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Dirk B.K. Van Raalte Collection, 1845-1925

By John Meyer

Collection Overview

Title: Dirk B.K. Van Raalte Collection, 1845-1925

Predominant Dates:1860-1910

ID: COLL/301

Creator: Van Raalte, Dirk B.K. (1844-1910)

Extent: 1.0 Cubic Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: Folder level description

Date Acquired: 00/00/1962

Languages: English [eng], Dutch;Flemish [dut]


Civil war veteran; Michigan legislator; businessman; and son of Albertus C. Van Raalte. The collection includes correspondence, school notebooks, notes, business papers, books, and personal memorabilia.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Dirk B.K. Van Raalte Collection houses the personal, family, Civil War, and business papers of Dirk B.K. Van Raalte. This collection, which dates from 1845–1925, consists of correspondence, business papers, and personal memorabilia,  documenting the life and works of Dirk B.K. Van Raalte, including his time as a soldier in the Civil War, his presidency over Holland City State Bank, and his terms as Michigan legislator.

This collection fits into the broader narrative of immigration to the United States. Researchers interested in the history of Van Raalte's descendants, how veterans remembered the Civil War, and the 2nd/3rd generation immigrant experience will all find something to value in this collection.

The collection is arranged into one series: 'Papers'. The series is topically arranged.

The ‘Papers’ series contains certificates, newspaper and magazine clippings, obituaries, announcements, correspondence, postcards, hotel forms, a probate court discharge, advertisements, banking records, checks, a blueprint, bills, tax documents, land contracts, receipts, a dog receipt, land documents, invitations, programs, his military discharge, the Holland Soldiers’ Union constitution, pamphlets, cards, envelopes, a souvenir photobook of Washington D.C., ribbons, financial records, newspaper subscriptions, account books, issues of the Bay View Magazine, Cushing’s Manual, a business ledger, a child’s handwriting workbook, and his notebook. It shows the multifaceted life that Dirk Van Raalte lived, from his time as a soldier in the Civil War, to his presidency over Holland City State Bank, showing his acumen at economics and rhetoric, as well as being a diligent, family man. Moreover, the family’s propensity for travel reveals, in combination with their long-reaching subscriptions to magazines and newspapers, a family that liked to keep abreast with current American culture and events.

Biographical Note

Son of Albertus and Christina Van Raalte, Dirk B.K. Van Raalte was born in Ommen, the Netherlands on March 1, 1844. In 1846, the Van Raalte family immigrated to the United States, settling in Western Michigan. During the outbreak of the Civil War, Dirk and his older brother Benjamin both enlisted to serve the Union army. Dirk was part of the 25th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment. During the Battle of Atlanta, Dirk was riding his horse through the woods to deliver a message when a group of confederate soldiers ambushed him. They shot him twice in the arm, but he managed to escape with his life. Due to his injury he had his right arm amputated from the shoulder down. Dirk began his military service as a private and was discharged as a hospital steward.

In 1864, Dirk returned to his home in Holland, Michigan. After returning to civilian life, Dirk entered the business world. He was president of the Holland City State Bank and the Scott Lugers Lumber Co. He earned the respect and admiration of his fellow citizens, and in 1877, they sent him to Lansing to serve the state legislature as their representative of their district. He worked on the committee of ways and means. He served two successful terms in the state legislature. In 1909, he returned for his third term. In 1910, however, Dirk B.K. Van Raalte passed away. He was survived by his wife Katharine Ledeboer and their two sons.

Administrative Information

Alternate Extent Statement: 2 Boxes

Access Restrictions: Collection held in Heritage Hall; materials are not available for circulation.

Acquisition Source: Gift of William B. Eerdmans Sr.

Related Materials: COLL300: Albertus C. Van Raalte Collection

Preferred Citation: [item], folder, box, Dirk B.K. Van Raalte, Heritage Hall (Hekman Library), Calvin University

Finding Aid Revision History: Finding aid updated in 2021

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Papers
Box 1
Folder 1: Newsclippings of his life and death
Folder 2: Correspondence: Family letters including Probate Court discharge of his wife as executor of his estate --- 1868-1912
Folder 3: Letter from an uncle in Amsterdam, Netherlands --- 1880
Folder 4: Son Albertus' letters to his mother while he was pastor in Seattle, WA --- 1914
Folder 5: Personal Correspondence --- 1868-1905
Folder 6: Business Correspondence, including that of his wife after his death --- 1873-1925
Folder 7: Bills for merchandize, personal and business --- 1864-1914
Folder 8: Land contracts, tax histories --- 1862-1879
Folder 9: Land contracts, deeds --- 1882-1917
Folder 10: Ottawa County Treasurer's receipts --- 1854-1906
Folder 11: State Treasurer's tax receipts --- 1873-1889
Folder 12: Recognition by the State of Michigan --- 1871-1905
Folder 13: Recognition by the U.S. Army --- 1863-1901
Folder 14: Personal mementos
Box 2
Folder 1: Financial Records --- 1892-1909
Folder 2: Account Book --- 1869-1909
Folder 3: The Bay View Magazine (vol. 2, no. 1,2,6,7) --- 1894
Folder 4: The Bay View Magazine (vol. 3, no. 1-8) --- 1895-1896
Folder 5: The Bay View Magazine (vol. 4, no. 2,4,5) --- 1896-1896
Folder 6: The Bay View Magazine (vol. 5, no. 2,3,5,6,7) --- 1897-1898
Folder 7: Bound manuscripts. Financial records of business transactions.
Folder 8: Bound manuscripts. Furniture finishing instructions.
Folder 9: Bound manuscripts. Notes.