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A rare letter written by Mrs. Christina Johanna Van Raalte to her sons Ben and Dirk in Kalamazoo who have enlisted in the army and are currently stationed in Kalamazoo. She asks Dirk if he needed shirts. She makes a reference to a band of Indians in the vicinity who are feared to have "evil in mind." She hopes that son Albertus will make inquiry about them. Jan Oggel plans to be in Kalamazoo soon and they may likely see him. She hopes that they got the "goodies" she sent along with a Willem [Visscher?] for them. In conclusion she admonishes them to "seek God, seek deliverance for that never ending eternity, pray much." She signs as "loving mother."




Holland, Michigan


In Dutch; the first translator is unknown. Transcription and a revised translation 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 Mrs. Christina Johanna Van Raalte to Her Sons Ben and Dirk