You might remember from history class that colonial Americans bought and sold things with Native Americans using wampum, that is beads made from shells. The Dutch in New Netherland used wampum too, but they called it “sewant.”  This was an important but not the only form of money in the colony.  In 17th century Virginia, […]

An article by Adrian Wooldridge in the Economist’s 1843 magazine credits the 20th century decline in hat-wearing to two main causes: soldiers returning from World War Two bucking formality, and the influence of our President John “hatless Jack” Fitzgerald Kennedy. Both explanations are part of the story, to be sure, but they are far from […]

Book Review: Robert Tracy McKenzie, A Little Book for new Historians: Why and How to Study History (InterVarsity Press, 2019) This is a well-written but fairly standard history methods book with an interesting Christian and conservative perspective.  Like dozens of authors before him, McKenzie begins with a definition of history that draws a distinction between […]

Application to be a Peer-Reviewer for the Journal of Delays and Excuses (impact factor 0.0) The Journal of Delays and Excuses (impact factor 0.0) welcomes applications to join our review board from scholars who work at prestigious universities or who have hyphenated surnames (British, French, or African-sounding names preferred.)  To be considered, you must have […]

De Onbekende Geschiedenis van Nederlanders in Grandville, MI: 1847-1900 (The Unknown History of the Dutch in Grandville, MI: 1847-1900) Tot de dag van vandaag is er maar weinig geschreven over de geschiedenis van de vroege Nederlandse immigraten in Grandville, MI.  De redenen daarvoor zijn wel duidelijk. Ten eerste was Grandville sinds zijn ontstaan een Amerikaanse […]

It’s a phrase frequently employed in media coverage of Dutch Americans. It appears on kitsch t-shirts and coffee mugs. Even Dutch King Willem Alexander said it a speech in Michigan in 2015. “There’s an old expression here,” chuckles Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University in Grand […]

Took a trip over to Charlottesville a few weeks ago to hang out and talk about my new book: Episode 114: Creative Historical Thinking, or, Thinking Outside the Box

In the 2016 presidential election, Dutch-Americans and the Mormons were outliers. Both voted heavily Republican, but were also strongly against Trump in the primaries. Why is this the case? Timothy Carney, in a new book, Alienated Argument: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse (Harper Collins, 2019) argues that Dutch-American places like Oostburg (WI), Orange […]

Continuing now with my third post on the topic of African Americans in Washington County, N.Y.  In the previous posts, I challenged the 1810 census reading of 2,815 “other persons not including Indians not taxed” for Washington County. More specifically, I challenged the idea that these were all free blacks and I suggested that perhaps […]

In a previous post, I questioned whether there was a large African American migration to Washington County NY in the first decade of the 19th century, or if this was actually some kind of census anomaly. Could over 2,500 free African Americans move into and out of a rural county in one decade and be […]