New Netherland Research Center Opened

A ribbon-cutting ceremony today officially opened the New Netherland Research Center (NNRC) on the 7th floor of the New York State Library in Albany. The NNRC will focus attention on New York State’s rich collection of historic Dutch Colonial documents and facilitate access to them for future scholars, teachers and students both here and abroad.

The New Netherland Research Center, which will provide access to the colonial Dutch documents held by the New York State Archives and New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections, is the first step in an international effort to launch a collaborative digitization project to share collections and archives from former Dutch colonies.

During the 2009 Quadricentennial celebration of Henry Hudson’s voyage opening up the New World to Dutch settlement, Dutch dignitaries, including the Prince of Orange and Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, visited the Cultural Education Center’s 1609 Exhibition.

At that visit the government of the Netherlands committed to a grant of €200,000 (approximately $275,000) to the New Netherland Institute to continue and expand the New Netherland Project by establishing a New Netherland Research Center. This gift, with matching support from the Institute, are expected to transform what started out as a translation project into a collaborative research initiative with international scope and context.

Modern technologies are hoped to make New York’s collections, along with those in other similar or complementary repositories, available digitally and to promote a more complete story of the Dutch global reach during the colonial period and its lasting impact on today’s world.

The NNRC is the culmination of a decades-long translation effort, the New Netherland Project, at the New York State Library. Dr. Charles Gehring is the project’s Director and principal translator. Dr. Janny Venema is Assistant Director. Both have worked to unlock the wealth of information in these collections by making them available in English. They have also written extensively and spoken widely on the scope and legacy of our early Dutch heritage.

Seventeenth century collections of government records in the New York State Archives and non-government documents in the Library’s Manuscripts and Special Collections constitute the world’s largest collection of early Dutch language documentation of the New World colonies. Encompassing what is now a large part of the northeastern United States, the early Dutch colony, its language, culture and laws, lie at the roots of much of our nation’s modern history. Scholars regularly explore the collections for insights into 17th century life in New Netherland. Russell Shorto relied heavily on Gehring and Vanema and the New York State collections in writing his book The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America.

The New York State Library is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education.

De Nieu Nederlanse Marcurius Now Online

The September issue of De Nieu Nederlanse Marcurius, the quarterly publication of the New Netherland Institute, is available on the Institute’s website. The issue can be browsed for easy on-screen viewing or downloaded as a PDF. This issue features the upcoming New Netherland Seminar &#8216-The Company Strikes Back: 1673 Recovery of New Netherland&#8221 on September 25, 2010 in Albany, NY, notices of new books, upcoming lecture, a short biographical sketch of Cornelis Evertsen by Peter A. Douglas, and a lot more.

The New Netherland Institute, first organized in 1986 as Friends of the New Netherland Project and subsequently as Friends of New Netherland, supports the work of the New Netherland Project and the functions and activities of the New Netherland Institute.

New Netherland: Scholar in Residence Programs

The New Netherland Research Center (NNRC), a joint endeavor of the New Netherland Institute (NNI) and the Office of Cultural Education, New York State Education Department (NYSED/OCE), with financial support from the Government of the Netherlands, announces a Senior Scholar in Residence program and two NNRC Student Scholar Research Grants for 2011.

Student Scholar Research Grants

The grant covers a period of up to three months in residence and provides a stipend of $5,000. A time frame for fulfilling the grant requirements will be established in consultation with the Director of NNRC. No housing or travel funds are provided but
office space is included.

Scholars beyond the undergraduate level and actively working on a thesis, dissertation, or scholarly article are invited to apply. Research must be conducted at the New York State Library and Archives, Albany, NY, in the field of New Netherland history and the Dutch Atlantic World utilizing the Records of New Netherland. Candidates must indicate their research topic in their application. Genealogical research topics are excluded. Considering that much of the secondary, as well as the primary, source materials are in 17th century Dutch, it would be to the student scholar’s advantage to have a working knowledge of the language.

The $5,000 stipend is payable in equal installment upon submission and acceptance by the Director of NNRC of a monthly progress report. At the conclusion of their residency, the student scholar must submit a written report based on their work and deliver a public lecture on their research findings prior to receipt of their final installment.

Applications, consisting of a curriculum vita, two letters of recommendation, and a cover letter outlining the research topic and work plan, must be submitted to the Grants Committee, New Netherland Institute, Box 2536, Empire State Plaza Station, Albany, NY 12220-0536.

Applications must be submitted by October 1, 2010 with awards announced on December 1, 2010.

Senior Scholar in Residence Program

Pre–and post-doctoral students, including independent, non-university-affiliated persons, are invited to apply for a 12-month residency beginning not earlier than January and not later than September 2011 with the specific time frame to be established in consultation with the Director of NNRC. The proposed research will occur at the New Netherland Research Center in Albany, utilizing the resources of the New York State Library and Archives for research in the field of Dutch Colonial America and the Atlantic World. Scholars are expected to include the primary sources of the Records of New Netherland in their research, so a reading knowledge of seventeenth-century Dutch is necessary.

The recipient will be required to produce a minimum 5000 word manuscript based upon his or her research in the primary sources in the field, with NNI/ NNRC having the first option to publish it and holding the copyright. In addition, a public lecture on an aspect of the research for delivery at Siena College, Loudonville, NY, is also mandated. Both requirements must be met no later than the final month of residency and are subject to the approval of the Director of NNRC.

No housing or travel funds are provided, but office space at NYSED/OCE is included.

The stipend is $30,000, to be distributed monthly in equal installments upon submission of a written progress report acceptable to the Director of NNRC. The final payment will be contingent upon meeting the terms cited above.

The application must consist of two copies of a curriculum vitae- one copy of a thesis, dissertation, published article(s) or book- two letters of recommendation- and a cover letter outlining your research interest and work plan. It should be submitted to the Grants Committee, New Netherland Institute, P.O. Box 2536, Empire State Plaza Station,
Albany, NY 12220-0536.

Applications must be received by September 15, 2010. The grant will be awarded and announced by November 1, 2010.

New Netherland Event:From Vrienden to Wilden (Friends to Savages)

When the Dutch settlers came to New Netherland in the 1600s, the Native Americans they met were their &#8220vrienden.&#8221 After a while, the Indians were called &#8220wilden.&#8221 How did the friends turn from friends to savages?

Stephen T. Staggs, a doctoral candidate in history at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Mich., has been studying just that question. He will talk about &#8220From Vrienden to Wilden (Friends to Savages)&#8221 at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the New Netherland Institute (NNI) Saturday, May 15, at 12 noon at the University Club, 141 Washington Ave., Albany.

Registration for the meeting is open to the public. The cost of the lunch is $22, payable by mail or at the NNI website at Details of the meeting are available at or by calling the NNI office in the Cultural Education Center, .

Staggs has studied the effect of the Dutch Calvinist concepts on relations between the Dutch settlers and the Indians, analyzing the terminology the provincial secretaries and directors of the colony chose to describe their Indian neighbors.

His studies at the New York State Archives were supported by the Doris Quinn-Archives Research Grant, awarded by the NNI and the archives to facilitate research on New Netherland and the Dutch Colonial Atlantic World. He was recently awarded the New York 400 Fulbright Grant for the 2010-2011 academic year to complete the research phase of his project.

Membership in the NNI does not require Dutch ancestry. It is open to anyone with an interest in the history of New Netherland, a 17th-century territory bordered on the north by Fort Orange, now Albany. Included within its boundaries was much of the present states of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and western Connecticut.

The NNI was formed as the support organization of the New Netherland Project (NNP), located at the New York State Library in Albany. The mission of the NNP is to transcribe, translate and publish some 12,000 pages of correspondence, court cases, legal contracts and reports from the period 1636 to 1674.

Now the NNP is to be the heart of the New Netherland Research Center (NNRC), a part of the New York State Library. The center has been initiated with a grant of €200,000 brought to Albany by Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima in September. The NNI has the responsibility of administering the grant and raising matching funds.

At the meeting, Charles T. Gehring, director of the new research center and the translation project, will give a report describing his vision for the NNRC as well as the progress of work on the Dutch colonial documents.

James Sefcik, associate for Development and Special Projects, will give an update on the progress of the NNRC, now in its formative stages.

Throughout the year, the NNI carries on a program of activities to enhance awareness of the Dutch history of colonial America. In addition to the annual meeting, the institute sponsors an annual New Netherland Seminar, formerly called the Rensselaerswijck Seminar. This year’s seminar will be Saturday, Sept. 25.

The NNI administers a number of awards.

• The Doris Quinn-Archives Research Residency Program, of which Stephen Staggs is the 2009 recipient, grants $2,500. An equal amount is given for the Quinn-Library Research Residency.

• The Hendricks Manuscript Award of $5,000, endowed by Dr. Andrew A. Hendricks, is given for a book-length manuscript relating to the Dutch colonial experience in North America.

• The Alice P. Kenney Memorial Award is for an individual or group that has made a significant contribution to colonial Dutch studies and understanding of the Dutch colonial experience in North America.

• The Howard G. Hageman Citation honors Dr. Howard G. Hageman, a founder of the Friends of the New Netherland Project, now the New Netherland Institute, and its first president from 1986 until his death in 1992.

Details about the institute and the awards are also available at the NNI website,

Explorers, Fortunes and Love Letters: A Window on New Netherland

In 1609 the sailors aboard Henry Hudson’s ship the Half Moon laid their eyes upon the entrance to what would come to be known as the Hudson River, and within 15 years the Dutch began to settle the newly discovered land, creating the colony of Explorers, Fortunes and Love Letters: A Window on New Netherland (Mount Ida Press, 2009) is a compilation of new essays that together explore the fascinating story of this diverse and enterprising colony and its enduring cultural impact.

Join contributors to the book at the Museum of the City of New York on Tuesday, July 14, at 6:30 PM for a discussion moderated by Charles Th. Gehring, Ph.D., Director of the New Netherland Project and the translator of the 17th-century Dutch documents that have opened the world of New Netherland to the 21st century. Participants will include Noah L. Gelfand, Peter G. Rose, and David Voorhees, Managing Editor of de Halve Maen and Director of the Papers of Jacob Leisler Project at NYU

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED: $12 Non-Members, $8 Seniors and Students, $6 Museum Members (including NNI members). A two dollar surcharge applies for unreserved, walk-in participants. For reservations and information please call 212.534.1672, ext. 3395.

This event is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson (through September 27). To mark the anniversary of Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage to the area now called New York , Amsterdam/New Amsterdam investigates the epic journey and the transatlantic links it set in motion. The exhibition explores the colony of New Amsterdam as it evolved under the wing of the dynamic city of Amsterdam during the Dutch Golden Age. It reveals the character of the young settlement’s economy, culture, politics, and built environment through rare 17th-century paintings, maps, navigational instruments, documents, Native American artifacts, household objects,and archaeological remnants of daily life in New Amsterdam .

Presented in partnership with the Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam and the New Netherland Project.

CBS News To Feature New Netherland Project

CBS News Sunday Morning will feature the New York State Library’s New Netherland Project as part of a story on the Quadricentennial of Hudson’s discovery of the river that bears his name on Sunday, July 5th. The segment will be aired between 9:00 and 10:30 a.m. and will feature an interview with New Netherland Project Director Dr. Charles Gehring.

One of the most unique history projects in America, the New Netherland Project provided the documentation and inspiration for Russell Shorto’s recent best seller, &#8220The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America.&#8221

A program of the New York State Library, the New Netherland Project has been working since 1974 to translate and publish the official 17th-century Dutch colonial documents of one of America’s earliest settled regions. Originally created under the sponsorship of the New York State Library and the Holland Society of New York, the New Netherland Project has been supported by the National Endowment for the
Humanities (NEH) and the New York State Office of Cultural Education. Translated documents and other work by the New Netherland Project can be accessed at

Also based on the work of the New Netherland Project, the exhibit &#8220Light on New Netherland&#8221 is the first to introduce adults and children to the scope of the 17th century colony of New Netherland. Previously on view at the State Museum in Albany, the exhibit will tour the regions once encompassed by New Netherland, appearing at venues to include the GaGa Arts Center in West Haverstraw, New York- the Museum of
Connecticut History at the Connecticut State Library in Hartford- the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities in Cold Spring Harbor, New York- Federal Hall in Manhattan- and the FDR Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York.

The book &#8220Explorers, Fortunes, and Love Letters: A Window on New Netherland&#8221 further explores the history of America’s earliest colony with a collection of twelve essays. Designed to appeal to a general audience and scholars alike, the book features an opening chapter by Russell Shorto, author of The Island at the Center of the World: the Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan & the Forgotten Colony that Shaped
America. The book was published by the New Netherland Institute, formerly Friends of New Netherland, and Mount Ida Press in April 2009. To purchase the book online or by check go to