Author Archives: michaeljdouma

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

Betsy DeVos, Modern Education Debates, and the Misuse of Dutch American History

On July 14-15, 2019, the Association for the Advancement of Dutch American Studies (AADAS) will meet at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for it’s bi-annual conference. This year’s theme is the history of Dutch American education. My abstract submission for the conference: In January, 2017, articles in Politico and Mother Jones established a narrative […]

Book Review: Marshall T. Poe, How to Read a History Book: The Hidden History of History (Zero Books, 2018)

There have been a rash of history books recently with incorrect titles. Sam Weinburg’s Why Study History when its Already on Your Phone has very little to do with justifying learning of history in the age of the smart phone, and Alex Rosenburg’s  How History Gets it Wrong: The Neuroscience of Our Addictions to Stories […]

Remembering Gerlof Homan

I remember Gerlof Homan as a standby at Dutch American history conferences.  I probably met him for the first time in Holland, Michigan in 2004, or in Sioux Center, Iowa, in 2006.  I remember some of his presentations, especially his narrative style and his concern for individuals in history. He was the founder of “Peace […]

Book Review: David C. Krakauer, John Lewis Gaddis, Kenneth Pomeranz, eds. History, Big History History & Metahistory (Santa Fe Institute, 2017)

The Santa Fe Institute sounds like an Elon Musk/ Lex Luther style lair, where the brightest thinkers come together to hatch a scheme for controlling the planet. What many of the participants of the book want to control is the shape and scope of historical narrative. They want history to be big, to cover grand […]