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Dewey D. Westra Collection

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence

Poetry

Psalm Versifications

Music

Christian Education

Personal Materials



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Dewey D. Westra Collection, 1551-1981 | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

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Collection Overview

Title: Dewey D. Westra Collection, 1551-1981Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1919-1978

ID: COLL/327

Primary Creator: Westra Dewey D. (1899-1979)

Extent: 9.0 Boxes. More info below.

Arrangement: Folder level description

Date Acquired: 00/00/1980

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Dewey Westra was a teacher and administrator in Christian Day Schools for forty-five years in Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin. (See his biography elsewhere in this collection). He is probably better known, however, for his avocational pursuits as an amateur poet, translator of Friesian and Dutch poems, and versifier of all 150 of the Psalms. His works appear in both the 1934 and the Centennial Christian Reformed Church Psalter Hymnals. He also did extensive work in a hymnal for the Canadian Reformed Church, and in hymnals of two smaller church groups in the Midwest. Most of his correspondence was carried on with Church hymnal committee members. They include, among others, professors K. Schoolland, Wm. Heyns, J.G. Vanden Bosch, H. Van Andel, and S. Swets as well as The Banner editor, H.J. Kuiper. He communicated freely with a dozen or more Dutch and Friesian poets in Europe. Occasionally he expressed his personal views to prominent political, press, and religious figures. His poems cover a rather wide range of religious and secular subjects from bells to humor, from Christmas to heaven. Besides the boxes of Psalm versifications, his most voluminous work reflects his great love for nature, particularly apart of God’s marvelous creation. Westra’s papers also indicate an interest and amateur ability in music. He wrote many arrangements for his school singing groups, as well as four-part sacred numbers for church choirs. There is proof, too, in his papers that he was not easily satisfied with the quality of his work. He worked constantly to improve it. As was stated in the closing paragraphs of his biography, Westra was not greatly concerned with receiving recognition for his lifetime of poetical endeavor initially inspired by his mother at an early age. He only desired that his first love, the Psalm-versification’s would help in a small way to make Psalm–singing in this country as vital an element in worship as it was to Dutch Psalm-singers.

Biographical Note

Dewey D. Westra was born in Holland, Michigan in the last year of the 20th century, 1899. His mother with her interest in poetry composition inspired him to seek a full liberal arts education as a basis for his work with lyrics. This he did, graduating from Calvin College in 1921, with an A. B. degree. Dewey Westra worked in education for forty-five years in Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa as a teacher and administrator.  He founded Christian Schools in Byron Center, Walker, and Grosse Pointe, Michigan. His avocation in the field of poetry seems to have been his overriding interest, however.  In his involvement with the Psalms, he transcribed all of the 150 Psalms, fitting each one to its historic Genevan melody, as well as providing versions of the Songs of Mary, Zacharias, and Simon, plus a hymnal version of the Lord’s Prayer.  Most of this was done in the late twenties at the request of the Christian Reformed Synodically appointed Psalter Hymnal Committee.  Twenty-five of Westra’s songs were selected for the ‘red’ 1934 Psalter Hymnal.  When the ‘blue’ 1959 Centennial Psalter Hymnal appeared, an equivalent number from the older version was retained, with revisions and modifications by Mr. Westra.  He always felt his work must by an on-going effort in improving what he had already done. In 1971, forty of his Psalms and songs appeared in The Book of Praise, published by the Canadian Reformed Church. Dewey Westra was not too concerned about the lack of recognition he received for his work.  His hope was that the Psalms would become as dear to the English speaking audiences as they were to Dutch psalm singers. His other poetry consists of translations of selected works of a half-dozen or more favorite Friesian poets, plus a voluminous number of poems on nature.  Special occasions and family events also moved him to pen his poetic thoughts. According to Stanley Wiersma, professor of English at Calvin College, “Westra was in the best sense an amateur… He wrote because of his own love for life and language… It augurs well for the Calvin literary tradition that the first poet we trained was Dewey Westra.” One of his former pastors, the J. Eppinga, said of him, “In this man there was only humility, a humility that caused some to assess him to be less than he was.” Dewey Westra died October 15, 1979 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  His wife, Nellie Koetje, preceded him in death.  He left three sons, a brother and five sisters.

Administrative Information

Repository: Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Alternate Extent Statement: 4.0 cu. ft.

Acquisition Source: Eugene Westra


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1922-78],
[Series 2: Poetry],
[Series 3: Psalm Versifications],
[Series 4: Music],
[Series 5: Christian Education],
[Series 6: Personal Materials],
[All]

Series 1: Correspondence --- 1922-78Add to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Edward H. Baer --- 1929-1936Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary Faculty Members --- 1934-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Canadian Reformed Church --- 1958-1961Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Canadian Reformed Church --- 1962-1966Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Canadian Reformed Church --- 1967-1975Add to your cart.
Folder 6: William B. Eerdmans --- 1929-1960Add to your cart.
Folder 7: European correspondents --- 1932-1978Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Adrian Hartog --- 1936-1962Add to your cart.
Folder 9: William Heyns --- 1930-1932Add to your cart.
Folder 10: H.J. Kuiper --- 1930-1944Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Correspondence with nationally known political, press and religious figures --- 1952-1978Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Correspondence  re: poetic work --- 1933-1978Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Correspondence  re: school matters --- 1922-1968Add to your cart.
Folder 14: A.J. Strohm --- 1937-1960Add to your cart.
Folder 15: H.J. Van Andel --- 1929-1940Add to your cart.
Series 2: PoetryAdd to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Poetry re: bells --- 1930-1971Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Poetry re: children --- 1929-1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Poetry re: Christ --- 1929-1977, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Poetry re: Christmas --- 1927-1977, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Dutch poetry --- 1919-1971, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Frisian poetry --- 1919-1971, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Frisian poetry (Martien Beversluis) English translation --- 1971, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Frisian poetry (J. Couperus) English translation --- 1967, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Frisian poetry (Freark Dam) English translation --- undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Frisian poetry (P. A. de Génestet) English translation --- undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Poetry entitled Geistliche lieder, English translation --- 1937, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Poetry, "Heft" --- 1936, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Poetry, (J. L. Jansen) English translation --- 1963, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Poetry, (Joyce Kilmer) Frisian translation --- undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Poetry, ("Rixt," J. N. Visser, Sidney Lanier, Walter Scot) English and Frisian translation --- undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: Poetry, (Fedde Schurer,) English translation --- 1967, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 17-19: Poetry, (Sjoerd Spanninga) English translation --- 1951-1972, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 20: Poetry re: friendship --- 1935-1955, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Poetry, (D. A. Tamminga) English translation --- undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Poetry, (P. J. Troelstra) English translation --- undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Frisian poetry, unidentified authors, English translation --- undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Poetry, (Jacqueline VanDer Waals) English translation --- undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Poetry, (Lidy Van Eijsel-Stejn): English translation and correspondence --- 1977-1978, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Poetry, (J. N. Visser) English translation --- 1967, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Poetry, (Anne Wadman) English translation --- 1967, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Poetry, (A. M. Wiebenga) English translation --- undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: German poetry, "Zion's Harfe" English translation --- 1929-1937, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: German poetry, "Zion's Harfe" English translation --- 1929-1937, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: German poetry, "Zion's Harfe" English translation --- 1929-1937, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Poetry and general papers --- 1920-1977, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Poetry re: God --- 1958-1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Poetry re: heaven --- 1934-1977, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Poetry re: humor --- 1928-1970, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: Poetry re: life --- 1935-1971, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 17: Poetry re: mother --- 1958-1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Poetry re: nature --- 1917-1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Poetry re: nature --- 1917-1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Poetry re: nature --- 1917-1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Poetry re: patriotism --- 1929-1975, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Poetry re: poems by other poets and DW --- 1928-1966, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Poetry re: praise --- 1929-1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Poetry re: prayer --- 1928-1975, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Poetry re: published poems --- 1919-1971, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Poetry re: thoughts on poetry --- 1967-1975, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Poetry re: tributes to individuals --- 1918-1974, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Poetry re: unfinished poems --- 1930-1936, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Poetry re: young love --- 1935-1966, undatedAdd to your cart.
Series 3: Psalm VersificationsAdd to your cart.
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Psalm versifications, Psalms 1-15 --- 1931-1974, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Psalm versifications, Psalms 16-30 --- 1959-1964, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Psalm versifications, Psalms 31-45 --- 1959-1965, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Psalm versifications, Psalms 46-60 --- 1959-1964, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Psalm versifications, Psalms 61-75 --- 1959-1967, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Psalm versifications, Psalms 76-90 --- 1959-1966, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Psalm versifications, Psalms 91-105 --- 1959-1969, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Psalm versifications, Psalms 106-118 --- 1933-1971, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Psalm versifications, Psalms 119-120 --- 1959-1963, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Psalm versifications, Psalms 121-140 --- 1959-1968, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Psalm versifications, Psalms 141-150 --- 1959-1964, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Psalm versifications, related material --- 1948-1954, undatedAdd to your cart.
Series 4: MusicAdd to your cart.
Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Music, by European composers, mostly Dutch --- 1551-1972, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Music, 4-part (SATB) music and text --- 1964-1976, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Music, melody only and text --- 1937Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Music, text only --- 1930-1940, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Music, text and musical arrangements --- 1930-1967, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Music, unfinished pieces --- undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Music, text, English translation only undatedAdd to your cart.
Series 5: Christian EducationAdd to your cart.
Box 8Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Christian Education, Byron Center (MI) Christian Day School materials --- 1929-circa 1967, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Christian Education, Christian Schools, general maintenance materials --- 1927-1969, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Christian Education, teaching records --- 1963-circa 1971, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Christian Education, Grosse Pointe (MI) Christian School materials --- 1929-1979, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Christian Education, Randolph (WI) Christian School materials and class photograph --- circa 1913-1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Christian Education, Sioux Center (IA) Christian School materials and unidentified photograph --- 1946-1952, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Christian Education, Walker (MI) Christian School materials --- 1953-1964, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Christian Education, war-time training materials and group photograph --- 1943-1945, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Inventions materials --- 1929-1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Series 6: Personal MaterialsAdd to your cart.
Box 9Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Personal materials, four books of Frisian poems --- 1952-1972, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Personal materials, books and pamphlets Dutch, Frisian, and German --- 1876-1972, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Personal materials, Calvin College materials, diplomas, clippings, and awards --- 1921-1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Personal materials, correspondence --- 1929-1981, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Personal materials, Dearborn (MI) CRC materials --- 1944-1949, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Personal materials, essays by DW and others --- 1960-1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Personal materials, funeral materials, and clippings --- 1971-1979, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Personal materials, Grosse Pointe (MI) CRC material --- 1931-1945, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Personal materials, recording of Psalms by son, Eugene, correspondence and related materials --- 1961-1967, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 10Add to your cart.
Item 1: Autobiographies --- 1920, 1967Add to your cart.
Item 2: Autobiographical poem --- undatedAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1922-78],
[Series 2: Poetry],
[Series 3: Psalm Versifications],
[Series 4: Music],
[Series 5: Christian Education],
[Series 6: Personal Materials],
[All]


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