By Herbert J. Brinks
Dutch American Voices brings together a full spectrum of such perspectives, as expressed in immigrants' letters to their families and friends in the Netherlands. From the terse notes of first-time writers to the polished chronicles of skilled correspondents, the letters are presented in engaging English translations that capture the diversity of their authors' personalities. Herbert J. Brinks has included twenty-three series of letters from the Dutch Immigrant Letter Collection at Calvin College, covering periods of correspondence from three to fifty-seven years. In addition to an introduction to Dutch immigration history, the book provides abundant illustrations and brief biographies of the correspondents. Most write from Dutch American agricultural communities in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa, but some describe life in cities as far-flung as Paterson, New Jersey; Tampa, Florida; and Oak Harbor, Washington. Rural and urban, Protestant and Catholic, male and female, the letter writers capture moments from their arrival through decades of life in the New World.