay, he passed along De Vries’ work to Harold Ross, the editor of The New Yorker. Ross enjoyed De Vries’ work so much so that he extended a job offer to him. De Vries accepted the position and moved out to Greenwich Village. De Vries became an occasional contributor for the magazine and a cartoon doctor, aiding the magazine’s cartoonists with captions and gags.

This collection includes bibliography, book reviews, writings, correspondence, page proofs, articles, scripts, galley sheets, letters from readers, award plaques, honorary degrees, academic stoles, baptismal dress, biographical information, gravestone rubbing, and autographed first edition books.