Author Archives: michaeljdouma

Presentation for the Holland (Michigan) Museum

My presentation on “The Legend of the Black Dutchman”

Graphing wait times for the DMV

A Brief History of the Origins of Croquet in America

Unlike the obscure origins of most other American sports, Croquet’s beginning in the United States is quite definite. Well, that is if we believe a newspaper advertisement from 1863, in which Daniel O. Goodrich, proprietor of the Boston Bazaar, claimed to have introduced the game to the American public two years earlier, in 1861.   […]

Who Invented the “Wet Burrito”?

A recent thread on reddit concerned the origin of the “wet burrito.” For those who don’t know, a wet burrito is like a regular burrito, but it is typically eaten on a plate, with a fork, and it is covered in an enchilada sauce. Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the 1980s and 1990s, […]

JP Morgan

A business school student tells me he has an interview with J.P. Morgan. Me the historian: “Wait, J.P. Morgan is still alive?”

My article on Dutch-speaking runaway slaves in Geschiedenis Magazine

The full article in Dutch is here.

History and Botany

The “Teach to mastery approach” for history class

Shortly put, teach-to-mastery means (at least to me) that students get multiple attempts to learn, do their work, repeat and improve on their work. The approach is revolutionary in the sense that it allows students to absorb feedback from their teacher and incorporate that feedback in a revision to their work. Instead of punishing students […]

“I bought a Veneklasen brick house; now how do I repair the bricks”?

At least a few times per year, I get an email from someone from West Michigan who owns a 19th century brick house and is looking to repair it. I welcome these emails, and I’m always glad to share information. In the past, I have learned of some people who have extra bricks sitting around. […]

Dutch Letters of Marque and the Arrival of the First Enslaved Africans in Virginia

A recording from a webinar I moderated for the Netherlands American Foundation, with Leendert van der Valk and Vincent Tucker. https://vimeo.com/536451450