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Dirk Nieland Collection



Biographical Note

Detailed Description

Box 1

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Dirk Nieland Collection, 1924-1954 and undated | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

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Collection Overview

Title: Dirk Nieland Collection, 1924-1954 and undated

ID: COLL/180

Primary Creator: Dirk Nieland (1886-1954)

Extent: 1.0 Box

Arrangement: Folder level description


Writer and linguist. The collection includes a scrapbook entitled “Sketches from Life” with a detailed listing of the published and unpublished articles, Yankee-Dutch readings, poems, postcards, advertisements, and letters; manuscripts; correspondence; clippings; exercise book; obituary; photocopy photographs; and family photographs.

Biographical Note

Writer and linguist, Dirk Nieland, was born in the Netherlands in 1886. At the age of 19, Nieland immigrated to the United States. Interested in the dialect of immigrants from the Netherlands to Michigan, he wrote the book, Yankee-Dutch published in 1919. On August 27, 1925, he married Anna De Boer.

His second book, ‘n Fonnie Bisnis, was published in 1929. Nieland could speak five languages fluently – Dutch, English, Friesian, German, and Flemish. He could read French and Spanish as well. Dirk Nieland developed throat cancer and on October 18, 1954, he passed away.

Box and Folder Listing

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[Box 1],

Box 1
Folder 1: Scrapbook: Sketches from Life, by Dirk Nieland
Item 1: Zonde (p.1)
Item 2: Budget System (p.2)
Item 3: Honor thy Father and thy Mother (p.3) "De Dichterlijke Koopman" (p.3)
Item 4: Kwellingen van een Nieuw Bakken Journalist (pp.5-6)
Item 5: My Questionnaire (p.7)
Item 6: In de War (pp.7-8)
Item 7: Mijn Wandelstok (p.8)
Item 8: Our Stove (pp.8-10)
Item 9: Ziele-Eenzaamheid (p.10)
Item 10: Mien Moedertaal (p.10)
Item 11: Beroepskeuze (pp.10-12)
Item 12: Our Journalistic Family (pp.12-13)
Item 13: Een Avond bij Tinus (pp. 13-15)
Item 14: Buurpraatjes (p.15) "Where I Failed" (pp. 15-17)
Item 15: Untitled poem in Dutch (p.17)
Item 16: A typed story, "Unconditional Surrender," [not published] (pp.26-28)
Item 17: Dutchiness (pp.29-30)
Item 18: Our Suffragette [signed] (p.30)
Item 19: De Vrouw (pp.31-33)
Item 20: Ingezonden (presumably to the Journal): letter from A.v.C Huizinga, complaining about Nieland's slandering immigrants, etc. [photocopy] (p. 34)
Item 21: De Man in 3 parts (pp.35-37)
Item 22: Advertisements for Yankee Dutch from various periodicals; various items as follows, all on p.38:
Item 23: B.K.Kuiper, "Beoordeling," from De Wachter
Item 24: H.J.C.van Andel, "Boekenschouw," [from Chr.Jl?] Henry Beets, rev. of Yankee Dutch in The Banner
Item 25: Advertisement from Eerdmans-Sevensma, publishers for Yankee Dutch
Item 26: Two images from A.v.C.Huizinga, in Dutch; one from Henry van Zyl, in English [addressed to "Kloppers," apparently Nieland's nickname from when he and van Zyl were schoolmates in Sauerd, the Netherlands] (p.39)
Item 27: Three pictures: from van Andel; from van Zyl; from K. Nienhuis Jr [HBS Sauerd] (p.41)
Item 28: Review of Yankee Dutch in Onze Toekomst by "Hans Hansen" [J.C.Hoekstra] (p.42)
Item 29: Two postcards from van Andel, newspaper photo of Irene Bergmans, who had just received RN degree. Also a calling card from J. van Hinte, and newspaper obituary notice of Piet Nieland, Dirk's father.
Item 30: Letter in Dutch from J.C.Hoekstra (p.43)
Item 31: Letter from van Andel as editor of Christian Journal (p.44)
Item 32: Copy of a letter from [J.Grotemat?] pointing out various misprints, but also some praise for the writing. Also a "Bijdrage door P.P." in praise of book. (p.45)
Item 33: Item from Nieuwsblad v.d. Norden mentions "alleraardigst en interessant.de bijdrage in Yankee Dutch van Dirk Nieland," and several advertisements from Eerdmans. (p.46) --- 19-Oct-29
Item 34: Two advertisements in Dutch for 'n fonnie bisnis [first advertisement calls it merely fonnie bisnis] from Eerdmans (p.47)
Item 35: Common Grace Crossword Puzzle [completed] (p. 48)
Item 36: Advertisement in Dutch for 'n fonnie bisnis with D. Lam's portrait sketch of Nieland, (p.49)
Item 37: Advertisement in English for same book ("$2.00 postpaid"), (p.50)
Item 38: A[mry] v.d. Bosch "The Dutch Communities of Chicago," in Onze Toekomst (23 Dec 1925): Edna Ferber, then mention of Yankee Dutch: "Mencken, in the second edition of The American Language, has a chapter on the Dutch-American vernacular found in western Michigan." (p.51)
Item 39: Boek Overzicht, in Het Oosten. Dutch. Very complimentary, with good discussion of Nieland's use of the language and grasp of the context. Author probably H.J.Hoekstra (p.52) --- (21 Nov 1929)
Item 40: Same as above, in Onze Toekomst --note at end hints at authorship --- (4 Dec 1929)
Item 41: Review in The Young Calvinist. Generally favorable but a few strictures: author tries to be too funny at times, etc. (p.53) --- (Sept 1929)
Item 42: Review in De Wachter, in Dutch. Loe Verlak's "...taal is een mengsel van heel eenvoudig Hollandsche en verminkt Engels en past allezins bij Loe'[sic]s intellectuelle ontwikkeling en karacter." Astute assessment. Later, "De kennis van zijn yolk 'in't kerkelikje' is bij den schrijver niet juist..." i.e., no church would bribe a dominee to stay with that church by giving him an auto. (p.53) --- (11 Dec 1929)
Item 43: Grand Rapids Herald: review by Wm Trap Jr. - very astute. (p.54) --- (24 Nov 1929)
Item 44: Grand Rapids Press article on DN, with Lam's portrait of Nieland, (p.55)
Item 45: Letter to Young Calvinist by F. ten Hoor referring to earlier review of 'n fonnie bisnis: the review is unfair, etc. Also a note by the editor ("the humor really is a little coarse at times," etc. (p.55)
Item 46: H. Bultema in De Beeren of  (it does not have "de humor der Schrift....") (p.55) --- 7-Dec-29
Item 47: A long list of periodicals in US and Netherlands in which reviews of the book appear. (p.56)
Item 48: Heidenwereld: item by H.B. (Henry Beets?). Sagacious and friendly review, calls it a caricature. (p.57) --- Jun-30
Item 49: Brief notice in Der Auslanddeutsche 1 Nov 1930 (note reads 1by William Kloos?") (p.57)
Item 50: Item from Haagsche Post (p.57) --- 4 Jan 1930
Item 51: Review in Standard Bulletin by "Friso," and a reference to Watson's An Irishman's Difficulties with the Dutch Language. (p.57) --- 3-Jan-30
Item 52: The Banner. H. Schultze calls Nieland's book a caricature but well done; however, he adds, "the type of person [Loe] is disappearing ... let him go." (p.58) --- 10-Jun-30
Item 53: Het Oosten [J.H. Hoekstra?] ; has the sketch "Henkie Moet en trade leeren" and a few observations. (p.58) --- 9 Jan 1930
Item 54: Mimeographed advertisement by Eerdmans for Nieland's book, origin unknown. (p.59)
Item 55: A letter from D. Wehrens (?): "Eigen Volk" : algemeen tijdschrift voor volkskunde en dialect will place notice [see later item: not placed until Sept 1931]. (p.60) --- 13-Jan-30
Item 56: Report of De Publicatie Commissie of the Chr. Ref. Synod (presumably) "vergadered Dec.3 1929" has observations on Nieland's talent in this "nieuwe veld," but must distinguish between any advertisement in church paper by Eerdmans and the work advertised. Editor has right to review any book as long as he is able to comment on it, etc. Signed by W. Heyns. (p.61)
Item 57: Letter from Wm B. Eerdmans ("The Reformed Press") to Nieland: royalties coming soon ($100) as per agreement, full payment for present edition. .150 copies unsold yet (10 Mar 1930). Proposes "popular edition" to sell for $1.00. (p. 62)
Item 58: Wm B. Eerdmans to Neiland: agreement: royalty of 10 percent of retail price on all copies over 1000. (p.63) --- 19-Aug-29
Item 59: Letter from J.M. Meulenhoff, Uitgever, in Amsterdam: your book won't sell in Nederland, the language is too difficult for non-US emigrants to follow, etc. (p.64) --- (28 Jan 1930)
Item 60: Letter from Niel Keegstra: you have turned out a great book, etc. (p.65)
Item 61: Letter from Sully, IA: book is "far from Christian." Signed J.A. Brunsting. (p.65) --- undated
Item 62: H.Hamstra to "Willy," i.e., W.B. Eerdmans. Has had fun with Nieland book, but objects to slanders versus CRC and its people. Must not advertise in church papers. (p.66)
Item 63: Letter from Jack Hubbell (q.v.). Saw GR Press item on Dirk (p.67)
Item 64: Letter from J.S.Frelinghuysen to C.W. Parmalee in Grand Rapids: has Nieland's book, will write. (p.68)
Item 65: Letter from Frelinghuysen, will take pleasure in reading the book (p.69)
Item 66: Brieven uit Amerika. long item on book, life in the US, etc. (p.70) --- 14 Jan 1933
Item 67: Invitation to DN to attend GR Public Library on 16 Nov. during Book Week at an "authors' night." Signed Samuel Ranck, Librarian. (p.71) --- 2 Nov 1934
Item 68: Letter from relative of Anna Nieland: saw Dirk's name in van Hinte's book, etc.)p.72) --- 29 Dec 1929
Item 69: Letter from H.L. Mencken; brief. (p.73) --- 23 Nov 1929
Item 70: Item from Neerlandia. Mysterious: "19 April was de avond voor de Groningers [including Dirk]" (p.73) --- 19 May 19[24?]
Item 71: Letter from Fred Overkamp, partly in Yankee Dutch (poorly done). . (p.74)
Item 72: Letter from John Hansens, complimentary. Reminds Nieland of working at Widdicombe and at Phoenix, and of attending "sjurts." (pp.75-77)
Item 73: Letter from Kent Scientific Museum (p.78) --- 16 May 1934
Item 74: Comments on certain terms in book. (p.78) April 1930 Neerlandia: comments on short life of Yankee Dutch. (p.78) --- 19 Nov 1935
Item 75: Thanks for photo and short biography from S. Ranck, Grand Rapids Public Library, Nieland is to speak on evening of 16 Nov at 8.0 pm. (p.79) --- 9 Nov 1934
Item 76: Letter from Fred W. Berger [cf Standard Bulletin, ed. Mr Berghage, page 84]. Silly remarks. (p.80) --- 16 Feb 1935
Item 77: Letter from J.G.Maerckelbach, correspondent for several Dutch papers (p.81)
Item 78: Harsh criticism (p.82) --- 29 Mar 1933
Item 79: van Hinte, "Amerika" in Neerlandia (p.139) on the book. (p.83) --- Sept 1931
Item 80: Same source "Dirk Nieland's 'De Domme Trein' (p.84) --- [April 1931]
Item 81: (1) GR Press account of East Street train-track vandalism. (2) Holland Aid Society (5 Mar 1938) letter about DN's talk. (3) several items from Standard Bulletin (including all above this item) in Dutch and English by DN. (pp.85-90)
Item 82: Standard Bulletin and GR Press: "Netherlands Day...." Nieland to speak. (p.91) --- [August 1935?]
Item 83: Standard Bulletin items in English from Nieland. (p.92)
Item 84: Letter from librarian of Godwin Heights Public School asking for copy of book. (p.93)
Item 85: Knickerbocker article on Nieland, with photograph of him. Mentions Mencken, who "devoted much space to quoting and commenting on Nieland's work." (pp.94-95)
Item 86: Two letters and Eerdmans advertisement circulars. (loose). (pp.95-99)
Item 87: pp. 100 and ff. blank.
Folder 2
Item 1: Peenting, and an account of the genesis of 'n fonnie bisnis [photocopy] [Loe Verlak]
Item 2: "Cornelis Goes to Heaven" by Nieland, [doggerel]
Item 3: Old Klaas took pride in his work, [manuscript in pencil]
Item 4: De Lof der Stront [poem on feces, etc.]
Item 5: Major Bowes item --- undated
Item 6: An Dandy Day [Loe's wife's version of Yankee Dutch.]
Item 7: "In My Home Town"; (6 ½ pp.)
Item 8: Peter Timmer tells gossip about [Groen, H. Hoeksema, Beets]
Item 9: Sketch of character's observations on poverty, the Great Depression and a sermon on Solomon, which intimates that hearers need not worry about losing houses, jobs, etc. [Crude satire] (1 ½ pp)
Item 10: Sketch on false Yankee Dutch (1 pp.)
Folder 3
Item 1: Letter from Nieland to Samuel Ranck with biographical sketch, states reasons for writing stories in Yankee Dutch, etc. --- undated
Item 2: Letter from Matt Hancock; business matters --- 26 August 1945
Folder 4: Clippings: Grand Rapids Press photo, story on Nieland, photo story on Stan V' Soske, and "Sweat en Tear” --- undated
Folder 5: Exercise book with proposals for stories and  poems --- undated
Folder 6: Photographs (photocopy) of Piet Nieland, Anna Nieland, and Dirk Nieland; Nieland's death notice from Grand Rapids Press; and funeral program --- undated
Folder 7: Photographs: Dirk Nieland portrait [noted on collar]; and pages from an album with family and friends photographs --- undated

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