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A rare letter written by Mrs. Christina Johanna Van Raalte to her son Dirk who presumably is with his brother Ben in camp at Kalamazoo. She advises Dirk to sew his name in his handkerchiefs and in anything else he may buy. If he doesn't come home, he is to send the key of his desk to her. Daughters Christina and Maria hope to visit him during the summer but it is not clear when Dirk enlisted. Dirk has been assigned hospital duty. She admonishes him to "flee freely with all your sins to the atoning blood...." She closes her letter by writing, "Having embraced you in my thoughts I am your loving mother, C. J. Van Raalte."




Holland, Michigan


In Dutch; the first translator at Calvin College is unknown. A transcription and revised translation was made by Nella Kennedy, January, 2007.

Description of the document and reference to the collection at Calvin College Archives by Dr. Elton J. Bruins.

About the collection:

Elton J. Bruins, long-time professor in the Department of Religion at Hope College, spent years collecting documents by and about Albertus C. Van Raalte, founder of Holland, Michigan and early patron of Hope College. Documents were gathered from dozens of public and private collections, making a nearly exhaustive collection of Van Raalte's writings and reflections. It is these documents that make up the "Van Raalte Papers."

Digitizing the Van Raalte papers was supported by the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York. The project was done in partnership with Heritage Hall at Calvin University, which also digitized its Van Raalte collections.


The original documents are held in the Albertus C. Van Raalte Collection (M300) or the Dirk B.K. Van Raalte Collection (M301) in Heritage Hall, Hekman Library, Calvin University, Grand Rapids, MI. The Van Raalte material in Heritage Hall has since been reorganized.


This digitized material is intended for personal research/study only. The original documents may not be reproduced for commercial use in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from Heritage Hall at Calvin University. Contact the Curator at Heritage Hall.

Letter from C. J. Van Raalte to Dirk Van Raalte