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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 5: Sergeant Nicholas Cook
Box 14
Folder 1: Diplomas --- 1940 and 1943
Folder 2: Identification cards, etc. --- 1943-1944
Folder 3: Correspondence, to parents --- 1942-1944
Folder 4: Correspondence, from parents --- 1944
Folder 5: Correspondence, from Robert Cook --- 1943-1944
Folder 6: Correspondence --- 1944
Folder 7: Correspondence, US Government --- 1943-1990
Folder 8: Correspondence, Missing in Action --- 1944-1978
Folder 9: Certificates, awards, and decorations --- 1943-1945
Folder 10: Military service publications --- 1944, 1945, undated
Folder 11: Servicemen's "Welcome Home" programs --- 1945-1946
Folder 12: Photographs
Folder 13: In Memory of Peter Cook (stepfather of H. J. Brinks)
Folder 14: In Memory of Elmer G. Brinks (uncle) --- 1990, 1997
Folder 15: Paper: The Beets Papers
Folder 16: Papers (University of Michigan) --- 1960
Item 1: The Decline of the Netherlands in the 18th Century
Item 2: The Legal Profession --- 1850-1920
Folder 17: Paper: William Howard Taft as a Biographical Subject --- 1958
Folder 18: Paper: Dutch-American Tales and Folk-Ways
Folder 19: Grand Rapids Press article: "The Upper Peninsula: A State Without a Capitol" --- 1968
Folder 20: Article: "The Rationale for Denominational Colleges and Universities" --- 1969
Folder 21: Inland Seas article: "The Era of Pig Iron in the UP of Michigan" --- 1969
Folder 22: Reformed Journal article: "Revivalism and Reform in America" --- November 1968
Folder 23: Michigan History article: "Marquette Iron Range Strike 1895" --- December 1966
Folder 24: Article: "A High Church of Some Kind"
Folder 25: Reformed Journal short story, "Reunion" --- 1974
Folder 26: Reformed Journal short story, "Papa's Last Word" --- 1975
Folder 27: Detroit Historical Society Bulletin article, "Peter White: Hard Headed Visionary" --- 1967
Folder 28: Manuscript, The Sellout --- 1974
Folder 29: Manuscript, Compromise --- 1974
Folder 30: Documents re: Admission to University of Michigan Graduate School --- 1957
Folder 31: Copies of Chronicle (Historical Society of Michigan) --- 1970-1971
Folder 32: HJB comments on Abel Being Dead Yet Speaketh --- 1974
Folder 33: Evaluation of the Scott Turner Collection for Michigan Tech University --- 1974
Folder 34: Sabbatical Proposal, Immigration and Assimilation: The Dutch-American Experience --- 1975
Box 15
Folder 1: "Subdue the Earth" correspondence --- 1960
Folder 2-17: Correspondence --- 1961-1976
Folder 18: Correspondence (in Dutch) --- 1976
Folder 19: correspondence --- Undated

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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