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Herbert J. Brinks Collection



Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Biographical Information, Correspondence, and Writings

Book Materials

Miscellaneous Research

Course Materials

Sergeant Nicholas Cook

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Herbert J. Brinks Collection, 1940-2011 | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

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Collection Overview

Title: Herbert J. Brinks Collection, 1940-2011

ID: COLL/512

Primary Creator: Brinks, Herbert J. (1935-2011)

Extent: 7.5 Cubic Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: Folder level description


Professor of history at Calvin College, author, scholar in the field of Dutch immigration to North America, curator of the Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary Archives (Heritage Hall: Calvin Archives), Christian Reformed Church denominational archivist, creator and editor of Origins: Historical Magazine of the Archives, and community service volunteer in the Heartside area of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The collection includes biographical information, correspondence, extensive articles and other writings, news clippings, materials regarding Heartside, book materials regarding Christian Reformed church history, miscellaneous research materials, and material regarding Sgt. Nicholas Cook (stepbrother).

Biographical Note

Herbert J. Brinks was born in the Dutch settlement town of South Holland, Illinois in 1935. Due to his surroundings, Brinks grew up learning about Dutch history and culture. Brink enrolled at Calvin College and entered their pre-seminary program. Brink soon realized that he did not have the natural inclination to become a seminary student, so he shifted his focus to history, English, and education. In 1957, two major events took place for Herb Brinks. First, he graduated from Calvin College and second, he married his high school sweetheart, Ruth Kortenhoeven.

After graduation, Brinks began teaching English and history at Allendale Christian High School and two years later teaching Latin at Unity Christian High School. In 1960, Brinks moved to Ann Arbor to further his education at the University of Michigan, and in 1962, he earned his M.A. in history. The same year, Brinks joined Calvin College's faculty as assistant professor of history. By 1965, Brinks earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and founded Heritage Hall at Calvin.

The foundation of Heritage Hall started by Brinks researching and tracking down material on Dutch immigration in North America. He also began to collect archival material on Calvin College, Seminary and the Christian Reformed Church. From its conception to his retirement in 1995, Brinks served as Heritage Hall's Curator. During his tenure as Archives Curator, Brinks oversaw the cataloguing and housing of important records of the College, Seminary and denomination as well as personal documents from ministers, professors, and Dutch immigrants. He managed to acquire a large number of letters written by Dutch immigrates to their family and friends in the Netherlands as well as travel accounts, memoirs and photographs, now known as the Immigrant Letters Collection. He used a sampling of these letters to publish two books, Write Back Soon, 1976 and Dutch American Voices, Letters from the United States 1850-1930, 1995.

From 1969 to 1971, Brinks took time away from Calvin to lecture at Michigan State University and operate as the director of the Historical Society of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. When he returned to Calvin in 1972, he became a professor in the history department and continued to curate at Heritage Hall. In addition to his work at the archives, he began the publication of Origins, a magazine devoted to detailing the Dutch migration to America and the Christian Reformed Church. In 1989, he fully dedicated his time as the curator of Heritage Hall and editor of Origins until retirement.

Before and especially after his retirement, Brinks enjoyed serving the less fortunate members of the community. In 1989, he began to volunteer at Degage Community Center. Brinks organized Heartside Area Writers Club in 1991 for inner city residents who were interested in improving their reading skills. Also in Brinks' spare time, he enjoyed gardening and fishing. After a battle of myeloma, Herbert J. Brinks passed away on May 17, 2011. His wife, Ruth, their 4 children, and 7 grandchildren, survive him.

Administrative Information

Repository: Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Alternate Extent Statement: 15 Boxes

Acquisition Source: Herbert J. Brinks

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical Information, Correspondence, and Writings],
[Series 2: Book Materials],
[Series 3: Miscellaneous Research],
[Series 4: Course Materials],
[Series 5: Sergeant Nicholas Cook],

Series 3: Miscellaneous Research
Box 10
Folder 1: "Americanization" --- undated
Folder 2: The Dutch Seaborne Empire 1600-1800 --- 1965
Folder 3: Reinder J. Klein, "The Dutch Afscheiding of 1834: An Analysis of a Counter Movement" --- 1977
Folder 4: "De Vervolging Der Afgescheidenente Heerdeen Wapenveld, 1836-1838" --- undated
Folder 5: Afscheiding (Secession) --- undated
Folder 6: Secession and the Christian Reformed Church: chapter "Saints and Sinners" --- undated
Folder 7: "Separation of the Dutch Reformed Church in North America in 1822," Henry Beets --- undated
Folder 8: Henry Beets correspondence --- 1912-1925
Folder 9: Henry Beets --- 1895-1931
Folder 10: Henry Beets --- 1887-1947
Folder 11: Cultural adaptations --- 1880-1930
Box 11
Folder 1: Early Christian Reformed Church ministers --- 1833-1834
Folder 2: Early Christian Reformed Churches in Canada --- 1905-1968
Folder 3: Christian Reformed Church origins --- undated
Folder 4: Book on Christian Reformed Church --- undated
Folder 5: First Christian Reformed Church, Grand Haven, Michigan --- 1865
Folder 6: Convict Immigration to America, 1607-1630
Folder 7: Minutes of the Directors of the Theological School of the Holland Christian Reformed Church in North America --- 1894
Folder 8: History of Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan --- 1873-1924
Folder 9: Christian Reformed Roots, A. James Heynen --- 1978
Folder 10: Christian Reformed World Relief Committee in Context --- 1985
Folder 11: A Bittersweet Land, A History of Canada's Peoples --- 1890-1980
Folder 12: Paulus Den Bleijker --- 1850-1859
Folder 13: Memoirs of the Rev. John H. Livingston
Folder 14: History of De Wachter --- 1868-1881
Box 12
Folder 1: Liberal Theology in the Netherlands --- undated
Folder 2: The Reluctant Evangelicals, George M. Marsden
Folder 3: Harper's articles on American views of the Netherlands --- 1874-1889
Folder 4: News clippings on Dutch-American attitude towards Germany --- 1912-1918
Folder 5: William of Orange --- 1984
Folder 6: Dutch political thought, 1700-1800
Folder 7: Decline of Dutch power and influence in the 18th and 19th centuries
Folder 8: Dutch Golden Age, 1580-1715
Folder 9: Britain and the Netherlands --- 1971
Folder 10: Dutch pietism --- undated
Folder 11: Dutch Reformation, 1517-1520
Folder 12: The Making of the Dutch Landscape --- undated
Folder 13: Dutch towns and cities, 1300-1500
Folder 14: Eighty Years' War --- undated
Folder 15: Early Dutch history, 850-1500
Folder 16: Prehistoric Dutch history --- undated
Folder 17: Cornelius Traas --- 1837-1917
Folder 18: A. C. Van Raalte

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical Information, Correspondence, and Writings],
[Series 2: Book Materials],
[Series 3: Miscellaneous Research],
[Series 4: Course Materials],
[Series 5: Sergeant Nicholas Cook],

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