Author Archives: michaeljdouma

The Legend and History of Peter Van Liere (continued)

In my previous post, I presented a selection of a text from Ray Nies, writing in about 1939 or 1940, recalling one of Holland, Michigan’s storied characters, a perpetually drunk but kind-hearted horse doctor named Piet Ver Liere. I discovered in a newspaper search that his actual name was Peter Van Liere, and that the […]

The Legend of Old Piet ver Liere, by Ray Nies

The following was written in 1939/1940 by Holland, Michigan’s Ray Nies. I have a lot more to say about Nies, but I will save that til later. The text below demonstrates Nies’ skill as a writer. In fact, if the Dutch of West Michigan ever had a Mark Twain, Nies was it. Although Nies was […]

Veneklasen Brick Research (15 years later)

Since writing my first book, Veneklasen Brick, in 2004, I never did any additional research on the topic of the Veneklasen family, their brickyards, and the Dutch American building tradition using their bricks. Mostly this was because I felt that by the time the book was published in 2005, I had learned just about everything […]

You can’t spell “onafhankelijkheid” without the letter “ij”

In 1850, the Sheboygan Nieuwsbode was the only Dutch language newspaper in the United States.  The editor, Jacob Quintus, was proud of his new nation, its history and freedoms. To educate the Dutch immigrants about their country, he published a Dutch translation of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.  Unfortunately, this seems not to have been […]

Yankee Dutch (Dutch American Language in the Midwest)

Yankee Dutch can refer to a number of hybrid English-Dutch varieties. I’m particularly interested in the Midwestern variety at the beginning of the 20th century. One form, Grand Rapids Yankee Dutch, was popularized through  Dirk Nieland’s ‘N Fonnie Bisnis.  Nieland’s Yankee Dutch was always meant to be comical, an exaggeration of how Dutch Americans spoke. […]

Renze and Auke Douma

The search database on Delpher.nl continues to be a great source for the history of Dutch Americans. The database includes the Sioux Center Nieuwsblad of Iowa.  For years, the Nieuwsblad had correspondents in Dutch-American hamlets who gave monthly reports.  One of these correspondents lived in Randolph, Wisconsin, where my great-grandfather Renze Douma, and his brother […]

Book Review: Helena Rosenblatt, The Lost History of Liberalism: From Ancient Rome to the Twenty-First Century (Princeton University Press, 2018).

This book is more than a coherent and straightforward synthetic history of liberalism. First, let me note that the book is impressive in its scope of covering hundreds of years and multiple countries, although limited primarily to Western Europe and the United States. It also brings together a large historiography about liberalism and has a […]

A Few “Best History Books of 2018”

History research generally does not need to be consumed as quickly as scientific work. History books can remain the definitive voice on a topic for 10, 20, even 30 years. So, as a historian, I don’t always try to read the newest books, but the best ones. In 2018, I’ve made a conscious effort to […]

Dutch Newspaper Research – Sheboygan Nieuwsbode

A few months back, I discovered that Delpher.nl has an incredibly large collection of digital, searchable Dutch-language newspapers online. Unlike some Dutch websites and archives, Delpher doesn’t require any registration or payment. The website is in Dutch, and it takes a while to figure out all of the advanced search features. But once you have […]

Cato Daily Podcast: What Is Classical Liberal History

I was invited by Caleb Brown to talk about one of my new books.  We talk history methods and the place of classical liberal history in historical research. https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-daily-podcast/what-classical-liberal-history   https://www.cato.org/longtail-iframe/node/79668/field_longtail_player/0